courthouse question

please answer this question, i need some real help here, dont pass me up por favor.

i went to the joco courthouse today. and it seems like i looked through 150 to 200 foreclosure notices in the public records and almost all of them were no more than 5 years old. it seems to me like the big fad was buy a house, find a tenant, and let them make you rich. cuz almost every foreclosure had a john doe jane doe tenant involved.

but who cares about that. my problem is i know that if someone didnt file the note at least 15 years back or get really lucky at the craps table their not going to pay enough of their house off to get the equity i need to make a deal work for everyone if all i can do is flip it for a finders fee.

i didnt find one house that had a mortgage more than 12 years old, and they only had 15grand paid off on the house, damn equity loans.

anyway, my question is what do i look for when i go to a courthouse. can those mortgages that only have 5 to 10,000 paid off still work for me since the bank is going to lose money if it goes to auction?

what do i do?