After power couple Kelly Dodd and Rick Leventhal were axed from their network TV jobs last June, the real work began.
Dodd, a former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star, was let go from her gig on the reality show the same week Leventhal left his 24-year career at Fox News.
But the free time gave them space to pursue an unexpected venture: In November, a year after they got married, the couple bought a modest house and plan on flipping it into a boutique hotel.
Dodd and Leventhal dropped $715,000 on a three-bedroom, three-bathroom Palm Desert fixer-upper, records show.
“I like something that is really ugly in the beginning and then you can make it beautiful,” Dodd, 46, told The Post.
Coincidentally, the project could lead them back to reality TV. Several producers have already approached the couple about being the stars of a home-improvement show, The Post can report.
“We already have producers reaching out to us wanting to do home-renovation types of shows,” Dodd revealed. “But we are exploring our options and seeing what the best deal is for us.”
Leventhal, 61, told The Post the transaction was done in an all-cash deal this past November.
“We really want to hold on to the property and rent it out like a hotel,” Dodd told The Post. “We want to build a separate casita, so we can get our hotel license, and build a pickleball court. It has a pool, and we are going to build a spa. We are going to put in a lot of money into the house.”
They made the purchase after plans of another project fell through.
“We bought a nearly 2.5-acre lot last spring at the Polo Estates in La Quinta and hired an architect to draw up plans for a nearly 7,000-square-foot home we planned to use and rent out,” Leventhal explained.
“But after COVID hit and prices soared and workers became more difficult to hire and supply chain issues developed, we realized the delays and ultimate cost of the project made it far less attractive to us. We flipped that lot and began looking for a home either already done or in need of an overhaul.”
“Our goal is to build a portfolio of homes,” Leventhal added. “I’ve always wanted to get into the house-flipping business, and I used to work in construction when I was 19 years old.”
The Palm Desert home is situated close to the upscale El Paseo Shopping District, and boasts panoramic views of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. It is also a 45-minute drive from the celeb-favorite Joshua Tree National Park area.
Initially built in 1950, the mid-century home will need a lot of updates to get it up and running. But Dodd and Leventhal tell The Post they’re up for the challenge after a tumultuous year.
“I really love holding on to properties,” Dodd said. “A lot of my friends have houses in the desert and they’re making like $400,000 to $500,000 a year just on rentals.”
“There is a lot of upside in being in the desert. So this going to be our next full-time project, gut-renovating houses. It’s really a passion of Rick and I.”
Meanwhile, they are also renting out his Westhampton home that currently runs at $4,200 per month.
“We make really good money on the Hamptons house,” Dodd told The Post. “We are renting that out year-round, summers and winters.”
Dodd explained how their next move after the Palm Desert project was to rebuild the Hamptons home.
And when they’re not fixing houses, they are recording their podcasts and filming their YouTube show.
“My dream was to work with my wife,” Leventhal explained. “My dream was to do a show with her and now we are doing that. And I don’t have the same restrictions on our content that we have with networks. It is free-flowing.”
“The best part about it for me is that I get to work with Kelly, and she is so much fun and entertaining and just unpredictable,” he added. “It makes it just an absolute pleasure. A fast change from what I am used to.”
Dodd divulged that overcoming hardship in the past year taught her a very valuable lesson.
“When one door closes, another opens,” she said. “So I just want people to know that you don’t have to stop, you can continue to pursue your dreams.”