Agreeing with both answers, you need to definitely knock them dead with your offer (including highest price, best terms, downpayment, etc.) - IF the bank takes the deal - they will only take the highest and best so I would recommend you offer the highest and best because they may not ever come back to you with a counter-offer, etc.
With that being said however, in my direct dealings with short sales....the bank takes a long time sometimes up to 90+ days to make a decision on the dollar amount thus meaning that you will end attorney review BEFORE the bank even makes a decision. You will be required to submit your downpayment, proceed with inspections, incur inspection costs and in many circumstances even proceed with your mortgage application and incur additional fees before the bank decides if THEY will accept your offer. Not every short sale is the same and not every agent knows this and/or explains it to buyers purchasing short sales. I would speak to your attorney about inserting a kickout or escape clause because should the bank take too long to decide -- your funds will be tied up in the attorney trust account. You should also have your realtor ask the listing agent if the sellers have submitted their short sale package to the lender yet because if not, it may even take longer before you hear anything at all and in the meantime you will be obligated to proceed under the sales contract.
Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Prudential NJ Properties
973-992-6363 ext 116