Normally when buying a foreclosed property prior to sheriff sale the buyer will not have access to the home. Because most of the homes in foreclosure now owe more than the house is worth most homes are being bought back by the bank. These homes will eventually be re-listed and as an agent I can show the properties to you at that point. I will be hosting a class next month called Winning With Foreclosures. Please call me with any questions and let me know if you'd like to attend: 609-484-9890 ext. 132.
There are 2 types of auctions. The public auction and like an REDC auction.
If it is a public auction and there is an MLS listing there should be a listing agent. If you look at the county's website it might say who is the title current holder and you could also call that holder - that's if the records are updated.
If it is a REDC type auction (other companies besides REDC) then you can call the auctioning company and let them know you have interest and would like to see the property. They should be able to make arrangements --
Ellen all you have to do if the property is occupied is go knock on the front door. When someone answers let them know that the property is going to sheriff auction and would they be so kind as to let you view the property. While you are there ask them why they didn't pay their mortgage and why they shirked their duty to live up to their legal obligations. You may even want to offer to help them move to a park so they can set up tents to keep out of the rain.
No you can view a property scheduled for sheriff sale unless it is being offer for sale by a broker at the same time. In my area people have called the police and one person that I know of was charged with being a peeping tom for looking in the windows of an occupied home.
Only if it is listed for sale, or if permission is granted directly from the seller. Other wise, no. Remember that until it is foreclosed(in NJ even up to 10 days after it is foreclosed) it is still owned by the seller, and is private property.