First every short sale is different from the next, some take longer, some shorter, some never happen.
The typical process when purchasing is to comp the neighborhood for past sales in the last 3-6 months.
Put together a budget of known repairs with a knowledgeable professional; I have been in the building business for 20 plus years, so I bring a level of expertise that is second to none in this area.
Adjust the offer price based on the market price and known repairs.
I advise my clients that I will speak to the listing agent to determine their process/level of expertise in negotiating the short sale i.e. will they use a negotiator or do it themselves and what is their track record.
If I am satisfied with their ability to close a deal, I will advise that we put in the offer.
After the offer, do the home inspection so that we understand possible additional repairs that we may not have anticipated. Renegotiate the purchase price if necessitated by the home inspection.
Wait for the bank to come out with an approval letter and begin the negotiations as to price/terms etc..
Finalize the approval letter offer, complete financing and go to settlement.
This is an abridged version and many other things go on in the process, but this should give the 50,000 foot view.
Keller Williams Realty