There are three steps that have to take place before a property can be sold as a foreclosure. Here's a quick diagram explaining the process of actually getting to the status of an actual foreclosure and being sold to the Bank or a 3rd Party transferring via a Trustee's Deed:
I would just caution you if the property listings are from RealtyTrac, which is a company who advertises "foreclosure listings" on Trulia. RealtyTrac's primary objective is to separate you from your $$$ in exchange for providing information most any RealtorÂ® can provide you for FREE.
As far as having the most up to date listing information for ACTIVE listings team with a local RealtorÂ® who can set you up with an automated search for what you can afford.
BEFORE you start seeing property, obtain a "True Pre-Approval" (your most important step in my opinion).
You MAY need to improve your credit score, increase cash reserves, etc. before buying; however, at least you will have a roadmap to eventually purchasing if this is the case. Furthermore, this step can save you from wasting money on a purchase that does not close escrow!
"Retail Banks vs. Mortgage Broker/Bankers"
@Lady Miss Morin: Trulia and Zillow are constantly running behind to pick up the data. In the current market, foreclosures are a fast moving commodity. In many cases, by the time a foreclosure property can be found on Trulia or Zillow, it already has an offer or has been sold.
Your best bet it to work with a local real estate agent. You can always tell your agent about a property you found online and ask them to check it out. Then you know for sure that the data is accurate.
Those sites are all fakes that coerce you into paying to access their properties. That's why the same properties are not on trulia/zillow/etc. There's a reason the street number is never displayed. You'll find that the properties they advertise are not really for sale. Your best bet is to find your local area expert, like me, and have him/her find properties for you.
I'd appreciate it if you pick my answer as the best :D
Have a wonderful weekend,
William, CIPS, RSPS