The easy answer: hire a competent REALTOR who is also a Certified Negotiations Expert (CNE). My partners just negotiated $145,000 off the price of a bank owned property that was on the MLS just last week.
You can view all the properties that are bank owned in Surprise, Goodyear or Peoria on any website that has MLS access just search some properties and then hit Ctrl+F on your keyboard (The Find feature) and type in "bank owned".
Also you REALTOR can simply find out what your needs are and then send you a list of the best bargains.
Below is a website where you can search the MLS instanstly. Donald Keys - Professional REALTOR & Consultant
One more thing, I have heard two different statistics on SHORT SALES.
1) Only 10% of short sales are approved by the bank or lender
2) No more than 40% of short sales are approved by the bank or lender.
Also I know buyers that have been waiting over 6 months for a bank or lender to approve a short sale - riduculous. Just buy the bank owned or other home that fits your needs.
Short sales are the toughest of all deals in my opinion as it is the lender that must ultimately approve the deal, but the listing agent is working for the seller and not the bank. It is this fact that makes these deals more difficult as most of the time, the listing agent does not even have the correct contact information for the right person at the bank. When we list short sales, we hire a third party negotiator who has all the bank contacts and negotiates all deals with the bank.
Lender owned are a bit easier in the fact that they have hired the real estate agent directly. The listing agent knows exactly who to present the offer to. Responses may take a bit longer than from an owner, but the results can be quite nice for the buyer with a bit of patience.
Each of these types of properties can usually be accessed in the MLS by a REALTOR. Cecil has a great point in that most of these sites dedicated to short sales and foreclosures do nothing but sell your information after you register.
The Valley Solutions Team
"check out our team site"
There are a bunch of 3rd party companies our there that list Foreclosed homes or Trustee Sales and again all they do is SELL your name to a fee paying agent.
A good and diligent Realtor can search the MLS and put you into a drip sytem that will send you a current list of what is available for sale in your area and any brand new listings that hit the market.
Good luck and happy house hunting
Cecil Duarte- Broker/Owner
Serving Valleywide Realty
If they get through that they generally go to a Broker and are on the MLS. Very very few banks deal direct. It is just too complicated. Again, and I keep saying this, get a good agent who specializes in these sales. Most people can not exert the type of energy it would take to follow a home through the process and all of that.
In Arizona there are more foreclosures than almost anywhere. I think your best bet is to try and find a Seller needing to do a Short Sale and negotiate with them to get the home at a great value! Again there is a lot of work involved here. And it is a little different anywhere you go.
That is my advice to you!
Dirk T Knudsen
"The Real Estate Doctor"
Search the MLS for bank-owned properties (or have someone do it on your behalf) and make an offer. On an REO property you'll usually receive an answer within a week or so. It's considerably different than a short sale, where the lender has no real incentive to accept the loss.
Know ahead of time there almost certainly will be repairs to be made, some cosmetic and some more substantive. Make sure to hire a home inspector to check the place out - if you try and buy without an agent and the standard AAR contract, make sure you have an inspection period.
You can read more on the below post. Like I said, it's not anywhere near as complicated as it's being made to seem.
One last note - Arizona doesn't have more foreclosures than anywhere. That's just plain bad information.
Check this link more info on that: http://seekingalpha.com/article/26319-a-look-at-foreclosures