When making an offer on a pre-foreclosure it could take as long as 2 months to a year or longer to get a response on an offer and be able to close. You have be be very patient and have a pretty open time line on the date you have to move in when considering a pre-foreclosure.
With a bank owned home, your realtor should get a response from the Bank within a day to a few days -- much quicker response than a shortsale.
The Bank will very often price the house low in order to draw a lot of attention to it. The Bank would love to get multiple offers and to pick the the highest and best offer - that's great marketing on the bank's part - basically performing an auction with the house going to the highest bidder. This is one aspect that makes Bank Owned Homes somewhat challenging. It's a good idea to put in your first offer at your highest and best price. There are a lot of people looking at Bank Owned properties for the same reason you are -- a faster response than a short sale listing.
When making an offer on a bank owned home, you have to keep in mind that the house 99% of the time will be sold as-is with no repairs.
Some Bank Owned Homes may be in near perfect shape - move in ready, while others are really beat up, depending on the mood of the person that owned the home before the bank did. I always advise my home buyers to pay for a home inspection so that the home buyer has a better idea what works and what doesn't, also the life left on the roof, etc.
When a buyer considers buying a home where there is a person selling their home to the new buyer, the seller is required to fill out a Seller's Disclosure noting all that they know about the home. There is disclosure. When a buyer is considering a Bank Owned Home or REO, there is no seller disclosure. The Bank says I don't know; I never lived there. I don't know.
The person that lost the home to the bank in a foreclosure may have been really mad and could have done something to the home that is not easily observable - flush cement down the pluming, flood the house and turn the heat up as high as they can and laugh about the moisture issues the bank will now have to deal with. It really seems almost criminal what some disgruntled home owners have done.
So...as the new potential home buyer, it is ALWAYS a good idea to get a thorough home inspection with a reputable home inspection company with the water and electricity turned on. The Bank should turn the utilities on for the home inspection, however occasionally the buyer will have to fit this bill. Protect yourself, please, by paying for a home inspection. This is a buyer's expense. With a termite inspection the cost of a home inspection should be $425 approximately, depending on the square footage of the house.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me any time. I am here for You.
Please Call me at 813-624-3332, Stephanie