The credit score and down payment are the same as any other home and a mortgage lender can help you with that. I would be glad to speak with you further about buying a short sale in Clayton. You would benefit from a buyer's agent and there is no charge to you.
You need to understand that unless a short sale is clearly indicated as being pre-approved by the Lender (Seller's Lender) then the price being asked is simply a made up number that means almost nothing. That at best there's a 50-50 chance that the sale will ever be approved by the Lender (most sellers don't qualify). In the meantime months will go by, many good homes will get sold, and you will not be in a position to make any plans.
You need to be qualified to buy any home, regardless if it's a short sale or not. Your credit score needs to be good enough for a mortgage and this requirement doesn't change in a short sale and yes you will need a down payment.
Based on your questions you need to either sit down with a good local lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage or meet with a local Broker and have a preliminary buyers meeting where they can explain the home buying process to you and after finding out a little more about you refer you to a couple of local lenders that they believe would be a good fit for you. (Not all lenders are a good fit for a ll buyers)
I don't work in your area but have attached a link below to give you a good idea of what you should be looking for in a Realtor. Good luck.
Short sales are NOT typically a short process for any party involved. They just mean that the owner is short on funds that they owe to the bank and the bank is saying, "sure, I'll let you not pay me all the money you owe me." In some cases, it just means the house isn't worth what the owners owe and they are not financing behind in payments. This purchase could be great as you should have equity built up in the property since you aren't paying full price or what it's valued at. A major concern for first time buyers is the down payment money. On 90% of short sales, the bank will not pay for closing costs that could help off-set the down payment. Towne Mortgage of the Carolinas just started a program for buyers that purchase a short sale through their lenders. They will give at least $1,500+ in assistance. The credit score and down payment amounts won't change just because you're purchasing a short sale. USDA loans are 100% financing and no down payment, same with a VA loan. There are charges lumped onto the loans but do not come out of your pocket. FHA is 3.5% down, unless you buy a foreclosure, you could put $100 down. Conventional loans could be 100% financing, 95% financing, or other amounts. I've had some short sales sale in as little as 4 months. The one I'm working on now has taken 7 so far. Most lenders will start at a 620 for loans but I have one that can get you started at 580, with appropriate debt to income levels.
I'll be glad to assist in any other way so please call, email, or text for further assitance. Good luck in the house search, Jenni with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston 919-628-9936 or email@example.com