First of all, you need to make sure that the Realtor you are working with understands the entire foreclosure process including pre-forclosure (Short-sales), foreclosure (Sheriff Sale), Bank Owned (REO), and Auctions. Your best bet is to find someone you are comfortable with, then sign a buyer's agency agreement. Will it require you to pay your agent if the seller doesn't? Yes, it will, but if you want really good information you aren't going to get it for free. At least doing it this way, you don't have to pay unless you actually buy something. I typically save my buyers more money in the transaction and rehab of the house than they pay me in commissions. Anyone who is good at what he or she does isn't going to work for free.
I'd also suggest checking out the local real estate investor group ACRE http://www.acrepgh.org
which provides advice and guidance for about $100 a year.
Be VERY careful with the auctions. When you buy at at Sheriff Sale auction you buy all the liens on the property as well. When you see that someone bought a house for $15,000, what you don't see is that the house has a $250,000 lien on it that must now be paid. Some of the "bank owned auctions" are actually the properties that wouldn't sell on the multi-list because they aren't worth what the bank is asking. I've been to at least one auction at the convention center where the auction company had employees in the audience bidding up properties -- a practice that is illegal in Pennsylvania. This isn't to say there aren't legitimate auction companies out there, you just need to be careful.
Get a professional to help you though the process. I would look for a Realtor that is also and investor and is more likely to understand the process.
There are a lot of good deals out there, but there are even more bad ones. Best of luck and let me know if I can help you.