I know that is not what you want to hear. While it may not make sense for a specific borrower to attempt a loan modification, many folks who are facing hard times hold out hope for things that may or may not occur (and may or may not be in their best interest). I know it is hard to hear, but you may want to begin looking at other properties!
I have come across this situation so many times. Sometimes the seller list the home to shortsale and at the same time attempt to get a loan modification done. Sometime they list the home with real intention to modify the loan(they do not even let anyone preview). That is another reason why shortsales are such a waste of time for everyone(mostly).
The data shows that 60% of people who modify end up lossing their home because the deal they get is not that great. So try to have a positive attitude. If they end up modifing their loan and are successful at it you have no alternative but to look at other homes.
In fact I always say if you put an offer on a shortsale home move on and assume you will not get it. If the lender in writing accept your offer and you open escrow than you can celebrate. On the other hand you may want to celebrate after you close escrow.
There are other fish in the sea.