If you are interested in, and have not purchased the property, you will be unable to have security dogs, alarm systems etc. as you do not have legal access to the property. Contacting the city officials that the property is located in and letting them know about the vacant property may be helpful, the police will then periodically check the property for vandalism. Often in many areas, vacant properties are required to be registered with the city and they will want to know about them anyway, in case the listing agent has not notified them. If the property is required to be registered, there will be a posting at the property with the contact information in case vandalism is suspected. If the property has received damage or attempted damage, due to vandalism, the listing agent will receive authorization from the seller to hire a security firm to patrol the area. That's how I handle my bank owned listings in the Monterey area in California. Hope this is helpful.
If you are looking for an agent who sells foreclosures, the best way is to look on the internet for foreclosures that are already listed. An agent that has a bank owned listing will often have more than one REO listing. However, don't be fooled that foreclosures are always the best buy. Often there are hidden issues with the condition of the home that can cost you more money per sq ft in the long run due to repairs.
Often the local jurisdictions have vacant property registrations and the property may be posted with information on who to contact if anything unusual is noted. If not, alerting the city authorities would be helpful so they can contact the owner of record and also have the police keep an eye on the house.
Typically, the bank as a seller will not want to limit the buyer pool to all cash offers. However, often properties that need a lot of work will be limited in the types of financing available. If you are interested in a bank owned property that is asking for all cash offers, consider asking the listing agent what the repair issues are...the property may qualify for renovation financing.
The owners name is in the county records, however, if the property was a foreclosure, often the bank will not record the foreclosure deed in their name for several weeks.
If the home is not in the pre-foreclosure stages and has actually been foreclosed on, the property may be occupied and not ready to be listed. The seller may also be doing repairs and it is not available.
There may be a waiting period before the seller reviews the offers if the property is newly on the market. Sometimes the seller will not review offers for the first 7 days, if there are multiple offers it may take several days to get a response of a counter offer or request for highest and best.
Agreed that the foreclosure sales price has no bearing on the what the seller will list the property for. Foreclosure properties are listed for market value, and particularly at the beginning of the listing, the seller expects to get full price. Generally if the property has been on the market for more than 30 days, the seller will start to look at lower offers.
I agree if possible, the buyer should be present, at least at the end of the home inspection, to review with the home inspector the issues with the property. The buyer can see with their own eyes, instead of by photos in a report. When you see it for yourself, it is easier to understand, plus you can ask questions. At the minimum, the buyer's agent should be present at the inspection.
The foreclosure sales are usually posted at the courthouse the day before the sale. You may want to check the procedure in your county to see when the actual postings times are.