I am not sure what you mean by 'legitimate'. It sounds as though your frustration may be with what I call 'lis pendens lists'. These are listings of all the homes for which the bank has filed the initial court paperwork, either a Notice of Default or a Lis Pendens (translated as pending litigation) filing. The lists are legitimate, the homes are in the early stages of foreclosure, or have been foreclosed on, but that does not mean they are available for purchase. When a loan becomes delinquent, depending on the State you live in, the foreclosure process can take a very, very long time. And the banks are dragging their feet as well. Then, once the property IS foreclosed on, you will have to wait for the bank to list the home with a realtor because they aren't going to talk directly to potential buyers.
Long winded way of saying, find a realtor who is familiar with short sales and foreclosures and work with them. Look for the SFR designation, which stands for Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource. It's really the only way to get reliable information on short sales and foreclosed homes that are available to buyers.