Most fixer uppers are sold "as is where is" including traditional sales, foreclosure properties or short sales. You most definitely need an inspection by a certified inspector to make sure you know what you are getting into! In addition, there are usually other items that will come up during the renovation process, so you need to have extra funds in reserve "just in case."
Short sales are pre-foreclosure properties where the seller owes more to the bank than the property is worth. The bank does not own the property, but they have the right to decide if they will accept less for the property than the balance that is owed to them. This process can be quite lengthy, and you are not assured that the bank will accept your purchase price. Foreclosures have already been taken back by the bank and are owned by them. Here is a link to the major differences between the two:
Please don't overlook traditional sales that are fixer uppers. You can often get just as good of a deal on those properties. And right now 85% of the current listings are traditional sales, so you will have a much larger selection to choose from. It's all about the sales price and potential market value anyway, not who the seller is.
Here is a link to ALL the homes currently for sale in Las Vegas by price range, including short sales, foreclosures and traditional sales. These listings are updated every morning so you won't spend hours looking at homes that already are under contract with a buyer. (The national sites like Trulia and Zillow are never accurate like the local sites are!)
Hope this helps!
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
The Tonnesen Team - with over 30 years of experience helping families call Las Vegas "home!"