Depending upon the size of the lender or servicing company managing the property, this may be possible or it may be very difficult. Begin by finding out which lender/servicer/etc. owns the property. Many counties have online records that will allow you to search by address.
If the lender is local, contact them directly and ask who might be able to offer you information about an “ REO” (real estate owned) property. Chances are, though, if it is not yet listed, the due diligence and prep work may not be completed on the property. The lender cannot sell it until they know what they have. They will appraise, research title, prepare, wait out any redemption periods, etc. Discuss local customs and legalities with a local broker or attorney for insights, here.
If you know which attorney’s office or auction house handled the foreclosure, you may be able to contact them. This information may be available in local media archives – most foreclosures are advertised for several weeks before the actual transfer/sale. They may or may not know anything more than you do, though.
If the lender is national, you MAY be able to get a hold of their REO department by searching for the contact online (it wont be intentionally publicly listed), but my guess is that they will not have much information. They are working through a large pipeline of distressed property, and there is often a backlog of work to be completed. Depending upon the lender, they may wait anything from a few weeks to more than a year or more to list the property for sale … and until a broker is involved, they may never actually SEE the property … thus they may not have any more information for you. I have not heard of any national REO service or lender offering anyone the opportunity to buy an individual home before listing it, though I suppose it could happen. Generally, if it is not listed for sale, it isn’t ready to be sold or is earmarked for a bulk sale to another investor along with other properties. The national lenders rely on the local brokers for these individual sales, and without the input of a local broker, they are not equipped to negotiate the transaction in any way.
By watching the local and national real estate sale sites, though, you should be alerted as soon as it hits the market. Fannie Mae owned properties will also pop up on homepath.com, and freddiemac properties on homesteps.com, and HUD owned homes here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/reo/reohome Best of luck!