IT'S the sort of "golden ticket" story that made property watchers drool in the Celtic Tiger era.
A canny buyer purchases a house and quickly "flips" it for a profit in the same time it takes the paint to dry on the walls.
One unidentified buyer managed to buck the trend of plunging house prices by turning an impressive profit of €135,000 in the space of just three months.
The property at salubrious Northumberland Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, sold at the largest ever Allsop Space property auction in Dublin for €685,000.
The successful bidders were a couple in their 50s who claimed it was on behalf of an unnamed buyer.
But, courtesy of the new property register, it later emerged that the same property was purchased less than three months earlier at the lower price of €550,000 through property agents Lisneys.
The house is described as a mid-terrace Georgian building, currently vacant but has been divided into two small flats and seven bedsits.
The seller will have to pay capital gains tax at 30pc of the profit as well as auction fees but will still register a significant profit on the short-term investment.
It wasn't the only encouraging story for the house market to emerge from yesterday's auction.
A two-bedroom terraced house in Dublin's Milltown failed to sell for €150,000 at Allsop's last auction in July, but sold yesterday for €164,000.
Gary Murphy, director of Allsop, said there was "an awful lot of cash" in the Irish market and there were people out there who "don't need the banks" to be able to buy property.
Commenting on the future of ghost estates, Mr Murphy said: "It all comes down to price -- anything can be sold if the price is right."
Allsop had hoped to raise €20m in the auction at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. In the end, it made €17.8m, with 110 properties successfully sold.
Among the 2,700 people in attendance were a large number of estate agents, bank officials and investors keen to gauge the state of the market.
Young buyer Doireann Hennebry (26) from Cork was thrilled when she managed to net her first home, with partner Stephen Hicks, having been disappointed at the last Allsop auction.
She came with her parents, fending off several phone bids to buy the two bed red-brick house on Armstrong Street in Harold's Cross, Dublin for €162,500 -- well over the reserve of €100,000 but a little less than Ms Hennebry had thought she would have to pay.
"We're renting at the moment and that's more expensive than the mortgage will be," she said.
The highest price achieved was €1.11m for a mid-terrace Georgian office building with mews at Fitzwilliam Place and Leeson Close in Dublin 2.
Among other properties sold were a three-bed house in Tarmon Harbour in Co Roscommon which came with its own marina berth and a retail and residential building in Dundalk. The lowest price achieved was €22,000 for two tumbledown cottages in Shillelagh, Co Wicklow.
Property developer Hassan Ameer, who has been living in Ireland for the past 20 years, bought a former convent in Roscrea, Co Tipperary for €115,000.
It's a substantial building on 5.25 acres but Mr Ameer admitted he did not come along to the auction intending to buy it and has yet to view the property.
"The price was very attractive and I think it's a good purchase. I think the rental income could be good but I'll have to see first," he said.
Meanwhile, Catherine Lakes from Glasthule in Dublin was the successful bidder on a cafe in the Beacon Court development in Sandyford, paying €210,000. "I came with the intention of buying it for €150,000. It went a little bit more," she said.
She used to run a laundrette, she said, but is now looking forward to going into the coffee business and hopes it will fund her retirement.
An unidentified middle-aged man was the successful bidder of four houses on Greenhills Road in Walkinstown, for €560,000. He admitted afterwards that the lot had been "a little dearer than I'd thought they'd be".
Publican Philip McBride came with the sole purpose of buying the Poc Fada pub on Ross Inn Street in Kilkenny, emerging as the successful bidder at €375,000. "Another winner for Kilkenny," he cheered.
He is the current tenant in the pub and said it was a chip shop up to a few years ago.
"Like all pubs it's struggling but it's a good old spot," he said, adding that it attracts a lot of stag and hen parties.
"I wouldn't have a good track record when it comes to buying pubs," he confessed, explaining that he had previously bought a pub seven years ago but shut it down the day he bought it to live in.
Meanwhile, rival estate agents, O'Keeffe Estates of Sandymount in Dublin, indulged in a little tactical guerrilla marketing, piggybacking on the auction by handing out their own flyers on the street outside.