For the first time in Central Ohio, you can now join with other home buyers on a guided tour of the very best in the distressed property market. Join us while we explore different corners of Columbus and its surroundings. Learn what every savvy buyer should know about bank, HUD, VA, corporate owned properties REO’s, short sales, pre-foreclosures and more!!!

This sample of promotional text was taken from the website for It pretty well sums up the reality of our housing market and the financial savvy required to convert a negative situation into a positive. Real estate agents everywhere have jumped on the foreclosure bandwagon and in some cases are dealing exclusively with lender owned properties.

This craze is happening in cities throughout the U.S. including Orlando, Columbus, Phoenix, Detroit, Kansas City, Jacksonville, and various parts of California – The Great American Foreclosure Bus Tour.

In March, 2008 foreclosures jumped 57% from the previous year. That translates into 234,685 foreclosures, or one in 538. This means there is no shortage of inventory and no sign of any decrease anytime soon.

Joseph Iuliucci, a Las Vegas agent who specializes in foreclosures can barely keep up with his over 500 listings with a staff of 22 to service his customers. He arranges monthly bus tours of the latest foreclosures including some areas where five out of seven homes on the same street are lender owned.

Carla Coshow, a San Diego agent feels that banks hold back listing many of the properties on the multiple-listing service in the hopes that the prices will eventually rise. These bus tours offer an excellent way to view otherwise unknown listings.

Slightly reminiscent of a timeshare presentation, Carla organizes a pre-tour breakfast meeting with all of the participants, supplying them with a “Repo Express” name tag and a list of all the properties to be viewed along with financial details.

Some of the tours are offered at no charge, others come with a fee. Janice Ziesig, owner of Z House Realty Group in Orlando, charges per person or per couple and along with the bus tour provides background information for the homes, a teaching session, breakfast, lunch at Applebee’s. Not leaving anyone out, she also offers bilingual tours for Spanish home buyers.

Sometimes the tours include other resources such as a mortgage broker, home inspector, or lawyer who provide their personal expertise in between stops along the way. The home inspector offered his opinion on the conditions of the various homes and what it would take to bring them up to par. Along the way the mortgage broker gave advice on home loans and answered questions. Overall most people felt the tours were informative and worth the extra money.

The Koitz Group offers elite real estate services in the greater Bethesda/Chevy Chase and Washington DC area (and they have a website that covers it all!). Visit the Koitz Group’s Chevy Chase real estate guide or Georgetown DC real estate guide, packed full of information, search tools, and links to other fine neighborhoods in the DC Metro area.

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