Hi tg and thanks for your post.
I am a Realtor in San Jose as well, but let me mirror Terri's comment that limiting yourself to short sales and foreclosures severly limits your housing choices and, if you think that these will guarantee you a savings on the home, think again. Our market is still impacted with buyers that even the most unappealing home has multiple bids all over asking price. The strategy of short sale and foreclosures being 10-15 percent less than market really no longer applies, and your best strategy will involve timing, financing and down payment more than distressed properties.
So here's my recommendations for Realtors, call Charles Butterfield below. I have known of Charles forever (it seems) and he is astute and honest. Then there is Terri Vellios who I have known through Trulia for more than two years. She is highly knowledgeable, versatile and service oriented. Flavio Tejada--like me--is one of a handful of agents who provides rebates from our commissions to buyers. He's usually spot on with his answers, and of course he and I both believe in service to our customers at reasonable fees.
So there you have it...three referrals for great agents. Give them a calk and good lick in you search!