If you're still needing help regarding foreclosures, don't hesitate to call or email. An agent would be the best source for REOs (via MLS) and can make the transaction much easier for you all the way around. Are you thinking of buying here in SF?
Rich Bennett, Realtor
Zephyr Real Estate
My advice for what it's worth is to do all you homework on your own. That will only help educate you and make you a little more sophisticated and knowledgeable when you finally do select a competent professional to help you navigate through the mire. Once you've done a couple of deals with some guidance then you may want to consider going out on your own.
If you are thinking about those tantalizing 'dealios' you see on Foreclosure Radar or Realty Trac ((posted here) - then you might be thinking about the auction of foreclosed homes on the courthouse steps of every county. (They are not court sanctioned and that's why they're done OUTSIDE.) CAVEAT EMPTOR! Some people have made some pretty expensive blunders. In a famous case in Santa Cruz a buyer bought the foreclosure of the second loan and never knew there was a first who then wound up foreclosing on them!
Read it and think TWICE:
If you are looking for bank owned (REO) they exist on the MLS and will be advertised and agents such as my partner Oliver Burgelman and myself can help you find them. We know our way around both short sales and REO's.
Mike Ackerman, Zephyr Real Estate, ABZ@ZephyrSF.com
But if you want to see foreclosed homes --- regardless of whether they are already listed for sale or not -- you can go to the County records, research the list. Foreclosures are recorded on the county books.
You can also attempt to bid during the trustee sales held at the county courthouse steps --- but be prepared to bid against seasoned investors. Also be aware of the pitfalls of buying at an auction, regardless of whether they're held at the county courthouse or by an auction house.
Good luck in your property search,
Keller Williams Realty