I would suggest finding who th elisting agents are who list foreclosures in your area. While it is true that the banks are losing money on these properties, they are also becoming more realistic in regards to repairs.
I am closing today on a lender-owned property. The bank DID fix water valves (by hiring a plumber) in order to facilitate inspections. They are starting to realize that if they want something to sell, then they have to make it easier for buyers to buy. Many buyers' loans are FHA, which require utilities to be on and systems to be working in order to close.
I know the listing agent for that property has a plumber he uses for all of his needs.