Once you get the deed from county and you own the house, what is the legal process of contacting and dealing with the person already living in the house (ex-owner)? What are your options and how long does it take to get it vacated through the legal process?
This can be tricky. After buying a property, I knock on the front door in the middle of the day with a friend. In most cases, no one is home. I often leave a note on the front door with only my phone number. If anyone is living there or keeping an eye on the place, they will get that note and call. They won't be able to resist the curiosity.
Once I have made contact, I politely explain who I am and how I bought the property. I find that starting a respectful conversation makes for a good start. Often you will find renters there or a vacant home. Sometimes you will find the owner who was foreclosed on. If they're reasonable, they will work out a solution where you can take over possession of the home or something else that works for all the parties involved.
Sometimes you will have to evict someone who won't let you into the house. If they are living there the building may legally belong to you but it's still their home. They have in essence become a squatter. That means you can't enter it without their permission, and if you do it can become trespassing, burglary or even home invasion.
If the current occupant won't let you in or give over possession, then you will have to go through the eviction process. That can take several months. It's a few months longer for foreclosures because of new stipulations in the law because of the housing crisis. For example, I have bought places in October and not gotten possession of them until the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I have also bought places that were vacant and could change the locks as soon as I got the deed. In one case I was able to work out a deal with the previous owner and got possession a week or two after buying it.
Hope this helps.