When a home enters the foreclosure process, some times you can buy from the owner before the foreclosure IF they owe less than it is worth and the owner wants to see. When the foreclosure auction happens, you can bid on it, but it is cash, no contingencies and you may owe any liens. Once the bank takes the home back if there are no bidders most often at 80% of what is owed, the bank most often assigns to an asset management company to sell. They in turn list with a local broker where you can than make an offer. Banks do not sell their own REO homes.