Good question! Buying a foreclosure can have it's challenges. No doubt there are a lot of great deals out there. The first step would be to find an agent who is extremely familiar with foreclosures and short sales. Once you find that agent, schedule an appointment to sit with that agent. I always schedule at least an hour to meet with new clients to discuss their goals and what steps need to be taken to achieve those goals. This also allows you time to see if you like the agent and them you. After all, you will be spending a lot of time together and if you don't like each other, best to find out before any time is wasted.
During that meeting, you can discuss the programs available to you to purchase the property and what the lender will require from you. This is also best to get done right away so that it doesn't hold you up down the line and prevent you from buying the property.
This is just a start. I would be happy to discuss your goals with you further. Feel free to contact me at 215-669-0589 or at email@example.com.