I believe that a buyer looking for a home to live in, and an investor are 2 extremely different types of real estate clients. First, find a good real estate agent, who knows about foreclosure sales. I have had a number of successful sales with "regular" buyers, so it definitely can be done. I would suggest:
1. Get prequalified with a reputable mortgage company and let them know you are thinking of a foreclosure purchase.
2. Be aware that foreclosures are "as-is" sales. There are mortgage programs through FHA to do repairs and roll them into your price. Ask your mortgage person and real estate agent about this. If they don't know, find someone who does.
3. Be prepared with your earnest money and the bank's pre-approval letter.
4. If the house is new on the market, be prepared to make your best offer quickly.
5. Foreclosure properties require much more paperwork than normal sales; make sure your agent advises you as to what you are committing to. (penalties, etc.)
6. Remember foreclosures are AS-IS. If you don't want to deal with flaws in the property or if you expect the seller to fix things (there are a few exceptions here) you might want to consider a normal sale.