When you say, going into foreclosure is different than being foreclosed. In California The process will take a minimum of more than 3 months. The bank sends our a notice of default and that begins the process. Often they prolong the process to 6 months of more. I do not know of any bank selling the home in the Bay Area before completion of the full foreclosure process. That means it is sold on the court house steps.. You can go there to bid, but you must pay all cash. Assuming the home is not sold at that time and that is very common in today's, market. The bank will put the home on the market generally within two months. You can also hire an agent to approach the owner or their agent and make an offer. If there is equity the owner can make the decision. If there is no equity, the bank will have to approve the sale. If you are thinking of buying this below the market value think again. The banks know the value and don't sell below what they perceive as the value. If anything for the few bank owned properties on the market, I see they are asking above the list price.