You may get a short sale house at a reduced price, but most likely it will have it's fair share of problems - think 'fixer-upper'. Try to find a couple buddies that are skilled in different trades (electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.) give it the once over before you submit an offer - and make it Contingent on a home inspection.
In addition to making sure the home itself is sound, be certain to retain an attorney who is well versed in short sales who can protect you and does many short sales. They are not for the faint of heart and yes, they do tend to drag on for months, but a good deal can be had - the next step is foreclosure, which costs the banks much more.
Make sure your realtor is keeping track of the status and in the meantime, keep looking for other properties as your may not be the only offer the bank is considering.
As a buyer you will want to protect your interests. Here are a couple of my suggestions to you not knowing the specifics of the deal:
* you will want your agent to write a time deadline in the offer that you need to hear back from the bank. Banks can be very slow to respond (it varies by transaction). This will ensure you are not waiting indefinitely on an offer that may not materialize and missing other opportunities that may come up.
* Expect a counter. The bank will try to sell the property for as much as they can.
* Make sure you write the offer in a way that you do not incur any costs until the bank has approved the offer. ie, do not do a home inspection or any other activity that will cause you to spend money before the bank says yea or nea.
* The person representing the seller with the bank (could be agent or attorney) will play the most important role in getting the deal negotiated. While the bank does want to sell the property, and selling it at a loss is their best answer, they too have to answer to someone that backed the sellers loan and NO ONE likes loosing money.
Feel free to contact me privately if you need more help.
Make sure your offer is the only one the listing agent has submitted to the lender(s). If the listing agent is one who routinely forwards all offers to their client's lender(s), you've got a problem. Once you verify that yours is the only offer that has been submitted, have your agent periodically check in with the listing agent for updates. Make sure the file is moving through the system, i.e., assignment of a negotiator to the file, bpo ordered, etc.
You can never be 100% assured that it will work out but these are just a few things to be mindful of.
Best of Luck!
You need a Agent that knows where the deal stand at all times and works well with the Attorney to make sure this go as smooth as possible.
Any Questions you may still have please contact me directly
Have a Great Day!