Short sale works just like the regular sale in the sense that a seller is involved and the seller will have to agree with the short sale purchase offer before the offer can be sent to the lenders to be approved. The sellers will also have to provide disclosures just as regular sales.
The differences can be obvious or implied - whether the offer will actually work because of lender approval or not, when an escrow account should be opened and when the deposits should be sent to escrow, whether the seller will pay for repairs or not (usually not), whether time can be extended or not, whether you can add / substitute another buyer or not, how a seller might respond to certain things might be differfent from regular sellers, ..etc...
Of course, one of the big items people talk about is the length of time it takes to get approval from the lender for the short sale; which, depends on how many liens there is on the property, how much deficit there is, who are the lenders and who are the investors behind those....
But other than that, it's the same. So... the trick is to find an experienced agent who knows how to advise you on a short sale as a buyer and sometimes, the agent even has to advise the listing agent if he/she is less experienced on how to handle short sale (what I had to do several times to push the purchase through).
Frank Howard Allen Realtors