The truth is that the banks have figured out how to sell foreclosed homes and very often will get "top dollar" for them. Too many people confuse the asking price with market value and with fair market value. You can normally get a foreclosure for below market value but the banks will stay close to the asking price for quite some time.
Some banks will sell them in the same condition that they received them but others will fix up the good ones in order to get a higher price. A perfect example of this would be Fannie Mae foreclosures which often will be in move in condition.
It is true that the banks want to sell the home but they normally have a set schedule or plan regarding pricing and price reductions. They will eventually sell it but if it is overpriced it will take awhile. Some banks use such a regimented schedule that I can tell you when they are going to reduce the price before they reduce it.
Banks don't want to do any repairs and they will try not to. But if you know how to approach it then you can negotiate it. A recent example was a foundation issue that was discovered during the inspection process for a client. The bank had a strict policy of not adjusting the repair procedure while the home was under contract. Any repairs costs required to close the deal had to be added to the sales price while the house was under contract. So my client withdrew their offer and let the house go back on the market. We then negotiated a new deal that included the repairs, but the bank agreed to pay for it.
Most of the time it is no different than buying any other home but there are some exceptions. For example HUD foreclosures can often be quite tricky if you don't have experience with them.
Almost every foreclosure that I have sold in the last 3 years have been in multiple offer situations. Everybody wants a deal.
Sometimes it is but just like buying a regular home, it is often the deal more than the price. How you write the offer is extremely important.
Over 35% of homes sales in the current market are paid for with cash. It helps but it won't assure you of getting the property.
There will more than likely be multiple offers. If you lowball the offer in anticipation of getting a counter offer then you may be left out in the cold.
If a foreclosure is priced well it won't last long. If you have a good agent they will let you know when a new listing goes on the market and you can be one of the first to see it.