The mls will do a pretty good job of showing Short sales in the Comments section. Anybody that owes more than their home is worth could try and put a short sale together by accepting a low offer from a buyer.
It requires a realtor/Attorney that knows what is required to get the bank to accept the offer.
You could get a good deal but it is subject to the banks approval. Say a Bank is owed 4250K and the home is worth $250K. Maybe you want to pay $230K....well the seller can still make a deal with you but they have to convince the bank to take less that hey are owed and to pay the brokers.
For the seller it keeps them out of foreclosure. For the buyer this is a way to see the home and work with a cooperating seller to get you a good deal. They at that point are just trying to save their credit.
It can be more complicated but anybody that is in a default situation should be willing to listen to a short sale offer.
Hope that helps;
Re\Max Hall of Fame