If you are working by yourself, the listing agent probably will not give you much information (if any). Some of these agents are very responsive, but many are not. Given the volume of transactions they are dealing with, and the paperwork involved, it is not much of a surprise.
Homepath still offers tremendous value. If you are still interested in pursuing a distressed property, feel free to reach out. In cases like this a buyers agent's commission (0 to the buyer) is worth every penny and then some! I have made successful offers with various systems in the past and generally have gotten the feedback to understand why something goes wrong (which it always does).
Broker Baird & Warner