I am living in a foreclosure home for about 2 months. It was vacant for about 1-2 years! It was government owned (hud). The house was in excellent shape (even better than most owner occupied homes). Yes, when the house sits for awhile the main issue is plumbing. We had the inspection done and found one issue with plumbing - the outside garden hose faucet was damaged. We have two others so no big deal. Other leaks I fixed myself (replaced washers, replaced kitchen faucet spray, replaced toilet flaps). All very minor repairs. They say any major leaks will appear within 2 months of living in home so I think we are OK.
Anyway, buying a foreclosure from the governement is the fastest and easiest process. It took us 30 days to close and move in. Bank owned properties are second fastest. Last are home owners due to negotiations/lawyers. Short sales are also very bad to deal with and very long.