I'm not sure on all this (my husband is in charge) but it seems that these court house auction houses are different from HUD in that they were not government insured loans and that they were bank insured (or something like that). Anyway, we haven't been watching the auctions for long, but I know for the last one, on average, the houses went for 75% of what was owed on each house.
In this instance, we know 59K is owed. We also know that they have two independent appraisers do a drive by appraisal, and they start bidding at 2/3 of this price. This house appraised at 81 and so bidding should start at 54.
We are also looking at HUD houses and just recenly found a realtor who can help us in this area. The problem with HUD houses it seems is that many investors have an inside on the matter. We can find a house we like and within 2-3 days of being on market, someone has made an offer.
Then the house will be on the market again in about 2 months for 20K more than it was bought at.
We are just trying to get our foot in the door. We would like to live in this house, but also are just trying to learn the ropes.