You can bid and offer on as many as you want at one time, who told you otherwise? As far as offers being turned away, welcome to the game - and it is very much a game. Listing agents love to keep homes under contract listed as active, often under price them to get them bid up, deal with lenders that are unresponsive and many lenders leave open bid periods then just go with a final "highest and best". Of course, this is IF the lenders decide to consider a short sale at all....It's like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet and often buyers pay more than homes are really worth as money is often put back into them. In short - it's a very frustrating process. I blogged on this: http://www.trulia.com/blog/hank_miller_-_associate_broker/20
I suggest to my clients that with carefully and well targeted searches we can do as well dealing with individuals and corporate homes and avoid the nonsense....and we often do.
I hope you have an agent - if you're going to have multiple offers flying around you better have a skilled agent that knows the ropes or as Bekah said you might be on the hook for more than one home. There are back doors, but get a good agent!
Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Prudential GA Realty