If i represented the wife, i would try a short sale immediately, having an agents who is well expereinced and provides a professional negiotiator may be able to get them to avoid foreclsoure and have the wife the best chance at buying.
The last factor is if the home owner, her husband, owes more than the house is worth, or has 2 mortgages than tee foreclsoure is the only thing to clear these liens oor the next buyer to not be responsible for them, her best bet is to get prequailified now, and then try and buy from teh bank after the foreclsoure.
Negotiating with your lender ahead of time is really your best answer. You will have to bid with cash at the auction. If no one else bids it goes to the lender who foreclosed.
If I were you I could contact an attorney who does loan modifications. if your husband is not paying the loan then maybe you can assume it if you have means to pay it on your own. you will need to qualify for the loan.
Realtor Legal Assistant
925 699 5041
I would be happy to spend some time with you on the phone to discuss your options.