As a buyer representative, the agent's job on an REO should exceed in:
1.) Ability to evaluate REO property and neighborhood comps, activity, and historical perspective to help in predicting re-sale so that an appropriate offer can be made on the home. Not uncommon to have a listing under market value to induce a buyers' bidding frenzy. Know the real numbers.
2.) Ability to follow instructions and prep the buyer with the time line and to do list to get their offer accepted. REO listing agent's have certain instructions and requirements for submitting an offer. Many time this includes a pre-approval with the REO lender of choice. Doesn't mean the buyer has to use this lender but a pre-approval also requires everything the buyer submitted to his/her lender to be submitted to the REO lender and many times that also means another credit report run.
Proof of funds (money available to close) is another typical requirement for all offers. Clean, clear contracts, put together in whatever way the REO listing agent so desires. Compliance is key and stubbornness hurts the offer. Best chance offers come AS IS, shortest contingencies, and an actual date to close (not 35 days). Recognize that offer is submitted on one contract but REO owner normally sends back their own contract which trumps all previous documents. Read this extra carefully and ask lots of questions about what -ifs.
3.) Good review of the property condition. Your agent should have an opinion about the property condition and red-flags for further investigation. If there are non-permitted additions/remodels, water stains, visible foundation cracks, old roof, appearance of termite damage etc. , your agent should be at least letting you know what he/she sees and what inspections they would recommend. Your agent should be able to give you a ball park of inspection costs and recommendations. I have brought out contractors before writing offers on houses that have non-permitted additions for ball park calculations on corrections. Having timely inspections is critical because you want plenty of time to decide and release contingencies or cancel way before due date.
4.) Escrow coordination between your lender, seller, and title can be challenging with REOs because many times it is not a local company. Your agent should help manage this so that you can close on time and avoid any per diem fees charged for late escrow close. Your lender should have a complete package by the time your offer is accepted. Contingency periods are tight. You do not want to put your deposit at risk.
There are other things that are unique to each purchase, REO listing agent, and owner that I can advise on once I know the house. An organized, detailed real estate pro and loan officer will help you be successful with an REO purchase.