The previous answers were fairly thorough regarding the procedure. The listing agent must present your offer to the seller immediately, but the agent then takes instruction from the seller regarding what to do next. So, in theory, if instructed by the seller, the agent is well within their rights to solicit additional offers from other buyers. In an effort to create a sense of urgency, your agent could offer to withdraw your offer if they don't submit it to the bank in your desired time fram.
Short sales are not typical transactions, so be patient and understand that while deals can be had, they come with a bit of frustration as well. Also, don't forget that you will be responsible in most cases, for the POS violations. Good luck.
Amy and Dan Schuman, Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland
Sometimes a selling strategy is used in today's market, especially on the really great bargains, that promotes a deadline for all buyers to submit their best offer. The deadline is then publicized in the listing and all offers received by that date are submitted in one batch to the seller and/or short sale lender for review.
Remember that the listing agent was hired by the seller to help him. It sounds like you need an experienced agent representing your interests on the buying side.
"Time is of the essence" when dealing with offers and earnest money checks.... Kirsten
Robin is right. The seller's agent wants to make sure she gets an offer the bank will accept, and one that will make it to the closing table.
Short sales are tricky, no matter which side you are on. Be prepared for a lot of waiting and uncertainty if you decide to pursue a short sale home.
Amanda, have you found a lender yet who is willing to do such a small mortgage, or are you planning to pay cash?