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Foreclosure property tours catch on across the country

Agents offer wheels, deals, meals to bargain-hungry buyers

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Busloads of home buyers are hopping aboard the foreclosure bandwagon in search of bargains, and real estate agents and brokers are supplying the wheels and deals in markets across the country. Ruth and John Ahlbrand, who own and manage RE/MAX Central, a Las Vegas brokerage company, bought a 40-seat luxury coach and wrapped it with advertising that features their TourVegasHomes.com Web site and the company's phone number. Last month, they began offering free real estate tours of bank-owned foreclosure properties and builder-discounted new homes in the Las Vegas area. The bus trips are free and include lunch. The company advertises the tours in Spanish- and Chinese-language newspapers and offers multilingual tours. There are slideshows after the tour that educate participants about the buying and selling process, and agents that accompany the tours can write up purchase contracts on the spot, said Ruth Ahlbrand. An ad on the bus offers a free Sony high-definition televisi...