Scott (the agent below) has provided the best answer here, in my opinion.
I agree with everything he's pointed out. It's not a process for the faint of heart and it's best to go, watch and LEARN, rather than experimenting on this home sans real world experience with the process.
In fact, if this home is set for auction, it's unlikely that it will sell at auction for much below fair market value, and you'll probably see it back on the market being listed by a real estate agent as an REO property. At that point, believe it or not, you're going to have quite a bit more luck picking the property up at a discount and you'll be represented by an agent, and be afforded numerous protections that you give up by purchasing the home via the auction process.
In my professional opinion, if you were my client I would advise you to steer clear of purchasing this home via auction. As a friend, I would say the same thing. It appears you really like this home or you'd not have posted your question, but in this situation, try your hardest to see where we're all coming from.
At the very least, if you MUST go to the court steps and participate in the auction, see if you can find someone who will join you, who's been involved in the auction process before. Or, vice versa make an appointment to speak with a real estate professional who has knowledge of the process prior to going to the auction. With that said, keep in mind few agents will, so make sure that whomever you speak with gives you enough information to move forward with so that you're entirely comfortable with the process.
It's not rocket science, and to be quite frank, it's not all that difficult, but we all want what's best for you and for all those we represent or advise here, (at least I do) so I'd recommend going to watch, and learn as your first course of action. Before you know it, you'll be a pro and maybe other properties will come along that will represent even better propositions!
Best regards and happy holidays!
Eric M. Abrams
Executive Sales, Leasing, and Investment
California Real Estate Broker
DRE License# 01862927
Highland Partners Prudential
342 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611
*Mr. Abrams was the selling agent for the most expensive residential property to close in the history of Oakland, California, breaking the previously held record by a wide margin. Having done so in a distressed real estate climate, makes this feat all the more impressive. Mr. Abrams has also set numerous other real estate records, and has personally represented the most expensive residential listing on the Island of Maui when he listed the private sale of a $120-million estate. As a technology leader in his field, Eric has been able to assist his clients with their real estate needs from thousands of miles away, in locations such as Kenya, East Africa, Bogota, Colombia, Kosovo, and Kazakhstan. While an expert in the field of high-end real estate, Eric maintains an active cliental of first-time home buyers and sellers and treats each one of his clients with professionalism and allots unlimited time to answer all of his clientâ€™s questions regardless of their position financially or whether or not theyâ€™re actively searching for a home. Mr. Abrams is an expert in finance, was a top-ranked professional road cyclist, and is known by his colleagues and clients to be one of the most approachable and patient real estate brokers in the business. Not to be limited to working in the Bay Area only, Eric routinely assists clients throughout the United States and this year alone has flown to New York, Arizona, Maui, Virginia, and throughout California to assist his clients with their real estate needs. Mr. Abrams can be contacted by phone, e-mail or visited in person at his office, where he is happy to discuss your real estate goals, speak about the market in general, or assist in you and your family in identifying and accomplishing your financial goals as they pertain to your investment in your home or multi-unit commercial building. Having participated in numerous TIC formations and large-scale new construction projects, there are few areas of real estate that Mr. Abrams is not intimately familiar with. Residing in the Bay Area with his wife Andrea and his Dog Berkeley, Mr. Abrams also enjoys running, cycling (although no longer competitively), motorcycling, aviation, hiking, backpacking, and camping. On a personal note: â€œIf I may be of assistance or offer you a second opinion, if youâ€™re already working with a realtor, please feel free to contact me at any time, and have a fantastic holiday season!â€