Thanks to everyone for their advice on this subject matter.
I don't think I have the stomach (too much risk) for purchasing a home via auction. I have previously looked at bid sites, such as bidselect. It is not for us!
In regards to what is missing in the current house inventory, I can honestly say it is hard to put a finger on it. The few homes that we have liked seem to be priced more than we fill they are worth. A fair amount of people are claiming that this is the best time to purchase a home because the market is at the floor and interest rates are extremly low. I do believe that interest rates are very attractive right and will only rise by year end, but I don't believe that we are at the floor of the RE market. As rates rise, consumer's purchasing power will decrease cause property values to suffer. If we are looking to purchase a home for a period greater than 10 years, then it wouldn't be a problem. But I am not so sure we are looking at being in GA for a 10-year period. My wife and I have a newborn son and we would be commuting to Midtown everyday. We have friends in the Alpharetta area that make the commute everyday so we know what we are getting into. :) Since the school situation is 5 years out I really don't know if picking a specific school district should way heavily into our decision. I don't know how often go through school zoning. Easy access to 400 (between exit 7-9) could prove to be a big plus as it would could cut 5-10 min off the commute. We are planning on having another child in the next 2-3 years, so a 3 w/loft or 4br is a must. A sticking point for the wife is granite countertops in the kitchen and a somewhat updated bathroom. Maybe at the end of the day we are being unreasonable in our expectations even though this is a buyer's market.
Your mention of getting in direct contact with the most active REO agents has peaked my interest. How would I know which agents are most active in REOs--through interviewing several agents?
Thanks a bunch,