As already mentioned, ensuring that you can afford a property is always step one. Whether you're looking to pay cash or obtain financing, the bank is looking that you are financially able to go through with the purchase.
Once you've found a property you're interested in, you'll either make your offer using a complete contract but most likely, by submitting in a one page "Offer to Purchase". The Offer to Purchase is stating the purchase price, your down payment initially and the remaining down payment to be paid typically at signing of the complete contract (or if arranged on or before closing). Also you'll be stating your anticipated closing date, your acknowledgment as the buyer, to be responsible for all town inspections and lender required repairs, as well as whether or not your offer is subject to a home inspection.
The bank's look more favorably to cash deals with no inspections and closings within 30 days from my experience, however, cash offers tend to be lower, so if a buyer who's pre-approved with a significant down payment comes along - their offer is considered favorable too.
Team up with a real estate professional experienced with foreclosures - it'll run a lot smoother when working with the listing agent and the bank when your agent knows what to expect and to do. Any other foreclosure questions feel free to ask!
ERA Statewide Realty