I don't thin k that short sales are a plague, John. Mindset is powerful. We find what we look for, and my mindset is different than John's.
You start your question with "is it normal process...""
Normal process is really based on two actions - see lots of properties and make lots of offers.
Anything outside of that is not normal real estate investing.
Anything that limits the multitude of choices and narrows the aperture, perhaps a limit like emotional attachment, anything like that can turn the basic two step purchasing process into something way more subjective.
Chip - it's not normal for professional agents in my business to not cooperate and to not communicate. However, if it's been 3 months, give up and move on.
What are you buying in Rex?