There is little there to hang your hat on; they just saved one step in their process; it is nice to have done, but not all that monumental.
No - this is not a pre-approved short-sale. In fact, 95+% of the time, they are not. Very rarely does the bank approve a short-sale in advance as their approvals are solely based on the review of an actual offer being presented. Typically, the only time you'd see a "pre-approved" short-sale is when a sale falls apart after the bank has already determined their bottom line. That being said, they are not bound to accept the same offer price as the "terms of a sale" weigh heavily in their decision making process.
Jill, there are many different scenarios which could easily affect the specific advice an agent gives you. Naturally, the answers given to you will often create more questions. For this reason, I think you would benefit the MOST by contacting a Realtor and speaking with them directly. This will ensure a clear understanding of each scenario and provide you with the peace of mind needed to move forward.
If you'd like to speak with me directly, feel free to call me on my cell phone @ 781-710-4251.
Scott Gordon, GRI, CRP, CBR, SRES, LMC
President | CEO
Realty Edge, LLC.