When buying a foreclosed home, your Realtor should be able to pull up all the research that you would need to make an offer. You should know that these are sold 'as is' so if you find out later it needs work, it is your responsibility as the bank has not lived in, or seen the propery. Get ting a home inspection prior to putting in an offer is a good idea.
As for your Realtor pushing a buy down of interest rather than the lowest price, that would be something your lender should address. Maybe you need a certain payment to qualify - which could be why your agent is suggesting this.
Why don't you do both? Offer less AND ask for a buy down? Only the CMA can tell if he price is right, and banks don't like holding on to foreclosures.
Talk to your agent and your lender and get their opinions, get a home inspection, and then do what you feel is right.
All this is good advice. One thing that your Realtor can do, as far as research, is see if any permits were pulled. As stated, because the banks have not lived in the house, they have no knowledge of the condition. Seeing what permits were pulled would indicate what, if any, work was done. There may have been work done without permits, but this is another resource.
Also, if you are a First Time Homebuyer, make sure you are taking advantage of the Down Payment Assistance that may be available.
And if it's under $50K remember you're now in a SELLERS market.
Marcus Burke PhD, GRI
Broker: Orlando Real Estate Pros
Condo Metropolis LLC
Licensed Real Estate Brokerage
Condo Website: http://www.CondoMetropolis.com
Homes Website: http://www.OrlandoRealEstatePros.com
Telephone / Fax: 407-290-3408.
As for the buy down... hmm... If I had to guess, I'd say it sounds like your agent is trying to get you to be able to buy a house rather than just shop for one. It kind of sounds like you are looking at homes which are priced above the maximum price for which you qualify???
I don't know your market, but here is it competitive at some price points, and you CAN"T buy for less than the listed price... in some cases, you can't buy AT the listing price - homes are selling above list price to multiple offers.
I know that the media paints a very different picture - you'd think that anywhere in the US you can see a house for sale and name your price and get it, but that simply is not the case. When priced right, homes are selling - sometimes to multiple offers, and sometimes above list price.
Your agent knows the local market there. Ask her to explain it well to you.