As usual, I gave Charles Butterfield and Terri Vellios thumbs up. Also gave Carl Medford a thumbs up. In many states, an attorney is required in a real estate transaction. California is not such a state for residential sales. The only thing I want to add here is the standard paperwork will be different if you are buying the home as an investor intending not to live it int, IF there has been a notice of default filed against the seller. If you are such an investor, make sure your agent checks to see if a notice of default has been filed and that you are using the CAR forms for such a situation.
Whether you are an investor or just looking for a home to own, ask your agent to see if the seller has filed bankruptcy, who the investor in the current first lien is, whether the seller is still making payments on the house, whether a notice of trustee's sale has been filed, and whether the seller has moved away or at least out of the house. Don't close escrow before the seller has moved out. This is not a place for someone to go without an agent by his side. Each of these questions I suggest here are necessary because the answers either predict whether the short sale can proceed, predict the time frame in which it must occur after your offer is made, or predict whether you'll have after close of escrow problems.
I'm booked tomorrow, but am available during the week. Charles Butterfield, Terri Vellios, and I have read a lot of each others' answers to a lot of San Jose area Trulia posted questions. Each one of us has grown to respect the other. You can't go wrong with any one of us. As other agents have stated, the seller (or in a short sale more accurately, the seller's lender) will pay your agent's fees as part of the sale. You have nothing to lose because the bank cares more about competence and reduced risk of future problems and risk of liability than they do about saving a dime on a commission. For this reason, they usually welcome a competent buyer's agent.
I've worked for a mortgage bank for years and am also a paralegal, so I have an insider's view of the process. Mr. Butterfield and Ms. Vellios are both highly experienced and highly regarded (at least by me) realtors deeply familiar with the Santa Clara County market and way things are done . I would be happy to represent you. You can call me at 408-639-0211 or email me at email@example.com.
Good luck and happy new home!