Contact your Realtor for recommendations for professional licensed and insured inspectors in the area where the home is located, though, so that you can get quotes and be ready to go if you get the call that the bank has accepted your offer.
Of course, you will complete your financing application process also and so forth toward a successful closing.
In the meantime, you may want to continue looking at homes. If you find a home you like better, you could withdraw your original offer, or at least have other good replacements in mind should yours not be the successful offer. Good luck to you.
Anthony Marciano, Broker
Every bank is different. The listing agent and sellers are dealing with the bank's loss and mitigation department. They are swamped. When I show short sale properties, I tell my buyers to put in offers on everything they like. Sometimes you hear right away that an offer will be accepted, but most of the time you wait. If another offer has better terms (more cash down), the bank may chose that over yours. When a bank does chose an offer, they want to close within 30 days. They will not drop that offer once they have started for a higher offer like a seller might do.
If you have the home inspected now, you will be paying $400 - $500 for an inspection on a home that you may not get. It would be more prudent to wait until the bank has accepted your offer.
As the others said, short sales take time. I would not do an inspection until you have an accepted offer. Once you have the accepted offer, schedule the inspection asap. You will then be able to determine if the house needs too much work to move forward on. If it does, you can withdraw your offer. DO NOT sign a contract to purchase until you have done your inspection. A purchase offer is non binding a contract is binding.
FYI, I have had banks choose not accept the short sale and move for foreclosure instead.
Typically, during the sale process homes are inspected after there is a signed contract in place. Short sales can take a long time 4-6 months are not unusual. Our recommendation is to make sure your agent checks with the bank on a regular basis(2-3 times weekly) tracking your contract.