Estate Brokers of Florida
Houses that "vanish" from RealtyTrac or any other site can be for a number of reasons. The owner may have stopped the foreclosure process by getting their loan up-to-date, the lender may be holding off on the foreclosure, they might currently be in the process of modifying their loan, or it could be simply a data error.
As far as a home looking vacant and depressed, there are many snowbirds who only live here for a few months each year. Other homes have been purchased and the new owner has not yet renovated.
The best buys now are in bank-owned properties. The lenders are pricing them lower than other homes on the market. The really good ones are selling fast with multiple offers.
The best way to get a great deal is to find an agent with whom you can communicate your needs and wants and develop a relationship. The agent will help you get prepared and be ready to purchase when the right home for you comes on the market.