Short sales have been known to stretch out 4-5 months and beyond.................. This is one of the reasons why both buyers and agents have steered a wide circle around these transactions.
The best "short sale" transactions are those that have a valid pre-approved bank selling price. Banks in these sinerios have typically already worked through the debt and legal issues associated with the property and have a good idea of what the numbers need to be. These transactions can be shortened greatly.
So you can see by my ver simplified explanation that there is no magic number or time period....the are all different.
If you are the purchaser of a short sale try to find out if the one you have the offer on has already been served with the notice of default.
As far as the bank responding to your offer, it depends on the bank. Most of them are very understaffed. Remember that banks were never meant to be owners of real estate, so they are un prepared for this huge inventory that they now have to unload. Banks primary role in real estate was to furnish loans that borrowers could pay back.. Then there is the legal aspect, they all have legal departmets that have to look at each offer and this takes time. It also takes time if there is more than one trust deed holder.
If it is a home that you are really hoping to buy, you may want to hang in there and wait...they will get their act together and sell it eventually. Try to have your agent investigate if the N.O.D. has been filed and how many banks or trust deed holders there are. Good Luck!
A short sale has a lot of factors associated with it and can vary from 1 week acceptance to several months to no acceptance at all. The key is to make sure the homeowner "really" has a financial hardship and qualifies to sell their home as a short sale. The lender is looking for a "true" reason to agree to such a loss. It is very common to wait 90 to 120 days for an answer on a short sale. I do know of a few short sales that have been negotiated quickly, but the majority of them seem to take months.