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Tri-Cities Foreclosure Safaris – a big load of hooey

By in Tri-Cities Housing Market with 7 Comments

I spent the first year of my real estate career taking calls about foreclosed-upon properties. I worked at an agency which handled most of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac re-sales (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored entities which loan a ton of money for the purchase of housing). I spent a great deal of time showing smelly, filthy, dilapidated houses to buyers who saw the great price offered and thought they’d have the perfect situation – a home of their own for a great price.

BUT, it oh-so-rarely worked out that way. Oftentimes the houses were the definition of squalor. Fannie and Freddie sometimes clean up or install new floor coverings, but often it’s not worth the extra investment. So they do nothing.

In the paper last week I read this article about local foreclosure tours. My favorite, favorite line is this –

Foreclosed homes often don’t have nicely mown lawns and may need new carpet, for example

MAY need new carpet? Um, try definitely. And the yards are often so far gone there is no “recovery” possible. You need to start again from scratch.

But this is what I find most interesting – when the local housing market is strong, as ours is, you don’t HAVE a ton of foreclosures on the market. Our market has steadily appreciated between 2% and 5% a year, over the last several years. We have not had a tremendous increase in foreclosures recently. Even the lender who sponsors the tour states as much –


“I really see that our market is holding very, very strong over some pretty weak markets across the country,” she said.

It cracks me up that there are agents and lenders in the Tri-Cities CHARGING MONEY to show less-than- desirable homes in a strong market. It makes no sense to me. If you want to see foreclosed homes I’ll show them to you for free. If you want advice on buying one, I’ll give it to you for free. If you have a house and want to save it before it’s featured on a foreclosure safari, call me and I’ll tell you who to call, for free.

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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them, which is exactly what I did when I formed the Cari McGee Real Estate Team in 2018! We have administrative and marketing personnel, as well as additional agents to serve you. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016, became Secretary/Treasurer of the organization, and was elected to Vice President in 2019. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!

7 Comments

  1. Dana Mundy says:

    I host the monthly Foreclosure Safaris and don’t understand your position here. Why would you call something that you did not attend hooey. The event was well planned and well executed and each and every of the 40 people in attendance were thrilled. In fact they wanted to extend the tour, so we added an extra house. The goal of the tour is to educate the attendees on the do’s and the don’ts of purchasing foreclosed homes. Some of the homes needed work while others were move in ready. I conducted a seminar while in transit.

    I can understand your position if all I did was show my listings, but I don’t have listings. Several properties represented by several local Realtors were featured. Do you have a suggestion how to better educate the community? This cannot be done in the classroom. Taking the seminar to the streets was the best way that I could think of. Sure, what some of the attendees learned was that they didn’t want to purchase a distressed homes. Others, such as Nicole C. from Richland is considering purchasing 2 of the homes on the tour.

    There must be a reason why this event garnered local, state and national media attention. I would be more than happy to discuss the benefit of such an event with you.

  2. susan says:

    Wow- Very classy and professional response Dana. Bashing the competition who obviously succeeded in a market that she admits is not her cup of tea- what’s the point? I would not work with a realtor or lender who bashes others. Just not good personal or professional manners or karma.

  3. Cari McGee says:

    Dana and Susan- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your responses. Also, I feel like I have to make sure everyone understands – the editorialized posts I write on my blog are solely my opinion.
    I wrote the post in the first place because I thought Foreclosure Safaris are unnecessary. When the market is as strong as ours is, and since we are not overrun with foreclosures, there is no need to focus on the lowest common denominator in housing. Dana – as to your point about how the community could be better educated…my question would be why does the community at large NEED to be educated about a very small portion of the houses available?
    In addition, I object to the practice of charging money for the tours – even if it’s just to cover the overhead of transportation and the snacks provided. In my opinion, it lends an unsavory aspect to the process of showing homes.

  4. AJ says:

    Wow… I don’t know what to say. This blog left me utterly speechless. Cari, you are a professional, well at least thats the impression I was put under, until you put something out there like this. I understand this is your “opinion”, but “opinion” should not sway your client base. Your “opinion” should not linked to your work place. Your “opinion” and your work place should never collide and your clients opinion should be solely left up to them to decide. So let me throw my “opinion” your way. The way you are bashing a product, not in just your own state, but your own area is probably one of the dumbest things to do. How do you know that you aren’t going to one day maybe need one of the many people who helped put this together and their services. You do need to remember that the internet is accessed by everyone, and the way people view you as important. The first thing that pops up when you type “Foreclosure Safaris” into Google is this blog. This is probably one of the most unprofessional moves I have ever seen as an image consultant in my years of doing this now. The only time I’ve ever seen someone do something like this is when someone didn’t hop onto the band-wagon and do an activity first and their idea became someone else’s. This is disgusting. If I read this and I was looking for an agent… you would definitely be off my list. Not just because of your unprofessionalism, but for your keen sense of having to make up people’s minds on what they are supposed to think. This would be no different than you saying that a home is crappy when in all reality the home (in my eyes) would be nice. This was stupid for your image, this was stupid for potential relationships, this was just UTTER STUPIDITY.

  5. Cari McGee says:

    Thanks for contributing to the conversation, AJ.
    I feel the need to point something out which is clearly being missed. I am NOT bashing my competitors. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the agents who run the Foreclosure Safaris.
    It is the tour itself, and the concept that we would need one in the relatively strong Tri-Cities market, to which I object. In addition, it is the fact that people are paying for the experience that bothers me. People interested in housing can call any knowledgeable agent in the Tri-Cities and receive the same info for free.
    I certainly do not have sour grapes because other agents thought of this ‘first’. I could still set up my own Foreclosure Safari Tour if I wanted, but I won’t because 1) it’s not necessary and 2) I don’t charge some people for information I provide to others for free.

  6. susan says:

    If something is perceived as a bash by the “Bashee” then the law of perception would say it is. Nodody likes to be negatively and publicly judged by a stranger not in posession of the facts- universal law frows on that in my opinion. We attract what we put forth and it looks like Dana put forth an honest, successful and well-received event which in turn has created a win-win business scenario for her and her clients. BRAVO Dana, and much continued success ont this exciting and timely endeavor!

  7. […] all! It was a busy week re: a post I wrote a couple weeks back – comments from people who really disagree with what I have to say about foreclosure safaris. Then, […]

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