It depends on the circumstances. Pre-foreclosure usually means that the bank has started foreclosure proceedings (foreclosure happens in different ways in different states), but has not actually foreclosed on the property yet. This can be valuable information, as depending on what the circumstances are (i.e. is the owner upside-down, is this a short sale ), there may be intelligent ways to play the purchase. For example, a house can be preforeclosure if the owner has stopped making payments due to some personal factor, but is still has equity in the home. Talk to a good agent, they should be able to help you out. Good luck !