1) Get a preapproval letter. Fannie mae does not require it with the offer but will ask for it imediately upon acceptance of the offer. Chase, Citi Bank and Bank of America will require a preapproval from a specific lender with your offer. If you are paying by cash you will need a proof of funds letter.
2) Have 1% of the purchase price as an earnest money deposit. $1,000 is the minimum.
3) Have your downpayment readily availalble. The amount will be determined by your loan type.
4) Select the area for your new home.
5) BE READY TO ACT QUICKLY. In one day a good quality foreclosure can be under contract.
6) Contact a Realtor experienced in foreclosures. Many people claim to be "foreclosure experts" however, the true experts have either A-Reo or RDCPro Ceertifacation or are members of the industry trade group, National Reo Broker's Association (NRBA). These affiliations require extensive bank owned property education. The true experts have atleast one of these affiliations.
7) Being a foreclosure you can expect a good deal. The banks normally price the properties to sell within 90 days. They are normally priced well below the appraisal value. Unrealistically low offers may result in your Realtor not being able to have your offer considered.