Keeping it simple.., I have found that some banks are not as forthcoming as you may think they would be. Some just do not have their properties listed, yet, plus with so many foreclosures coming up now it can be a bit daunting. A Countrywide Home Loan agent I know told me that he has 700 new repos hit his desk and he was frustrated about it.
You can also just call each bank you are thinking about and ask for their foreclosure list, or how to find out about "their" foreclosures. - Once in foreclosure you will find that many people may have the same interest and will compete against you, so another tactic is to have your Buyers Agent search for pre-foreclosures. A pre-foreclosure is a property owner who is in distress and its just not been foreclosed on yet. The advantage you can have is that you can still negotiate with the owner before the Bank gets their hands on it, where everyone else has a shot at it.
The pre-foreclosure market is seldom talked about but 3 of the 4 homes I bought this year were distressed properties that I was able to negotiate on. Another was a foreclosure from the Bank of NY and it was simply listed on the MLS.... but a search for local Banks or Lenders would not have turned up this lead.
Put your agent to work helping you find the best deal, or get an agent that will. A Buyers Agent does not charge you a fee, under most circumstances, but they are paid by the seller....yes, even if its a Bank who is selling the property. All sellers will agree to a set fee that they will pay to list and sell their home, generally no sale means no fee is due. That fee will be split between your agent and the listing agent, who is loyal and interested in his clients best interest naturally.
A bit off topic:
Personally, I do not charge a Buyer a fee. I do ask that anyone who wants to hire me to go to work for them and spend my valuable time searching for their â€œbestâ€ deal and showing them the homes, then writing them up to submit, all the way to Escrow, sign a Buyers Agency Agreement. â€“ The agreement simply says that they buyer agrees to use my services for any property purchases that they make within the next 6 months, with NO cost or fee to them by me. This is what we teach and train agents to do so that they do not spend day and sometimes weeks working with a clientâ€¦., only to hear that â€œtheirâ€ client had just bought a home from another agent. Its quite a sick feeling, but happens more than most people will admit. â€“ side note, you can cancel such a contract in most states, if you feel the agent is not doing a good job, but it will establish a professional relationship between both parties and your agent will feel a whole lot better when he/she goes to work for you every day. â€“ I love my clients and it shows.
Go for it with a Licensed Agent..., and best of luck!