First of all, most real estate professionals will agree, purchasing FORECLOSURE PROPERTIES ARE A PAIN because they can take so darn long to close. And you're burdened with extra costs not usually part of a "normal" real estate purchase.
I will not reiterate any of the comments made by other agents on this discussion since most are true and I would have to agree with them. However, you have to decide if you have the financial ability to withstand some losses if you decide to pay for some of the expenses that are involved with purchasing a foreclosure.
Your agent should not dismiss your interest in buying a foreclosed property, however your agent should disclose any of the consequences or conditions involved in putting out some of your money involved in this process. You have to decide if the property will be worth the extra expense and the wait.
Unfortunately, you need to find an agent who is not afraid of the foreclosure process because there is some "legwork" involved on the agent's end. However this extra work is not mandatory. Some agents wil leave the extra work to the homebuyer. I've been involved in helping my past clients visit the town's municipal complex to find permit records, and schedule town inspectors to come to the property. I've also helped clients prepare the property for inspections from the municipal. It's just the extra mile I tried to go through for my clients.
Not all agents will do this for you. But, to answer also your question about searching for homes, I find that this is a concerted effort between both you and your agent. There are lots of homes on the market today and in my opinion your agent should be providing you with home searches, but you too should be searching as well.
I'll tell you why this is important.
First, not every single home is listed on the MLS. Some are For Sale By Owners, some are "Exclusive" (the listing broker can sell the home without a buyer's agent - your agent). Sometimes, however, if you find a home you drive by and ask your agent to look into it, he should be able to at least reach out to the home seller, or agency listing the home and ask if they are open in working with his agency. This special arrangement is often accepted and gets you looking at homes that my not be listed in the MLS.
Remember, in real estate EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE. Your agent should be going beyond and outside the "BOX" for you.
Hope some of this helps.
A Home For Sale Realty
A Premier Statewide Real Estate Agency