The short sale process generally takes a long time.
Most of the listed Boca Raton homes that are REOs are likely to have had multiple bids submitted on them already. However, since that is the way REOs are sold, you'll be able to submit your highest and best bid on any one of them that is not yet sold.
As for short sales, most, though not all of those that are listed, may already have had contracts submitted. However, many agents do not mark those homes as pending or contingent until they have received bank approval (third party approval) on those properties. The only way to discover whether or not they are still available is to have your Boca Raton real estate agent inquire.
If you have no deadline for moving into a new home in Boca Raton (or if you don't really care whether or not you get the property), then a short sale may work for you, because short sales are rarely short in duration. They may take from 45 days (a minor miracle) to 9 months or longer.
However, the important thing to consider is that you will not be purchasing at prices dramatically under market if you are able to find short sales or REO homes in Boca that are available. Instead, you will be paying at or very close to (and sometimes above) market value.
You may find that if you are really interested in purchasing a Boca home, it makes the most sense to talk to a seller who is still in control of his or her home and make an offer somewhat under listing price.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team
Re/Max Complete Solutions