Ellen DeGeneres may be beloved as a comedian and talk show host, but she also has a talent far fewer are aware of: She’s a pro at flipping real estate.
DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have gained a reputation for buying, renovating, and then selling some of the best luxury real estate Southern California has to offer. In an interview with People, DeGeneres explained her penchant for fixing up properties: “If you think of your home as a canvas—regardless of its style of architecture—you can put anything on it. I tend to keep painting the painting until it’s done, there’s nothing left to do. That’s when I sell the canvas and buy a new one.”
While it’s hard to pinpoint all of the properties DeGeneres has bought and sold over the years, many have surfaced in the news as noteworthy. Some rake in massive profits; others sell at a loss (yes, it does happen). Some she holds for a hot second—witness her recent sale of a Montecito ranch after only eight months—others she might live in and lavish attention on before letting them go.
Taken together, these properties show that when DeGeneres isn’t cracking jokes, voicing amnesiac cartoon fish, or breaking out cute dance moves on TV, she is plenty busy! Here’s a look at her most buzzed-about real estate investments over the past several years.
Ryan Seacrest’s home, sweet home
- Purchased in September 2007 for $29 million
- Sold in 2012 for $37 million
The scoop: After purchasing this Coldwater Canyon home for $29 million, DeGeneres bought the land around it in three additional real estate deals, expanding the whole parcel to 3 acres. She also added a pool, tennis court, guesthouses, home offices, meditation room, and gym.
In 2011, DeGeneres listed the compound for $60 million, but got no reasonable offers. It was reduced to $49 million when TV personality Ryan Seacrest offered $37 million—and she bit. But hey, it’s still more than what she’d originally paid, and she and Seacrest certainly swim in the same circles, so maybe she was inclined to cut him a deal.
A portion of the Coldwater Canyon compound Ellen DeGeneres sold to Ryan Seacrest for $37 million in 2012.
The home so nice, she bought and sold it twice
- Purchased in 2005 for $6.5 million
- Sold in 2007 for $10 million
- Purchased again in 2016 for $8.75 million
- Sold again in 2014 for $9.9 million
The scoop: That’s right, DeGeneres loved this home so much she bought and sold it twice, making a million-plus profit each time. She was savvy enough to see value in the fact that 10 years earlier, this home had undergone an overhaul by famed designer Marmol Radziner. The 4,000-square-foot home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a swimming pool, and fire pit. Naturally there are sweeping views of the canyon and city.
Hidden Valley ranch
- Purchased in 2008 for $8.5 million
- Sold in 2013 for $10.85 million
The scoop: De Rossi, an avid equestrian, was known to love this 26-acre horse ranch in the Thousand Oaks area. She and DeGeneres gave it a complete makeover in a mere 12 months, creating a different style for each of its eight guest cabins, from contemporary to rustic to romantic. They also made one of the barns into an “art barn,” which they used for parties.
They enjoyed the home for several years, and about six months after it was featured in Elle Decor, they put it on the market $10,995,000. It was sold for $10,850,000 in 2013, netting them a profit of $2.35 million. Plus they got a lot of fun out of the place: priceless!
The “art barn” at the Hidden Valley ranch
Brad Pitt’s old beach house
- Purchased in December 2011 for $12 million
- Sold in June 2012 for $13 million
The scoop: Selling a house for a million more than you paid for it is not bad for 10 months’ work, although it’s doubtful DeGeneres put much time or effort into the Mid-Century Modern beach house. Reason: The home seller—actor Brad Pitt—had just spent many months renovating it. Perhaps that’s also why DeGeneres kept it for such a short time; she’s more of a DIY decorator, and might have missed the challenge of transforming a place.
Built in 1962, the place had four bedrooms, four baths, walls of glass, and dark bamboo flooring. Sitting on 1.26 acres on a bluff with ocean views, the home also had a tennis court, lap pool, and beach access. The people who bought it from DeGeneres appear to be happy with it—they still own it. But who wouldn’t like to say they’re living in a house formerly owned by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Ellen DeGeneres (but not at the same time, of course, because that would be weird)?
The Trousdale sale
- Purchased in May 2012 for $17.4 million
- Sold in December 2013 for $20 million
The scoop: DeGeneres scooped up this significant Mid-Century Modern home built by architect Hal Leavitt, then had her own decorators, Kathleen and Tommy Clements, completely redo it. Measuring 8,500 square feet, the single-story home has five bedrooms, six baths, and three half-baths. It’s located in the trendy Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills.
