Grace gave you pretty much the " Low Down " on your question, I would just add a couple of points,
1) most Reo listing agents are not set up to handle buyers ( some are ), so if they have an offer into the bank and they are waiting for a reply they won't show the home and they won't put the property pending.
2) grace is correct, if you have a good buyers agent they will read the confidential notes as most reo's have a dead line date for taking offers, and your agent can keep you informed.
3) You almost certainly need an agent when buying an reo as the addendum from the bank is geared mainly towards the bank and the listing agent WORKS for the bank/assest manager. The listing agent will not put his source of future reo's in danger representing you. You will need someone on your side to point out the possible pitfalls.
I hope this helps,
To be frank, the listing agent may, indeed have an offer on the home that is pending approval from the bank. The only way to know for certain, unfortunately, is to work with a Realtor and to see the comments on the listing. Many times what appears on the MLS "public site" is not the same as what we, as Realtors, see on the same listing.
Work with your agent to determine what is really happening with the home that you'd like to see and buy. Incidentally, your own agent can get you into the home too....you do not need to work with the listing agent to see the property if it is still available.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA