Monday, February 25, 2008

Get On The Bus, Take The 'F' Line

To help get the housing market rolling again, some real estate agents want you to get on the bus.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - Call it the "F" Line.

The "F" is for the growing number of foreclosure properties that have become bus stops along motor tour routes designed to put home sales on the fast track.

The Keenan Carter Group in Pismo Beach, CA became the darling of the bus tour set when its version was featured on "Good Morning America" on ABC-TV and a segment with Neal Cavuto on Fox News.

At $20 a seat, the tour bus also becomes a school bus between stops, serving up information packages on each property. Riders get spreadsheets on mortgage payment options, potential rental income properties could yield and refreshments.

The special focus on marketing foreclosures is not surprising, especially in California where the number of foreclosures exceeded the number of sales in January, according to foreclosure figures from and sales numbers from DataQuick Information Services.

Other bus tours are driving into Florida, Las Vegas and other hard hit housing markets that have been flooded with foreclosures.

Driving a bargain on a bus isn't new, but using the strategy as a vehicle to move foreclosures is part of a current trend in special marketing designed to help turn the housing market around.

In Silicon Valley, April 13 will become "The Biggest Open House Day Of The Year," as sellers queue up to offer incentives and accommodate -- on the spot -- buyers who make an offer that day.

For the big day, the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors is encouraging real estate agents to have affiliates on hand to immediately offer escrow, loan, inspection and other services.

The idea is to motivate buyers to make a financial commitment to buy a home on the specially coordinated open house day.

The strategy to move resale homes is not unlike price-slashing and incentive lures used by new home builders to move inventory in new home developments.

It's a strategy that can hurt some of the previous, most recent home buyers in the same development who could suffer value loss in the short term. New home sellers, however, hope the strategy will get the housing market moving toward price stability and value gain for the long term.

Home shoppers should also be on the look out for some financing flash likewise designed to give buyers an edge in a market they already rule.

Quincy Virgilio, president elect of the Santa Clara County association, says expect to see a return to equity sharing.

The creative financing strategy includes two parties -- one who occupies the home, another, an investor, who foots the bill for the down payment.

The symbiotic relationship has flourished during past periods of buyer-seller separation in the housing market.

Las Vegas-based Creative Real Estate Online publisher, J. P. Vaughan, also a trial lawyer and real estate investor says everyone can benefit from the strategy.

Cash-short but income-rich, one person becomes a homeowner without money down, the investor can get a joint venture-like return on his or her money and a seller, in a slow market, could become the investor or otherwise use the technique to quickly seal a deal, says Vaughan.

Also see: Realty Auction Action.

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© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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