Always remember, everything is negotiable in real estate! Although the banks aren't always the easiest to negotiate with, they too understand that buyers have the right to perform "due diligence." In most cases, while the home is to be sold "as is," the bank will still give you a 5-10 day period to conduct any inspections on the home and make sure that you want to move forward. Whether or not they'll be willing to make repairs on any defects is the question . . . But, yes, you are able to walk around and inspect the property. If this isn't already written into your contract, make sure you negotiate it in, or hire a trusted Realtor to do so. ;) Hope this helps.
Deeana, your Realtor for life!
It is my understanding that an REO, or Bank Owned home purchased at an auction does not offer any final inspection. It is the responsibility of the auction home bidder to do their due diligence prior to the auction. This can be difficult if the home is occupied.
Foreclosures are sometimes challenging, but they are getting easier to work with. I will say that Joshua hit it right - there are a lot of variations on foreclosures, and the chances are you wouldn't be able to buy one on the courthouse steps, anyway. The banks are always there to obtain their properties back.
A foreclosure that's listed with an agent is a bank-owned property. Dealing with these banks is a bit like dealing with the government. They have certain ways of doing things and you have to follow their way. Most will give you the chance to do an inspection, even if they won't fix anything. You just have to make sure you're quick about it. And most importantly, because you give the listing agent a cashier's check for earnest money, you have to make sure you follow the instructions, because it makes it real easy to lose your money.
I have done quite a few foreclosures lately, and everybody's different. I notice you posted this a while back, and if you're still looking around, feel free to call me, I'd be happy to run you through the steps and show you homes. Call me at 678-362-3138.
Most people make this same mistake. REO, Foreclosed, Bank Owned, Corp. Owned, HUD and Fannie May can be grouped in the FORECLOSED bracket. As in foreclosed and bought back by the bank.
In all of these cases you will most likely have time to inspect (but you might not be able to ask for repairs).
Buying a true foreclosure does take place at the court house steps, and in most of those cases you cannot inspect the home.