Various stages of foreclosure represent different phases. If a notice of default or notice of lis pendens if filed - the house may not actually be for sale - they are in pre-foreclosure. A lot of different things can happen in pre-foreclosure stage..the owners could have paid the back the entire past due balance and brought their loan current, they could have entered into a forebearance agreement or they may in looking to sell their property as a FSBO (not recommended) or it may actually be listed with a broker either for full market value or as a short sale.
With that being said, the next stage would be sheriff sale (be prepared to have with you 20% of your highest bid price in cash, certified check, cashier's check, treasurer's check due immediately) or REO property which is bank owned. Keep an open mind about foreclosed properties as they are usually not in good condition and sometimes you are unable to view the home before the sheriff's sale so you are not really sure as to what you are really getting and what condition it is actually in. There are some short sales on the market which are good steals too. Don't limit yourself to foreclosures but shop around for the best steals if you are looking for a real deal. Foreclosed properties can cost you a lot in the end to renovate.
Gina Chirico, Sales Associate, Realtor
Prudential New Jersey Properties
973-239-7700 ext 132
Referring to Short sales, it is much more difficult to answer your question. It truly depends on the value on how low you can bid. Some homes are priced below market value, others accurately, others way too high. Best of Luck! There's great opportunity out there.