Three big diff's;
You probably will not be competing with multiple offers
You will be waiting a long, long time for acceptance
You will be helping an unfortunate family.
Please contact a Realtor to help you; the Banks insist on it.
Short sales can be accomplished, but they are not without a lot of unanswered questions along the way. The other type of distressed property is bank owned or foreclosure. At least, in that situation, you have a seller that is in place (the bank) without all the possible unknowns that come about during a short sale. Call me any time if I can be of service to you. 262-853-7397