You can also go to the local city/county records, give the address(es) of the property(ies) you are interested in and see the latest records on who owns the property, if there is a trustee sale and when/where it is scheduled, if it was sold at an auction and who bought it for how much and when.
You can also ask your realtor to check with the title company for the status of the property(ies) you're interested in.
BUT....lender/lien holders often list the properties with realtors because banks are not inclined to handle such sales directly. They have specific requirements that they want followed to the letter.
So just keep your eye on the property, or have your realtor set it up so that you are automatically notified via email as soon as a property meeting your criteria and in your price range becomes available.