The best thing you can do is find a qualified real estate agent to work with. You can find pre foreclosure lists, however, that does not mean you will be able to purchase the home without a professional. First we have to convince the owner to sell because the bank cannot make that decision until the home is actually foreclosed on and ownership officially goes to the bank. Then, more than likely, the home will have to be 'short sold' which means we will be asking the bank to accept less than what is owed in settlement of the debt because the owner can no longer afford the payments. Almost all banks will require that the home be listed with a real estate professional anyway so that they can feel they are getting the best price possible, so, again, you will need to work with a real estate professional. Even if you find a property that is owned by the bank, they will still insist the home be listed with a realtor so, there's really no escaping the fact. Add to that the fact that short sales and foreclosure sales are difficult at best and it really just makes sense.