You've now received a wide variety of opinions and most of them good. I think your agent may be uncomfortable with your request, however, without knowing the whole situation, it is hard to say.
I do not agree with the comment on foreclosure "as is". It states that, but in many cases, they will work with you on certain issues. Your agent should include these in your search and should be able to negotiate on your behalf to get it done if there are issues.
In defense of your agent, I can say that many buyers think that they have bargaining power to the point where they call the shots and low ball on the price and that is simply not the case. In most instances, the mortgage holder has exhausted all other efforts to sell the home and is listed as low as they want to go. That said, you are still able to negotiate price, repairs etc.
Best of luck to you.
It sounds like maybe your agent isn't willing to leave his comfort zone. Some agents are still unwilling to take part in short sales/bank owned sales because it is a much different process then dealing with the typical sale many of us have grown used to. I agree with you that you need to consider all types of property to see where your dollar can take you. But definetely don't rule out nondistressed homes just because they aren't getting as much attention. There are many good points made below, especially regarding your type of financing. Also consider that many foreclosed homes are going to require a considerable amount of money out of pocket after you close. Appliances, repairs, carpet, paint, etc. As a first timer, sometimes this is a little intimidating. Hopefully you can take advantage of the tax credit and put it to good use, that may help. If I were you, I would approach the subject honestly with your agent. Let him know that you are interested and do not allow him to passify you. It's his job to represent you, and help you find the right home for you. It's not going to be his house! If he is unwilling to hear you out and help you with your research, maybe you need to have a conversation with his broker. (If you have signed a buyer/broker agreement with him) If not, maybe you should consider finding an agent that is willing to take your best interests to heart. As far as you doing more research about the pros and cons, I would have to say you are in the right place. Also, take a look at the Bolg section. There should be some good foreclosure reading and links there. Best of luck to you and happy hunting!
Ask your realtor to include them onto the list. I would advise you work with your realtor on them. The bank websites that Dunes put below me..sometimes what happens is that the property is not listed on there banks websites until days later after the home goes on the market. With a realtor, the second it hits the market, they will know.
These sites have information for the Bid/Purchase process each of them use and you can also look at the properties for sale
(REO/Foreclosures) listed to sell.
Sites like these .... http://hud1.towerauction.net/CT.htm ... http://www.countrywide.com/purchase/f_reo.asp ... http://www.pasreo.com/pasreo/public/propertySearch.do ... http://www.wamuproperties.com/
The links to these sites and much more may be found here ... http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/wiki/REO_Database_List.asp .... http://www.biggerpockets.com/bank-reo.html
Good luck, Dunes
You need to evaluate each deal on its own merits. You also need to consider the present condition of the property you look at, and what issues you might have with a lender. Mortgages on properties that are not in livable condition are trickier.
You said you nave an agent. If you have signed a buyer/broker contract, then you are bound to that agent for the duration of the terms you agreed to. If you feel that your agent is not knowledgeable enough to provide the service you require, speak to his/her broker about another having another agent assigned to you, or releasing you from the contract.
I hope this helps, and good luck.