I strongly agree with Gene, don't mess with foreclosures if you haven't a clue what your doing, especially to the Realtors. It is not a good idea to represent you know about them when you have no experience.
First they are a pain in the neck and a lot more work than a normal transaction, if you buy directly from the seller or auction you risk taking on any debt the seller accumilated so title search and insurance if possible is mandatory!!!!
Short Sales pose the least amount of risk but are not foreclosures, they are more along the lines of
Need more information about the property before I can answer that question:
Is it currently listed with a real estate agency?
Are you dealing direct with bank or home owner?
How do you know the property is a foreclosure?
Finding the current status: Take the shoe-leather express directly to Visit your local county court house! RealtyTrac and other so called up to date foreclosure sites are lead generating tools for companies that sell leads to real estate agents and are usually not up to date with the latest data.