Buying a house in foreclosure is risky business. Buy a REO instead. An REO is a bank-owned post foreclosure house.
Pre -You can obtain a title search as of the date you search, but it costs you $85 in Oregon. Plus if something happens between the date you search and the date you buy, you are out of luck. You have to make sure that there aren't more liens on the property than it is worth. There are no property disclosure requirements so there could many hidden defects - such as property lines disputes.
Post-you will receive a standard owners policy and all liens paid off.
Pre-You can find some foreclosures and information the sale date by searching usa-foreclosures.com., the local paper, or a title company. The dates can be postponed though on the court house steps.
Post- You have a say on closing date
Pre- Sometimes the usa-foreclosures.com site will even post the minimum bid amount. Sometimes, the opening bid is not really a "good deal". Just because it is a foreclosure does not mean it is really cheap. I recently saw the opening bid amount that was the same price as the standard homes on the market. Plus you have to pay cash that day for a foreclosure.
Post-The bank is now pretty realistic and the property is priced sell.
Pre- Since you won't be able to have an inspection before you buy, you could buy yourself a big headache.
Post- You can have an inspection and decide if you want to buy.
Bottom line- Most times it is better to buy an REO