You should do the following.
• Identify what you want in an ideal property as far as location and features.
• Pick out your area of focus, preforeclosure, auction, or postforeclosure.
• If you plan to rent out a property, target a rental range that your property should command from the marketplace.
• If you are a flipper, pick a price range for the sales price after the flip and a budget range for rehab and repair expenses.
• If you are a homeowner, pick a price range with monthly payments you can comfortably afford. Beware of mansions at bargain foreclosure prices. Your mortgage payment may be affordable, but the ongoing maintenance, repairs, taxes, and insurance could bankrupt you.
• Set a budget for your purchase price. This is next to last on the list because you will normally have to do a good bit of research and possibly even negotiating before arriving at your purchase price. Reject properties that are unacceptable for other reasons before you get down to examining possible purchase prices.
• Set a budget for how much time you will spend on this project. By this I mean how many hours each and every weekday and how many hours on the weekend. If you rely on your spare time to research properties, the information will just pile up on you. You will become discouraged, and nothing will happen. You will never buy a thing.