Best way to buy foreclosed home

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DEAR BENNY:I am looking at some property that has gone into foreclosure and will be auctioned at the courthouse in a few weeks. Is it better to try and bid on the property at the auction, something I have never done, or try to contact the attorneys handling the case and make an offer before the auction? Is there a percentage a person should bid at auction or offer the bank? There is about $580,000 owed on the mortgage, but the house has been empty now for a couple of years and is not in very good shape now. The humidity here in Florida has caused mold to grow everywhere. --Cheryl DEAR CHERYL: Why do you want to buy a house that is not in good shape and has lots of mold? Do you really think you will be able to get a great bargain at the foreclosure sale? I always ask myself one question: If this is such a good deal, why am I going to get it? At these foreclosure sales, there are experts (some people call them "sharks") and there are laypersons. If you really want to pursue ...