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I am starting out in Phoenix and interested in doing a rehab /flip.  This will be the first one i have not lived in myself. I have general questions about buying from the standard mls  listings vs auctions... any advice?

It depends on the type of auction. Many when the speak of auctions automatically think of foreclosures. however in many if not most areas there are lots of properties that sell by public auction and you are free to inspect before the auction. 

I sell most of my properties via public auction. Many investor to investor properties trade via auctions.

Now which way should you buy? Wherever you get the best deal.

If you are buying a foreclosure auction there is no inspection period.   You have to get enough of a discount to deal with any surprises.  The auctions may allow for some inspection.

does anybody knows about the title search, open permits, liens on the property?

If a win a bid how can I look up these things, and not find a disaster once i have the title.