First of all, the seller needs to sign the offer/counter etc. This all then gets submitted to the bank. Just because the seller accepted your offer does not mean that the bank will. This is very important to have in mind. Also, is there a first and a second loan on the property? If there is only a first and the house is priced right and the sellers are behind in their payments, you stand a better chance of having your short sale approved. It is important that your agent keep in touch with the listing agent to get updates at least every few weeks.
Working with the banks can be challenging for sure. I just got a short sale approved that only took 30 days, but I have worked with others that took 6 months, and others whereas the banks still have not gotten back to us and it is going on 9 months. My buyer on that last one finally said he wanted to look at REO homes. I certainly don't blame him.
On a short sale, you asked if there was any room to negotiate things that turn up in an inspection report. The answer clearly would be no. The people need to sell...that is why they are doing a short sale. None of the proceeds will ever be given back to the seller, they have nothing coming to them from the sale. They are in a financial bind, therefore, they do not have any money to fix anything. The bank won't pay for anything either. So, just know that going into it. They are one step away from foreclosure when they are doing a short sale, so they have no money. If they did, I am sure they would rather be staying in their home instead of having to sell it short of what is owned and have their credit score hit from 80-100 points. They won't be able to buy a home a long time until their credit is repaired.
I hope this answers your questions.
Joan Patterson, B.A., A.S.P., G.R.I., Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
8250 White Oak Avenue, Ste 102
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730