As for pricing, you would need to contract the service of a real estate agent (that is using only one agent who would be willing to help). They would give you what you could get if the home was fully updated and good to go. Once you have that, you need to subtract the possible sell price from the sale. For instance: Market value could be $200K minus the $100K price at the sheriff sale equals $100K. This would leave plenty of room to spend your own money to fix the property, sell and retain a decent profit.
If the home would be worth $200K and it would cost you $175K to buy, then it probably would not be worth your time.
All great Advice below.
Getting the Help from a Buyer Agent: I just wanted to let you know that if you try and work with a Buyer's Agent to help you with the investment of a Sheriff sale which is also where you would be getting reports on homes being sold for Foreclosure. You will need to hire this Real Estate Agent and pay them out of your own pocket. Unless a home is listed on the MLS the commission is paid by the Buyer. This is important because you will need to figure this into your budget. Also, it looks like you are a home buyer NOT an investor.
Getting the Sheriff Sale List: So, please be aware that even though you can get a free list of the upcoming "sheriff sales" at your county office the current owner of the home can pay off the amount owned up to 1 hour before the scheduled sheriff sale.
The Purchase Price: As mentioned below...the price ALWAYS seems too good to be true and that is because most of the time it is. The sale price MOST of the time does not include other loans, property taxes and any public utilities that may be owned....plus any additional loans. This is what the Title company would research for you. This would cost you about $300.00 or sho.
Viewing the Home Before Purchase: Sheriff sales, Many times you can not even view the home before purchase because many times the homeowners are still in the property.
AUCTIONS: If you see a property for sale for Auction by an Auction company...this is completely different. Auction companies many times are working for the seller directly and the seller just decided to us an Auction company instead of a Real Estate Agent to sell their property. This is a much better way to invest in a home as a Home Buyer. If you do not use the traditional method of working with a Buyer Agent and purchasing a home that is listed on the MLS.
I hope this information has helped you.