Bill Dwyer, a Medford Oregon realtor wants to show you the latest foreclosed homes in the Rogue Valley. In California, they are calling them “Repo Tours”, but Bill chose a softer name, “The Tour of Hot Deals”. On specified weekends he fills up a tour bus with prospective buyers or “repo tourists”, feeds them lunch and shows them several homes with loans that are priced below market value. The tour lasts several hours.
He says there is no pressure. “We want everybody to kick back and have a good time.”
It is becoming a growing trend as the real estate market has plummeted. On one hand foreclosures and the downward drag on real estate prices is bringing affordability back into the housing market, but the other side of that coin are the people losing their homes due to job losses, and a repressed economy.
For buyers, a repo tour is an opportunity to see multiple properties in one afternoon and perhaps find something they care to buy. The realtor is right there to answer any questions you might have. The downside is having to see homes you are not interested in at the same time. Foreclosures often need repair, but for someone with the time and money needed to make improvements could possibly be tantamount to a bargain.
Although the bus gimmick is relatively new, hyping up foreclosures is not. Salespeople have used late night infomercial to advertise government and privately owned foreclosures for years. For a fee some will sell you information on how to find foreclosures and how to “flip” or sell them for profit (or loss, as many home buyers would attest to). Across the United States, realtors are looking for new ways to entice buyers at a time when many people view buying real estate as a risk. Realtors are simply doing what they have to do to attract new buyers to sell homes to. Some think of it as creative marketing. So far, it is exclusive to realtors–car dealers are not bussing people to see car repos. Could this be the future of real estate?
According to housingpredictor.com, Medford Oregon real estate sales are down 11.5% and are predicted to continue as more homes head into foreclosure.
Not everyone shares Dwyer’s vision.
“Is this what we’ve come to,” wonders Nick Williams. “A tour bus brings an air of joviality to what might be someone else’s broken dream. There is something inherently wrong with that.”
Housing Predictor LLC, Housing Predictor Independent Real Estate Market Forecasts, http://www.housingpredictor.com/oregon.html