This is a great opportunity, because of very low prices, for first time buyers to finally get into the housing market. Those that have saved a down payment (sometimes as low as 3% with FHA financing) and have documentable income can buy a home that just a few years ago may have cost twice as much.
The problem is many of these homes have multiple offers, ten or more is not uncommon in Marin county. It is not unusual that the majority of those making offers are cash investors that have no plan on living in the home. Nothing wrong with that, after all the United States is a capitalistic society which is not a dirty word.
The sellers, big banks many of whom received bailout money favor cash offers as do most sellers. There should be some regulation that would put intended owner occupied buyers on the same footing as cash investors. If the buyers have a down payment and proof of income and fully qualify for the purchase REO banks should not be allowed to accept a lower cash offer from a non owner occupied investor. These qualified buyers are the type that build communities, have an interest in local events and tend to keep up the homes and therefore the neighborhoods. This just seems like a no-brainer to me especially if the REO bank is using OUR bailout money.