I agree! There is a dizzying amount of misinformation. Most "investors" work with a realtor who specifically searches foreclosed properties for them. And, it is a big investment of time for the realtor, with no "paycheck" until the property is closed. So, the realtor wants to establish that you have the $$$ to buy, and the perserverance to get through the transaction.
Try this, to get started: Go to HMBIWEB, and search through the FHA foreclosures. I am experienced in submitting HUD bids, it's actually pretty interesting, takes a bit of strategy.
Actually calling lenders is a very good idea! They will give you some pretty good references, as they will know the realtors who CLOSE REO transactions! Any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org