LAS VEGAS -- A new report by Realty Trac shows more homes were bought, fixed up, and quickly sold last year than the year before. Flipping houses proved to be profitable in 2013.
There are people all over Las Vegas gambling in a high stakes way, but the game of choice may surprise you.
"You're bidding against other people, and you have to put the money up that day. There's no going back and saying you don't want the thing," said John Bohnet.
He buys foreclosed homes at auction, cleans them up, puts some paint on the walls, and sells them for a profit. Realty Trac defines flipping as buying and selling houses within six months.
"It's a little bit of fun to see what you can get it at. You think you know what you're doing and you get tested on it every project," he said,
The Realty Trac report shows flipping houses accounted for about seven percent of single family home sales in 2013. That's up from around six percent the year before. The flippers, or sellers, also made twice as much money. The average gross profit was more than $40,000.
"Suddenly we saw all the appreciation. You bought it undervalued and then all this appreciation happened. So there were a lot of profits to be made," said Fafie Moore, the owner of Realty Executives of Nevada.
Moore is an expert in real estate with more than 20 years experience. She says flippers can add value to the housing market.
"That one sale will help, and will show increased value."
For flippers, it's all about a fast profit and turning neighborhood eye-sores back into nice homes.
"That's a property that would just be a nuisance in the neighborhood," Bohnet said.
He says it's good to see people betting on Vegas again.
Moore says home values have come up high enough that flippers won't be able to buy as low in 2014 which will slow down the amount of house flipping. She says it is a sign of a stabilizing housing market.