There are three basic stages to the foreclosure process:
1st - you have Pre-Foreclosure - this is when the home owner becomes 3 months behind on their mortgage - if you are looking to buy a house this is the best time in my opinion to make an offer. I send out Direct Mail letting home owers know I can help them find a solution.
2nd - you have Foreclosure - this is when the house has an Auction date set. If you are trying to find out if the subject property you are looking at is at this stage - I would look in the newspaper, Knock on the home owners door and offer to buy the house, or send the home owner a letter offering to buy the house.
3rd - Last you have REO - this is when the Bank takes the property back on their books - these properties are refferred to as Bank Owned or Real Estate Owned. You can have a real estate agent help you with these properties. The are found on the MLS.
I am a Housing Consultant and Real Estate Investor - I buy houses - 401-952-5772 if you are facing foreclosure I can help. If you send me an email I have an eBook on Foreclosure I will send you. email@example.com