Las Vegas couple flips houses for TV — and big profit

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in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s View.

By Jessica Fryman

Expert house flipper Scott Yancey is not afraid to admit he is a stickler with his budget. The problem: His interior designer Amie doesn’t settle for “vanilla decorating” and is notorious for lavish expense requests. She’s also his wife.

“She asks for slabs (of tile) that cost $7,000. Um, hello,” Scott quips, shooting a look at his wife with a laugh.

“It makes it sell,” Amie retorts with a grin.

“That’s true,” he concedes. “To a point.”

Amie doesn’t always let the black lines her husband draws through her design proposals scare her, though. Once, she instructed the work crew to jackhammer out old tile so she could get her way.

The drama is just part of their stressful, successful business — and now, their reality show, “Flipping Vegas.” Working on tight deadlines to transform run-down abandoned properties for profit, the show follows their work, which the couple say is always full of action in the city that never sleeps. The show — which features Scott’s Spring Valley business, Goliath Company , at 4280 S. Hualapai Way, Suite 107 — is wrapping up its first full series of seven episodes. The last scheduled episode is set for noon Saturday on A&E, but Scott said the producers are considering adding six more episodes to the season.

“I believe in the flip business,” said Scott, adding he has made a profit on every property he has purchased.

In 2008, while having coffee with his wife, the then-land development businessman overheard someone say it was possible to buy a house in Vegas for as little as $36,000. Scott bought 50 properties that year and made almost a 40 percent profit on each one. With changes in the economy, he now buys homes for $100,000 to $500,000 and flips them for an average 20 percent profit.

“In the real estate business, you need to reinvent your game as things change,” he said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunity today.”

He might be doing that yet again, as he is considering pursuing flipping commercial real estate as well. His own office is under construction.

But the flip business is not without its challenges, Scott said, noting one of his favorite sayings: “You have to get rid of the word ‘no.’ Anything great is not easy.”

Scott said it’s difficult to find a property that works for a profitable flip. He needs cheap houses that he can buy with cash and invest in as little as possible. Always on the look out for local Realtors to add to his brokerage, Goliath Properties , he said his team finds him properties in exchange for its appearance on the show and commission on both the buy and sell.

Once a property is purchased for the flip, the race against time pushes the show to even more drama, action and stress.

“When you have a foreclosure sign on the house, it’s saying, ‘Vandals, homeless: Welcome. Please strip it,’ ” Scott said of the properties he purchases. “We’re in a race to get it done and get it sold.”

The tight deadline always seems to get complicated with something unexpected — mice, mold, broken supplies — at the properties that are usually already a disaster from the get-go.

From homeless people changing the locks so they could continue squatting to finding electrical wiring and copper stolen the day after it was installed, Scott assures viewers that the everyday happenings at his job are quite entertaining.

Amie said she is out of favors in rush-ordering inventory that is rarely in stock. She calls her husband’s deadlines impossible, rolling her eyes at one example of his two-week timeline when the cabinets were on back order for at least triple that.

One thing the husband-and-wife team can agree on at work: “It’s a very good thing for Vegas.”

“We’re taking a distressed eyesore off the block and adding value,” Amie said.

They say they love working together toward that goal, and the arguing is just part of business sometimes.

“As long as it’s bliss in the end, and there’s still something for the bank account, we’re good,” Scott said.

This story was originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s
View on July 26, 2011.
Original story on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.