If the property is listed than a local Realtor who is familiar with the process would be the best place for you to start. If the house you are interested in is listed as a short sale it is best to have an agent who has experience dealing with short sales. I would be happy to assist you in the short sale process or in your home search in general.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Towne Realty Group
If you are willing to pay the full amount the owner owes on their mortgage, it might work...BUT...
Pre-foreclosure simply means the lender is taking measures to obtain the title of (sole) ownership. Until they actually foreclose on the property, there is absolutely nothing the bank can do without the owner's involvement and agreement.
On the other hand, if the property is being offered as a "short sale" you could enter into an agreement with the present owner. This would now involve the lender having to agree to the terms of the agreement along with the seller.
Are you working with an agent? A knowledgeable professional would be able to help you make sense of what this involves.
These sites then charge for this" first hand information" which may never get to anywhere near foreclosure.
I have seen some $800,000 homes in "preforeclosure" for $200k and people getting all excited about it when there is actually nothing there.
You'd have your Realtor contact the seller's agent.
If the seller doesn't have an agent, your Realtor would contact the seller.
In a pre-foreclosure, the original owner owns the house. It's his or hers to sell. Only once it's foreclosed upon--and becomes bank-owned--would you be working with the bank. Even then, though, you would contact your Realtor who would contact the listing agent to make an offer.
Hope that helps.
If you're interested in buying ANY home -- a "pre-foreclosure" or not -- you need to talk to a REALTOR, who will represent you as a Buyer's Agent. He/she can get you into the home to see it, will do a market analysis to determine what fair market value is, and write up the contract. Then once it's accepted, he/she will get you through the entire transaction process including title, inspection, appraisal, loan approval, etc.
But if you just see a vacated home, that's not listed for sale, and you "think" it's going into foreclosure, there's really nothing you can do. The bank will foreclose on it eventually (which can take months...or even a year). Then, if it doesn't get bought at auction buy an investor, then it will likely come on the market, listed with a Realtor who represents the bank.
If you need help with this call me to discuss.