Boom & Bust, Part 1

On this foreclosure tour, the mortgage crisis is just another money maker.

In the next week or so, Wilson is moving her Hallandale Beach office to bigger digs in Davie to make room for three new employees. She says she receives up to eight new short sales applications a day. The company charges $100 to the debtor and $2,500 to $7,500 to the lenders.

Those are just a few who feed off the foreclosure boom. Craigslist Miami is flooded with ads for foreclosure hotlines and offers to work as short sales consultants with pitches such as, "business is raging in your area." Ads also try to snag investors: "Buy when there is blood on the streets."

The Saturday bus tour wasn't nearly so gory. At nearly 1 p.m., Luis Barrenechea stood at the front of the bus after a look at a three-bedroom with a $699,000 tag on Alhambra Circle. Records mark its last sale in May 2007 at $1.4 million.

The foreclosure tour bus awaits.
The foreclosure tour bus awaits.

"Again, Luis here," he said. "With that home, you're looking at money in the bank." Then he headed back to his seat and told of his plan to strike it rich. "It just takes one deal like that," he said before his eyes wandered out the window to the sparkling, waterfront beacons of speculation on Brickell.

It seems fitting that in the Magic City, even as the market is tanking, a former electrician and nightclub doorman muses about his first million. There's a fortune in foolishness and failure.

Next week, desperate sellers get creative.

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