I think the very best Advise for you would to hire a Great Realtor who has experience in foreclosure.
Remember the Banks have very good Realtors & Lawyers working for them.
There has been a ton of discussion about the pro`s & con`s foreclosures on Trulia
Do a quick search under Foreclosure and read away.
There are many cautions I'd like to give you but you didn't ask that. So I'll just say be super careful in this endeavor.
It's easier to knock on a door of a house that needs repair and say "my wife and I are looking for a home in this area and yours looks cute from the outside". Do you know anyone selling in this area? A hand written note works well too. My closure rate is almost 70% on the notes.... And you get the best deals with no competition.
It's a little tight for the current San Mateo auction, but a free, interesting learning experience. My experiewnce is that, on average, auctions go for about halfway from the opening bid to the "prior" value.