Buyers in today's market know that not every transaction is created equal. You are not going to negotiate a traditional sale the same as a short sale and the same as a bank owned home. That is why you really should think about working with an agent that understands what you are trying to acomplish. In particular, if you go out of your way to find REO agents that really know what a bank is going to look for in an offer than you will find that you will get more favorable results in your negotiations.
Good REO agents know how to structure a deal the way a bank asset manager is going to want to see it. Done properly, you can sometimes out bid a higher bidder who just doesn't have the expertise of a great agent working behind him to deliver the offer in a way the bank wants to see it.
Remember, banks are sometimes set in their ways and are looking for a particular formula. Experienced Realtors know what that is and can do a great job of representing you in a bank transaction. One of these things, for example, is not to ask for a home warranty plan. Banks don't like to pay for them and it is silly to miss out on the home or condo that you want because of a home warranty worth a few hundred bucks.
Another is not to waste your time asking for your own escrow and title company because the bank will almost always counter that out and insist on working with theirs. I will say, however, that if you are willing to pay for the title policy then you can choose the company as the buyer, though very few ever choose this route.
There are many other particulars to making offers on REO deals so make sure you find and work with the right agent that is going to do the best job for you as a result of their experience.