The owners themselves are confused, they might not know what the status is on their property. If it is a short sale , the rules are even trickier. You can have a property scheduled for sale and you know when and where the trustee sale is going to be and at the last minute, the sale is canceled. So you have gone all the way to xxx and for nothing, because a few hours before the trustee sale, something happened. And nobody will tell you, because a trustee sale is public.
And then there is the opposite of global warming, I call it the global freeze; the institutions decide that foreclosures are to be avoided and a lot of them are going to be suspended. You can call it freeze or limbo, it is all designed to keep you alert and in suspense...
Muriel Levin, Realtor, Coldwell Banker HP-N, Certified REO, Short Pay and Short Sale Specialist
Agence Immobiliere a Los Angeles, Californie, Specialiste de Reprise de Banques
So the property has definitely gone through foreclosure at sheriff's auction for sure? If so, call the county sheriff's office and find out if the bank got it on default (it might have been bought by someone else). They might let you know over the phone (or not). But in person you will get access to it as it's public info.
It can be that it might not have gone when it was originally scheduled - this happens all the time. Once you know which bank owns it - go to that bank's web site - search for REO. Then call them up and go for it!
Most of the properties that have been foreclosed are available on the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). You typically cannot go directly to the lender. A local Realtor can help you with the information you need. I'd be happy to help if you need a Realtor.