All Aboard the Home Foreclosure Bus Tour

The tours take home buyers to a number of foreclosed properties.

ByABC News via logo
January 24, 2008, 7:20 PM

Jan. 25, 2008 — -- With home foreclosures at a 20-year record high in California and up 68 percent nationwide, real estate agents are trying out new ideas to keep the housing market alive.

Foreclosure bus tours in which home buyers visit a number of foreclosed properties in one outing, are popping up across the country.

At one tour in Pismo Beach, Calif., 40 prospective homebuyers spent four hours on a bus, checking out 10 homes, all at fire sale prices.

One couple, Mike and Mary Hays, were recently married and looking for their dream home. One house they saw sold for $450,000 three years ago. Now the bank owns it, but it could be Mike and Mary's for $318,000.

The downside, of course, is that thousands of families have lost their homes.

"It's sad, but everyone is looking for a bargain," said Jim Fisher, another prospective buyer. "You don't know the circumstances of why it's a bargain, but it is."

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management and "Good Morning America's" financial contributor, says it may be a couple of years before there is a rebound in the housing market.

Hobson offers some advice for people looking for a home in this buyer's market, and for people who want to protect themselves and their homes from foreclosure.

Advice for Homeowners:

Advice for Potential Buyers:

If a homeowner has neglected to pay property or income taxes, the government could have a lien or claim against property. Ultimately, the title will not be free and clear until all liens are paid -- and if you own it, you owe it.