There are three approaches to getting homes that are sold in distress.
Banks own real estate that they have already foreclosed. Usually, they offer these REO properties through Realtors and you can find them through any Realtor with access to MLS. Because Realtors list them, they are often priced near fair market value, although they may have some negotiating room. Remember that foreclosed (REO) properties do not have a seller's disclosure, and so they may have defects or deferred maintenance that is not obvious from a walk-through.
Banks foreclose at the monthly auction held in Rockwall. You, as a member of the public, are allowed to bid at these open auctions. The bank who holds the mortgage note will also be bidding, but they want only what they are owed. So, if the fair market value is above the mortgage balance, you can get a sweet deal. The drawback is that these auctions are cash only. You must bring cashier's checks to cover your bid. You can't get a mortgage loan after bidding. Also, you should have already done your homework on the condition of the property, because you are buying it as-is. No take-backs.
Prior to foreclosure, some owners will list their property for sale with a Realtor to avoid foreclosure. They may be in a position to accept less than the mortgage balance, if the lender approves it. If the sale price leaves less than the mortgage balance, we call these short sales. If the seller has equity, it is just a pre-foreclosure sale, often below market value.
A Realtor can help you understand these approaches, advise you on any property, and assist you with the processes.