Actually purchasing REO's is much faster and simpler than purchasing a Short Sale. The REO is owned by the bank, and may banks will respond to offers within a few days. Some of the properties may have been damaged in some way by the former owner, so financing could be tricky if the banks won't pay for repairs needed. Often they will add the cost of those repairs to the sales price and authorize repairs to be done prior to financing and paid at closing. Don't shy away from REO's. You can also have luck with Short Sales if the lender has already approved of a particular price, the listing agent KNOWS what he or she is doing, AND the owner has completed all the necessary steps to have all required docs submitted. Finding one of these properties is sweet, because, in these cases, someone else has made an offer, waited the 4-6 months for the process, and then backed out. All you need to do is go in with an offer at or near the approved value and you should be "good to go". There is also some legislation which is set to be put to practice this spring, which will speed up the process, but, the best advice I can give you is, get a reputable Realtor AND Mortgage Lender who work well together, and go find your dream home. Good luck.