In either case, you should ask for an option period to do a thorough inspection and determine the cost of repairs. Banks usually will not negotiate, so I agree that having a contractor look at the property before your offer if you have serious questions about condition and repairs.
I would be cautious about taking on anything but fix up and cosmetic changes if it were my first flip. I've seen a few done recently by realtors giving flipping a try and have been astonished by the unrealistic expectations of return on what are low cost renovations. They're ending up eating a lot of carrying costs.
You submit an offer based on the banks "stack list" there are many tips and tricks for REO, bank foreclosures in order to secure a winning bid.