So you're thinking of buying a foreclosure in the Las Vegas area.
First let's start with there actually aren't as many bank owned homes in Las Vegas as there was at this time last year. They actually are trying to work with as many sellers as possible in order to not go through the foreclosure process. As of right now, for single family residences in the Greater Las Vegas area, there are currently 8201 homes for sale, in other words, not under some stage of the contract process. Out of those, only 1007 are owned by a bank, or about 12%. This time last year, and I don't have the hard numbers available right with me, bank owned homes represented about 60% of the houses for sale.
With that all said, here are some tips I've come across from both a listing agent for the banks and a buying agent for my clients.
First off, you need to make sure you are pre-qualified with a lender first and foremost. Even if you are not purchasing a bank owned home, it's still the first place you should always start. How else do you know how much house you can afford and also, what a bank is actually willing to lend you?
Now most banks that own homes will also want to take that one step further. Before taking their home off the market for you, they want to run your credit also to see if you qualify under their guidelines also. You do not need to use them for your loan, however, you'd better be prepared for this if you want to make an offer on their homes. If you choose not to do this, then one of two things may happen. First, the listing agent will still turn in your offer, however the selling bank is under no obligation to sell their home to you, even if you have what you may think is the best offer. They may consider the "best" offer to be at least pre-qualified with one of their own lending agents, and they have every right to do so, it's their house after all. The other thing that may happen, is they may have instructed the listing agent to not even present any offers that haven't gone through this process, so your offer may never even make it to the seller. Again, you do not need to use the bank who owns the home to get your loan, but you may need to qualify under there rules in order for them to take the home off the market for you. They do not want to see the deal fall apart because another lender says at the last minute that they cannot get you a loan anymore. Contrary to popular belief, they need to sell the home, and sell it as fast as possible.
Hope all this helps in understanding at least some of the process that goes on behind the scenes.