Many of the foreclosures are purchased by cash buyers. That's who your "competition" is. You will find some of the banks don't want to deal with a buyer who has a contingency to get a mortgage. The less contingencies there are, the better they like the offer. At the very least, make VERY sure you can get the money. A letter of credit may go a long way in this direction, not as good as having cash in hand, but at least you won't be paying interest on a home equity loan ahead of time.