Again, another professional piece of advice from out of state ...
Here's the bottom line, Jeff ... your choice whether you choose to listen to the folks who are telling you what you want to hear to get your business (even if they're out of state and not licensed to sell real estate here, which is interesting) or you can listen to the folks telling you what you need to hear.
If you're chasing short sales, you're starting with a 1 in 7 chance of closing escrow and getting the house just on the basis of the process and the banks' lack of motivation. If you're using the list price as a guide rather than the comps - the comps that the bank is going to use to make a decision whether they will accept the short sale - you're making those odds even longer. You're falling into the listing agent's trap and will be the guinea pig through which they find the real price the bank will accept.
If you want to spend your time writing offers but not actually buy a house, by all means ignore market values and hope to find the one seller absolutely desperate to sell in a traditional sale or the one lender who will approve a short sale at pennies to market value. It's possible. So is finding a four-leaf clover.
If you want to actually buy a house, however, you need to look at the market values so you're working from the same base of information as the lenders or sellers are working from. Without that, you're not buying, you're guessing and hoping.
On a side note, a buyers agent's fiduciary responsibility is to represent you as best as possible. It has nothing to do with blindly doing the buyers bidding when there's no chance of success. The idea of "fire him or her and hire someone else" may sound great but it doesn't get you any closer to actually buying a house. Most people in their lives buy a handful of homes. Some real estate agents are selling the same number of homes in a month or so. (And many aren't, which is why it helps to know who you're working with.)
You need to be in a working relationship where the agent is listening to you, no question. But you also need to be listening to the agent. Again, some agents are desperate enough and are unsuccessful enough that they'll write offer after offer hoping to strike gold. Then there are others, the ones who are more likely to tell you the reality of the situation, who eventually will re-introduce you to the market before you fire them and move on to someone who wants to develop a serious strategy to purchase a home.
Most buyers don't need affirmation, they need information. Unfortunately, you've got so many onesy-twosy agents out there fighting for scraps they'll tell you whatever you want to get you as a client even when they know they're not going to be able to get you a home going down this chosen path.