As a former 30 year mortgage company owner, I recommend Metro Mortgage Consultings Bill Kimmer. Contact me if you want his information---I dont want his email or phone here to be spammed. I will not try to solicit your business, as I dont take personal interests in mind when making a recommendation.
There is a fee for this type of help but its worth its WELL worth it.
All types of buyers can offer on short sales. Your lender looks at your credit and down payment to give you a loan. The seller's lender will look at the price and terms on your offer. Short selling owners quite often do not have the means to do repairs. If You are an FHA or conventional buyer, your lender will require the home be in finance-able condition. If you are a cash buyer you have a better chance at homes in dissrepair.
I do have a list of great mortgage brokers on my website.
Where do you look for properties? You can email me through my site, and look at everything listed, including short sales and foreclosures.
As mentioned, lenders don't care if its a short sale or not. In fact they will preapprove you before you make an offer, but they won't be involved again until you have an offer approval letter from the seller and any 3rd parties that are behind the scenes on the seller side that must approve it as well. So by the time the lender gets involved, it's no different than any other approved offer.
You just need to be approved before you do anything, and I wouldn't limit yourself to short sales. With a good Realtor (I'm sure any of us would be happy to help!) you can look at bank-owned properties, short sales, and homes being sold by an owner, ie everything that's for sale, and then decide what property best meets your investment goals.
When you do offer on short sales, you truly need to understand that a million things can happen before approval is in your hand, it can take several months or more of limbo while the approval process on the seller side is happening, and they are more "iffy" than the other 2 options. That needs to be considered in the evaluation of the pros and cons of each property.
I think one of many attractive options for investors is a Fannie Mae owned property. Contact me directly and I'd be happy to tell you some of the advantages for investors buying a Fannie Mae home. I'm also certified by the National Association of Realtors as a Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource, with increased training and knowledge of short sales and bank-owned homes, and happy to share my multiple experiences in these different types of transactions.
Best to you,