Yes, short sales can be very stressful and frustrating. However, they potentially offer best values to clients. One way to benefit from them and is to look for so called "approved" short sales (ask your agent to check it on Comments on MLS). These are sales that were approved, but by the time approvals were obtained, buyers gave up. So, you have listing Agents with approved short sales but without buyers. Not all "is gravy" however, as the approved price might too high for new market conditions (in many places prices keep decreasing). So, if you offer below the approved price, your offer will have to be "re-approved". This can be painful because of the time involved, but definitely less painful and much quicker than waiting for the "original" lender(s) approval. Also, look at the # of lenders involved. If there is only one lender things are fairly straight forward, but with two lenders things can get messy. Next thing to look for is to find out how experience with short sales is the Listing Agent or if he is using short sale facilitators. Facilitators are often (not always) better than agents doing them as the name of the game is "experience". Hope it helps. Check also this website http://ShortSaleDosDonts.com It explains what short sale facilitators do.
Do some homework and find out WHY they choose not to work with them...it's quite possible that you might make the same decision as a buyer...
Take a look at the link below for some information regarding short sales and how they work from a buyer's perspective...
If you are encountering an agent that does not want to handle something there is a reason. Say an agent says I would prefer not to handle Commercial. wouldn't the commercial seller love the residential agent that said that because the agent knew little about commercial. If the agent does not want to handle short sales they know little about them.
Do you have any Real Estate offices that have mortgage offices in the same office. If so you may find someone that handles short sales. Try the larger firms and just call and ask them if they have an agent.
I will be happy to check and see if any Century 21, Remax or Era offices near you have a short sale agent and refer them to you but I will need to get with you for permission.
Also keep in mind; while you may find an agent with short sale experience, if you run across a listing agent whom doesn't know what they are doing - it can make the transaction painful or impossible.
While I do not work on short sales; I know a colleague who does and I will be happy to pass along her name if you would like. Contact me at Jim@JimDowning.com
Best of luck.