Inexpensive homes are drawing investors and house flippers Last year, when Warren Buffet called single family homes an attractive investment, he was apparently preaching to the choir. Investors and investment companies snapped up 100,000 homes in the first half of 2012, according to real estate research firm RealtyTrac. Distressed, foreclosed homes in the states hardest hit by the real estate crisis have been purchased at lowball prices by investors who hope to make necessary improvements and then resell fast. After making essential repairs, the homes are selling, on average, at markups of $29,000. That is just one of the reasons why, as before the housing bubble, in many areas there are more buyers than homes available. Some flippers are updating homes to use as rental properties. The ventures should be profitable for years to come, considering the high demand for rental homes and an outlook of rising rents. Blackstone Group spent more than $1 billion on 6,500 foreclosed homes throughout the United States. Most of them will be repaired and rented. According to Time, house flipping might seem vulture-like, but in many ways, it's good for communities. At least homes that are purchased for quick sale get fixed up. Otherwise they become eyesores, as they steadily deteriorate, drawing people and animals looking for a deserted flophouse. How house pros flip houses: * They monitor foreclosure rates, which have increased in some cities. * They analyze pricing and occupancy trends in the neighborhood. * They pay low dollar for everything. They get in cheap to make repairs and hold the property until it sells. * If they can't sell, they become landlords.