There are many risks involved in purchasing at the court steps. You can hire anyone to make the purchase for you. You simply have to send someone you trust, to the court steps, with cashiers checks, in an envelope. You can communicate with them on the phone, while the bidding is taking place. Once you've made the purchase, the property is yours. Sometimes you will come out ahead, and at other times, it may cost you more than a non-foreclosure property, by the time you fix it up. What if the owner of the property, that is being foreclosed on, comes over and turns on a faucet or two, in the house, the night before the auction? I've personally seen some homes that have been trashed inside. As a Realtor with a builder back ground, I considered helping an investor acquire homes this way. I did a few dry runs. I would drive all over San Diego, to see the properties, estimate repairs, and stand on the court steps to learn, and observe. More often than not, the property of interest didn't come up for sale the day they said it would. The sale date is often postponed. I also found that properties under $500,000 were of interest to too many bidders. The price would be driven up to near retail. There are deals to be had, but not without risk.