Following that, you do need to realize the bank is striving to sell the home for near to market value, and they have three values given to them....an as is value, a quick sale value, and an as repaired value. Depending on the property, they will determine which value best represents the property value.
Realize this process takes time, and a lot of it! Be careful not to lock yourself in for 90 days or more, during which time you do not have the ability to search for other homes......
Tom Dorway RE/MAX Realty 100
Recognize that the seller's lender has to approve the offer. And the lender will have a figure in mind, based primarily on a BPO (broker's price opinion), kind of like a CMA (though often not as accurate). So, while you can make an offer for any amount, the lender (probably based thousands of miles away, with a questionable figure from a BPO) has a figure in mind, too. You can hope that the BPO is either reasonably accurate, or that it's lower than the property's actual value.
So, have a Realtor do a CMA. Then make an offer no greater than the CMA . . . and probably somewhat less. (How much less? Ask the Realtor for advice. It's possible the suggestion will be in the range of 5%-10% less.) Again, you can make the offer as low as you want. But if you want a reasonable chance of getting the property, consider following the advice above.
Hope that helps.
The seller will generally take any offer just to be able to make application for a short sale. After the seller has accepted the offer, then the back goes through the application and decides whether or not they will accept the offer. A short sale is rather a long sale.
If you need help, don't hesitate to contact me.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
In most short sale cases, the homeowner will accept any and all offers that come in, as they are not likely to see any of the sale proceeds. It is the bank that has the final approval for a short sale, and the more information and documentation the listing agent can provide the bank to support your offer the better chance you have.
The biggest thing to do is to make sure that your agent is experienced in short sales, and pray that the listing agent is short sale experienced as well!
Best of luck, let us know how it goes!!