Although I canâ€™t answer questions on specific scenarios or markets (such as NY), I can offer several suggestions
1) Check websites of regional lenders with high loan volume or concentration in your state.
2) Use Trulia to identify the lowest priced listings in your area. If you live in a â€œsand stateâ€ (CA, FL, AZ, NV) this will likely be an REO.
3) Check â€œHomes for Saleâ€ (or similar) on websites of large companies which are known to have large number of REO, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrwyide, Ocwen, C-BASS, etc.
4) If you donâ€™t find a property youâ€™re interested in, identify which REO broker appear to have the most listings. If theyâ€™re good, they will typically represent other servicers too. Contact that office to find a buyer's agent who will help your search. It wonâ€™t cost anything
Here isa link for info on purchasing an REO from Fannie Mae:
and another for Freddie Mac:
Keep in mind that REO managers usually deal exclusively through qualified REO brokers and arenâ€™t able to answer inquiries from the general public (otherwise weâ€™d be doing that all day!) In general you wonâ€™t get a better deal by going directly to the lender, assuming you can even figure out who it is. The listing agent will be paid either way and can help you navigate through maze and extra paperwork required. They will require some basic financial information from you to verify youâ€™re qualified.
My personal opinion, having gone through three major real estate boom/bust cycles since the early 1980s, is we havenâ€™t hit bottom yet. It may still be too early to buy if your primary motivation is a quick profit. But donâ€™t let that stop you from getting into a home.
Good luck on your search!