We have now bought 15 bank owned properties and probably made over 1,000 offers on property! Banks and sellers are usually looking for more then the person who is willing to pay the most, but people they know will be able to actually close the escrow.
The most important thing is to portray that you are a real buyer and will be able to close on this property. This means to show a pre-approval lender with a direct lender, provide proof of funds and a current copy of your credit scores. You want the seller to know that you will follow through with your promise to buy the property, do whatever you can to portray this.
If you are using a buyer’s agent you want to make sure they are experienced. The seller’s agent typically has a lot of say in what offer banks and sellers accept. A phone call, or multiple phone calls, to portray to the agent that you are real and willing to answer any concerns the seller has. When selling properties, I like to work with good agents, so if they call me a lot I know they will be easy to contact throughout the transaction.
Try to offer as big of a earnest money deposit as you can. Up to 10%, if possible, shows that you are very serious about making this happen. This money is almost always refundable as long as you do what you promise. I know of one investor that buys properties from 20-30,000 and sometimes he offers his full offer amount as an earnest money deposit. This shows he’s serious and he will close.
Last, but not least, follow-up once you submit the offer and follow-up every couple of days. Once you send an offer in, contact the agent and discuss it with them. You typically can get a feel for their thoughts on your offer and if you look good or not.