Potential buyers take a look at one of six homes in West Ashley on ChuckTown Homes' first foreclosure bus tour.
To learn about upcoming foreclosure bus tours, see the web site at chucktownhomes.com
Ethel Campbell says she and her husband are going to try to buy one of the six homes they saw on ChuckTown Homes' foreclosure bus tour Saturday.
But she doesn't want to stir up any competition, so for now, she isn't going to say which one.
The couple owns a house in Summerville, but the pair wants to purchase another to provide a home for their son, who might relocate to Charleston, she said.
The tour was a great way to go house- hunting, she said. 'We really liked that we could see more than one' unit in a single outing, she said.
Tours of foreclosed property have been reported in Ohio, Florida and California, but this weekend's excursion was the first widely publicized tour of its kind in the Charleston area. The idea springs from the growing number of foreclosures across the U.S., as lenders take ownership of properties from borrowers unable to make mortgage payments.
Saturday's minibus tour took 14 potential buyers to six homes in West Ashley, agent Donald Russell said. But the company plans to organize similar expeditions a couple times a month to various parts of Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties, he said.
Russell said most of the 14 people who showed up for the tour were either first-time home buyers or investors looking for a good deal.
Ruby Sexton, who now lives in North Charleston, said she's thinking about purchasing another property as an investment. She said she wanted to look at the properties available in West Ashley on Saturday, but that she also wanted to learn more about purchasing foreclosed homes.
Russell said all of the properties on the company's tours are now vacant and owned by various banks.
The prices listed might not appear low, he said, but usually there is much room to negotiate. He advises potential buyers on how to best negotiate a good price, he said.
The homes on Saturday's tour ranged from modest town homes to larger single-family homes. Listed prices ranged from $89,000 to $339,000. Each home is owned by a lender that already has gone through the foreclosure process.
The houses were in various states of disrepair, but Russell said most of the damage was cosmetic.
People who have financial problems and fall into foreclosure often don't have the money to properly care for their homes, he said.
The electricity and other utilities also had been disconnected in several homes on the tour, so agents carried flashlights to let potential buyers get a better look at rooms without large windows.
But bargain-hunters could inspect the homes, at least, because they are owned by banks. They would not be allowed to do that if the foreclosed homes were being sold through a courthouse auction.
After the tour Saturday, Russell said the event had been a great success. When it was over, a few people who had participated were discussing with agents about how to best make an offer, he said.
Agents will work closely with them this week to help them through the process, Russell said.
If people can get a good deal on a property and arrange payments they can afford, he said, perhaps fewer people in the future will slip into foreclosure.
By Diane Knich
The Post and Courier
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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