When buying a foreclosure property at public auction the bank will put in the first bid, that is what they need to break even and get their money back that they lost. If they loaned the previous owners $100k and the owners paid $40k they will bid $60k, as soon as another bidder bids the bank bidder leaves. Then the reps for the investor groups bid if it's a choice property, they have more money than you but they usually stop at a ridiculously lowball number. Then the land contract people bid a little more, then it's you vs the neighbors. Normally that's the way it works, the bank gets their money back and then that's it for them and it's up to the bidders. Miserable days are better than nice days, heavily advertised sales are bad, houses that look cleaned up are especially bad. You want a dilapidated looking house with broken pipes, ripped out electrical wires, missing furnace, and garbage in the yard. If nobody bids then you can buy it from the bank which will involve a lot more profit for them because now they own it. Liens can be a tricky nightmare or can be incredibly simple, you will need a smart real estate lawyer for that. I moved my kids when they were in 1st grade, it takes a while to readjust but they do.