One of the latest gimmicks to sell homes is the Home Tours, often pitched as Home Tours of Bank Owned Homes. The Agent will get a van or small bus and load a number of people onto the van/bus or what ever and drive them around to homes that the Agent wants to sell them. To go on the tour you may have to get pre-qualified or sometimes there is a lender representatives on the tour to get you pre-qualified. I've heard stories of buyers having to actually pay for tickets to go on these rides.
I'm sure on the surface this all sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe you even think it is a good way to get those good home buys. But who is this system really serving. Let's see: the Agent gets multiple clients at one time: the Agent can take you to the homes the Agent needs to sell (Either that Agent's listings, the listings of someone else in the office, or the listing that pays the Agent the most commission.); and the Agent can screen out the serious "today" buyers and only focus on them. If you're thinking these tours are for the Agent's benefit and not the buyers you are not far of the mark.
So what is a better option? Contact a Realtor who will do several things for you right away. The Realtor will put you in touch with a lender (if you do not already have one) who will help you determine how much home you can afford; the Realtor can send you homes to look at on line based on what you tell the Realtor you need and want or help you search homes yourself on-line at his web site; then the quality Realtor will take you personally to see the homes. Yes you will only see the homes you want to see! Not only that you will see them on your schedule and at your convenience. . The Realtor will then monitor the market and watch for the type of home you want and let you know when it comes onto the market. The Realtor will educate you on the home buying process and alert you to issues that come up.
If you want to work with a real Realtor who is focused on your needs go to http://www.askgene.info/ or call me at 925-260-4321.