There is a lot to this question. Properties in foreclosure can be in the process a long time depending on what the state law for the specific location of the property. In your state it is a farily long process. When the borrower become deliquent the bank will start a legal action after about 4 months of no payments. Then the lender will start foreclosure procedures to acquire the property. Until the foreclosure sale is completed, the property is the borrower or owners property to do with it what they will (just live in it, try to workout something with lender or sell it).
About 50% of the people that go into foreclosure do nothing.
Some people have enough equity in the property that you may not know the property is in foreclosure
Other people may be owe more than the property is worth and these are called short sales and if the owner wants to sell the property, they must get the lender's approval.
The last type of foreclosure is after the foreclosure sale when the lender takes title. Then the bank sells the property.
The one with least amount of risk is the REO when the bank sells as long as you have a buyers agent representing you and get a good property inspection to understand what is wrong with the properyt.
First Weber Group
Certified Distressed PRoperty Expert
When a home owner is late on their payments, the bank evetually will set a foreclosure auction date if there are no payments or arrangements. At this foreclosure auction, you may bid, but you are responsioble for any leins, back taxes or other mortgages. The sale is as is and there can not be any contingincies. If there is no bidder who meets teh banks minimum, then teh bank takes the property back, they clear the title, assign the listing to a local broker, will eveict the resident, clean the house, appraise it and put it up for sale at or below market value. You can make an offer, most often you can not have any contiongincies other than obtaing a mortgage, you do need a preapproval letter to submit with your offer, again you are buying it as is and should have your inspection prior to making an offer. You rbest bet is to get an experienced buyer broker to guide you through the process. good luck with your search.... more