Hello Debbie and thanks for your inquiry.
There are many excellent real estate professionals here on Trulia available to assist you. As Robert noted below, the first step would be to contact a mortgage broker to get preapproval. This is especially important if you're interested in purchasing a property categorized as an REO or short sale. Most will not entertain an offer without seeing a preapproval letter from the lender (not the mortgage broker).
Second, interview a few Realtors. Ask your friends for references, and see who would work best for you. Several of the agents below have offered their services to you, and you can determine the quality of each agent by looking at some of the questions they've answered here on Trulia to see if their answers exhibit the intelligence and market knowledge you'll need in a short sale or REO. Then give them a call.
Finally, if you're willing to do the market research by yourself, attend open houses, and find your dream home by yourself, you can use a licensed Realtor to "facilitate" the purchase for you. In this capacity, the Realtor serves as the navigator for the sale once you have selected the home of your dreams and works with you to apply the unused commission typically paid to the buyer's agent to lower the price of your home or to be rebated to you. I've blogged about this type of service here on Trulia and have answered many questions about facilitation.
Good luck and happy house hunting.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA