Okay... Buckeye makes sense. I was scratching my head and wondering which part of Phoenix proper was "rural." LOL
Unfortunately, the banks are as inconsistent and unpredictable as they've always been. Some of them even hire asset management companies to handle the REO sale for them. The one thing that holds true is there is NO method to their madness, if you know what I mean.
But a good Buyer's Agent can provide you with the comps, research the property, and otherwise provide you with the necessary information on any given property so that you can make an informed and savvy offer.
For instance, sometimes a lender will be extremely motivated to get a property off its books. They might very well price it 20% below current market values. In that case, to offer them less than list price is almost a sure way to have your offer rejected. Also, pricing like that on a decent condition home will almost always attract multiple offers, thus creating a small bidding war among the buyers. Make sense?
Hope that helps explain the situation, Chuck. Feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions of I can assist you in any way.
It really depends on many factors. How long has it been on the market, what type of loan was on the property (was it FHA, FNMA, Local S&L, etc...), was there mortgage insurance. You'll find most banks are unlikely to make any significant price reduction in the first 30 days unless there was a good LTV (the amount they were owed plus foreclosure expenses vs the market value). Also, if there was mortgage insurance on the original loan then the MI company has the final say. Hope this helps.
Where exactly is "rural Phoenix"? If you are not already working with an REO-experienced Buyer's Agent, I would strongly recommend that you find one. Most of the questions you've asked are the types of questions that can make or break an offer, REO or otherwise. And consulting with your own Realtor is the best way to get your answers. The answers are also property specific, in that there is no set amount that you offer on a bank owned property ~ sometimes higher than list, sometimes lower.
Let me know if I can help.