On bank owned properties (Foreclosures) I am seeing the banks want to get them off their books quickly, so they are operating more like a normal sale and can close anywhere from 2 weeks (if you have a GOOD settlement company) to 30-45 days, which is more normal. I recently helped a client buy a property for $200,000 under original asking price after only being on the market for 3 months. ALSO, even though this was an as-is sale, the bank paid to install a new water line, repaired the boiler and patched a hole in the kitchen ceiling to make the deal work. All things banks historically wouldn't fork over any money for.
On 3rd party approvals (Short Sales) you are rolling the dice, unless they have a dedicated and experienced person handling the deal on the seller's side. These can take 2 months, if you're lucky, or as long as a year. If they do have the dedicated person, it could go more like a normal sale. Also, keep in mind that if you have a signed contract with the OWNER, you have a ratified contract - meaning that both you and the seller have signed all documents. The bank does not really have anything to do with the selling of the house, other than OKing the seller to sell it for less than what they owe, ie: Short Sell it.
If you get a ratified contract and they try to back out of it because they didn't get their bank approval first, you can legally force them to sell the house to you, but have your RealtorÂ® and an attorney check the contract before taking this step.
Hope this has helped!
Kangal Real Estate