Two years after buying it, DeGeneres and de Rossi sold the home to Roger Birnbaum, owner of Spyglass Entertainment, for $2.6 million more than they paid for it. Birnbaum has it currently listed for $33.75 million. Wow! We guess DeGeneres did a pretty nice job on those improvements.
The privacy of this gated home has appealed to celebrities for decades.
The Brody house
- Purchased in January 2014 for $40 million
- Sold in July 2014 for $55 million
The scoop: This gorgeous Mid-Century Modern in Holmby Hills, designed by architect A. Quincy Jones, was one of DeGeneres’ fastest and most famous flips. She had it for a mere seven months before she sold it to Napster founder Sean Parker for a $15 million profit.
The home sits on 2 acres and has a swimming pool, guest casita, and tennis house. The 13,511-square-foot main residence has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a living room with library, and an open chef’s kitchen.
Apparently they didn’t have time or need to do much to the house before they sold it to Parker. They were just savvy enough to get a good deal on it in the first place. This is likely a case where the prestige of owning an Ellen DeGeneres home added substantial value.
The Brody house, which Sean Parker bought for $37 million
Those confounded condos
- Purchased in 2014 for $13 million
- Sold in 2017 for $11.85 million
The scoop: These two condos, the only two on the 12th floor of Westwood’s posh Beverly West building on the Wilshire corridor, are a rare DeGeneres miss. After buying the pair for $13 million in 2014, DeGeneres listed them for an ambitious $15.5 million in 2017. But she wound up taking a loss of $1.15 million when they both finally sold.
DeGeneres sold the first condo, which measures 3,813 square feet and has two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, for $6 million—$200,000 below the $6.2 million she paid. DeGeneres sold the second condo, which was the larger of the two, for $5.85 million—almost a million less than the $6.8 million she ponied up.
Worse yet? DeGeneres had spent oodles of money renovating both units, giving them stone finishes, wide-plank oak flooring, Lutron lighting, and custom paneling. The kitchens were upgraded with Arclinea countertops, Miele appliances, and wine storage. That couldn’t have been cheap.
Westwood’s posh Beverly West building on the Wilshire corridor
Rancho San Leandro
- Purchased in October 2017 for $7.2 million
- Sold in May 2018 for $11 million
The scoop: DeGeneres bought this equestrian estate in Montecito eight short months ago for $7.2 million. The compound encompasses almost 6 acres of olive groves, rose gardens, private courtyards, verandas, and professional-quality equestrian facilities. The main house is an original 2,750-square-foot adobe structure from 1850, with an addition made in 2004. There’s also a 3,600-square-foot guesthouse. Perhaps best of all, however, is the fact that the property borders Oprah’s famous 40-acre estate, known as the Promised Land.
We’re not exactly sure what improvements DeGeneres made on the property, but there is an additional tennis court and swimming pool on the most recent property records that weren’t mentioned when Degeneres purchased the ranch, reports Variety.
Whatever the case, a $3.8 million profit ain’t too shabby.
A to-die-for Tuscan villa
- Purchased in May 2012 for $26.5 million
- Listed in January 2018 for $38 million
The scoop: This lavish, 16-acre estate, also in Montecito, could be the celeb couple’s most momentous real estate coup of all—that is, if they manage to sell it. The grand, ocean-view property has been on and off the market since August 2017, when it was listed for a whopping $45 million. It was reduced to $38 million in January. It’s currently off the market, but we’d wager it won’t be long before it will pop back on again.
The property includes a Tuscan-style villa built in the 1930s by Wallace Frost. It sprawls over 10,500 square feet and features a barrel-tile roof, exposed ceiling beams, 18th-century Italian tiles, and 3-foot-thick walls of locally quarried stone. It has six bedrooms, six baths, multiple libraries, a kitchen with marble counters, and stone terraces.
DeGeneres and de Rossi added a sunken tennis court and a second swimming pool with an ultraluxe poolside entertainment pavilion that’s so fancy it has its own name, “Jordan Hall,” according to Variety.
All we can say is if it sells for even close to what DeGeneres is asking, this home will rake in profits that will be a nice chunk of change to invest in her next purchase, wherever that may be.