Real Estate Investors And First-Time Buyers Climb Aboard The Foreclosure Bus

As final legislation on foreclosure rescues near, real estate agents are pulling out the (bus) stops to sell pre-foreclosure and bank-owned homes. Brokers are offering bus and limousine rides to groups as a unique way for investor clients and first-time buyers to view several properties in one meeting.

Agents with The Gold Rush Group in Auburn, California, a suburb outside of Sacramento, have rented a stretch-SUV limousine to cruise clients around properties in style (and efficiency). Other companies are organizing bus tours, complete with slide shows and presentations to educate buyers about the purchase process. One brokerage, RE/MAX Central in Las Vegas has even offered agents on the tour for the purpose of drafting purchase and sale agreements on the spot. Often, guide packages with area details and comps are included in the tours—a great deal for first-time or out-of town-buyers.

These tours, while fun and convenient, feature advertisements and free-with-purchase deals. In the case of RE/MAX CENTRAL, the bus itself is an advertisement on wheels. The benefit to buyers is the ease with which they can view and tour properties, and many first-time buyers and investors are getting into properties they otherwise would have been priced out of or avoided because of these tours.

Cesar Dias, an agent operating out of Stockton, Calif., was covered on a segment of “60 Minutes” to talk about his tour. He said that foreclosure tours accomplish the two goals of finding buyers in down markets and selling properties—all in one fell swoop.

A simple Google search brought up several tours all over the country. This gets me thinking—and cringing—about the term ‘foreclosure tour bus.’ As the foreclosure market looks to be bottoming out, is this a last ditch (and expensive) attempt to sell a few extra homes? Inspectors are on hand at the homes, as are lenders, in an attempt to unload these properties from the banks. Depending on how you look at it, this could either be a sales trap or a great opportunity to buy a quick property. I’m not so sure I’ll be hopping on this ‘buswagon’.

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