Kathleen described very well the process. Didn't need all the caps however.
Short sales are highly complex, totally convoluted, illogical, opague process. It is the "Wild, Wild, West of Real Estate," where there is an illusion of rules but anything can and does happen.
The nature of your question suggests you are not sufficiently familiar with the process to identify well what the status of the property, seller or lender are, therefore making any reasonable response possible.
Short sales are not for everyone. If you are easily discouraged, easy to disappoint, make emotional connection the homes you want to buy, have any suggestion of a timeline, think the price you see is the price you will pay, or perceive there will be an element of fairness when negotiating with a bank or investor group, short sales may be a poor choice for you.
You can not win if you don't know the rules. If you don't know the rules you look for others to blame. "Listing agent doing wrong" is a first warning of someone who may not know the rules...as vague as they are regarding short sales. If you want the same opportunity as the buyer you mention, consider becoming part of a real estate agents 'A-List' Buyers. These 'A-List" buyers often get 'first look' opportunities.
I was at Walgreens yesterday to buy a big box of chocolates. The register clerk tells me, "You must be a member of the 'awards' system to receive the sale price. (NOTE: this big box of chocolates was not on sale.) However, Walgreens apparently realizes citizens WILL sign up to receive benefits. There are benefits with membership. Call a local real estate agent and get signed up for 'First Look' benefits as an 'A-List' buyer and receive the benefits of moving to the head of the line and the potential savings that can be the result.
Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL