Your question is a good one. Traditional sales (Homeowner/seller to Buyer) in Maryland usually take on average about 60 days to close. Short sales tend to be much longer due to the Third Party (Bank) participation/approval. One of my short sale transactions (with 2 lenders) settled in under 90 days. On the other hand, an offer we received on one of our short sales in late July is still currently pending Bank approval. I've heard that bank approvals in Maryland have been averaging roughly 6-9 months from the date of offer delivery, but as you can see they vary widely. Much of\ this variance is based on each individual bank's internal review procedures with short sales. Some banks seem more efficient than others too. FYI, I understand that only about 30 percent of short sales ultimately make it to settlement. Also, depending on your budget, keep in mind that not every short sale may be a true value. Many short sales are not only financially distressed, but also physically distressed, and may require much post-settlement investment and improvement. Most banks only allow short sales to transfer in 'as-is' condition too, as is the case with foreclosure sales. I understand that fresh foreclosure inventory will be forthcoming this year too, and I've experienced considerably more 'buyer control' with foreclosures for numerous reasons. Which type of distressed property purchase is right for you will depend on your PATIENCE, confidence, understanding, each individual short sale property, and the bank(s) and agents involved. I'd be happy to provide you with some good information. Feel free to contact me. Good luck with your search. This sounds exciting for your family - happy hunting!