There are different types of foreclosures. As a first time home buyer, I would avoid those on the Court House steps. The REO's, real estate owned buy the bank would be your better route. These are most often listed with real estate companies and, contrary to popular belief, can be negotiated. The up side of dealing with a bank is that there is no emotion involved. If the numbers work, you have a deal. The downside is that what you see, or don't see, is what you get. You must do your due diligence. Get an inspection regardless of the age or apparent condition of the house. Know what comparable sales in the area are. The foreclosure may not be a bargain if there was a large mortgage on the property. Find out, ususally from the county clerk, what the amount of foreclosure is. Be prepared to do work, both physically and mentally. These house are usually in poor condition having been trashed by the angry previous owner and may not even qualify for a mortgage. You would do yourself a great service in finding a buyer's agent to help you through the process.