I agree with Christopher. I am a real estate attorney here in the Chicago area, and if you were my client, I would want to discuss this with you as soon as possible. There is some confusing information above though. If this is a short sale, which would mean that it was pre-foreclosure and the bank does not own it yet, you are going to need the Seller's cooperation to make the closing happen, and it sounds like you arent going to be able to get that, so I would move on to another home.
You then reference the negotiator at the bank, which might make me think this is actually an REO, which means that it is after the foreclosure proceedings and the bank owns the property. If that is the case, then you have a legitimate shot at getting this home.
It sounds like you have a short sale on your hands, and without the Seller's cooperation, you will not be able to close on this house. Hopefully they come back in town and you can move forward on this house.
It always troubles me when people out of state answer these questions for the Chicago area. Here in Illinois and in particular the Chicago area, attorneys are used in almost ever real estate transaction. So it is not troubling at all. What is really troubling to me is this cropping up of "facilitators" around the country to help out with short sales. There are a number of legal issues surrounding the decision by a Seller to engage in a short sale that have long lasting implications. A "facilitator" should not be giving this advice because as you should know as a realtor that would be the unauthorized practice of law. Here in Illinois generally an attorney's office handles the short sales negotiations. We too have the contacts at the mortgage lenders, it is just that we can fully advise our clients on the full legal implications of engaging in a short sale. Too often I have just seen these "facilitators" set up shop to make money off of desperate people. Are there good "facilitators" out there? To be sure, but I think it is in the minority and when you are talking about the largest asset in a person's life, I would want someone who can fully advise me on the full implications of the transaction - an attorney.
Have you spoken with your real estate agent about this? They and your attorney really are the people that you should be speaking to. If you're not comfortable talking to your real estate agent about this, then I'd suggest asking to speak with their managing broker about it. Good luck to you.
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty