If you go to http://www.HUD.gov, you can actually see homes from several other government agencies that may have real estate for whatever reason. Just click on "Buy a Home," then go down the list until you get to "Homes for Sale" and it will take you to a list of different agency websites to search for properties. Bank-owned, short sale homes will show up on the multple-listing service, too. You need to drill-down your search and put a filter for 'disclosures' or something to that effect. You could also contact a realtor and ask them to send you searches for disclosure-only properties. Your realtor can set up a search that will notify you whenever there is a new listing, change in status of a listing, or new photos added to a property. It's a good idea to use these searches because you can react to the listing immediately - which is sometimes necessary depending on the demand in your market for the foreclosure homes. Usually there is a pretty big demand for those types of homes, so you need to act quickly and know what you are looking for. Your realtor can help you with that, also, as long as you get a realtor who will work with you as a team member. There are a lot of good realtors out there.
Buying an REO is relatively the same as a normal purchase, although you will get less disclosures and likely have to do some work.
At auction you will need all cash, be bidding against veterans, not be able to do inspections, and potentially have title issues. These are not for the faint of heart or wallet.
If you would like representation by an agent who has sold many REO's in the past few years, please reach out to me!
Prudential California Realty
Beverly Hills, CA
Foreclosed homes are listed by real estate firms the same as regular resale homes and you can view them for sale on all of the typical websites that you look at for non-foreclosed homes for sale. You purchase a foreclosure the same as buying a regular home with respect to getting a mortgage..etc.
The main difference is that typically they are sold as-is. So, if you purchase a foreclosure, you can still get the inspections done (property, termite...etc) but it is usually a take or leave it situation.
One drawback with foreclosures is that many of them need repairs in order to make the home habitable. If a repair is required to get the mortgage, you may have to purchase the home using an FHA 203k renovation loan.
A major drawback with foreclosures is that typically all of the utilities are turned off. It may be up to you, the buyer, to get them turned on for the property inspections. This is a hassle and may cost you money but a good agent can help you with all of this.
I hope this is of some help.
Prudential Patt White Real Estate
Lehigh Valley, PA