If you're considering writing an offer on a foreclosure/bank-owned property, you need to read the post entitled "20 Things You Should Know When Writing An Offer on a R.E.O. Property" over at Agent Genius. Though it's for agents, most of the items pertain to buyers.
Here's an excerpt:
#1 Verbal offers are rarely accepted, considered, or responded to.
#2. Seller is an institution or government agency and does not respond to offers on weekends or holidays. Offers presented during these times will be presented the following business day!
#3. Be aware, the possibility of multiple offers exists, all offers will be presented to seller. Please read items 4-8 carefully.
#4. Seller is looking for HIGHEST AND BEST OFFER, this means that the highest offer may not be accepted. The institution definitely weighs all of the risks associated with offers. Contingencies and sales terms are considered to determine with whom they will enter into contract.
#5. Response times of 5 to 7 business days or longer are not unusual. Your offer will sometimes require the signatures of multiple parties. Be advised that all efforts are being made to give the buyer a timely response. The listing agent has no control over this time frame! The listing agent has the same desire as you, to see a successful closing!
#6. Due to the nature of R.E.O’s, once there is an acceptance of your offer, the usual turn around time for an executed (fully signed) contract is 7 to 10 business days.
#7. Because of items 2 - 6, once an offer has been sent to the seller for FINAL (fully signed) approval, all offers after that are considered back up offers.
#8. Seller may respond with a “reject offer” with no counter.
The remaining 12 items are also important so make sure you check out the full post. If you have any questions on any of the items or need clarification, don't hesitate to contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.582.6900.