Keep in mind that there are different criteria, depending on the type of loan, that the bank will accept. If you stay within 80 percent of the "current fair market value", you have a good chance of getting accepted.
Yeah, that is not given out to the public but you can assume by the definition of a short sale its more than the list price.
Your agent will be able to advise you on a fair offer for the property. If your offer is too low it will not get accepted. The banks objective is to sell the property at fair market value, your is to get a good deal. There your negotiation begins.
The Bank sure doesn't want you to know.
I wouldn't have the guts to ask the owner.
Would you want to disclose this to a stranger?
Your Buyer's Agent can give you a lot a guidelines and advice based on Comp's and their experience.
My suggestion would be to trust them.