Welcome to the world of "short sales and foreclosures." You have experenced pretty much the common thread of these opportunities. There are however locations where you can find nearly new or new homes in Sarasota/Charlotte Counties. For example: 2006 construction, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, never lived in, prices under $160,000.
We would be happy to share more about these types of opportunities. Give us a call: 941-408-5363
The "Eckler Team"
Michael Saunders & Company
People has developed some kind of mind status, Short-sale, foreclosure, like seller are giving away free candy.
Generally speaking, those are distress situations, and best suited for investors with a vision, so don't be surprise finding some messy houses.
Also you're forgetting the cream of crop, R.E.O or bank owned, which can be a real bargain, but still you might have to throw some sweat equity in it.
check my site for UP to date foreclosure and fixxer-upper......... use as many filter you like.
By the way, not all short sales are a mess. Many of them are still owner occupied in fact. Some of them are very well priced. The problem is that the bank has to approve the sale price. The bank will not make any repairs, and the bank may not respond to your offer for 60 to 90 days or more.
Best of luck in finding the home you really want at a price you can afford to pay!