There is no "typical process" when buying a short sale and anyone who tells you they are an expert hasn't een around long enough to know there is no such thing. I've seen it go as fast as 2 weeks with a cash deal and as long as a year. It depends on the mortgage company, the offer, the agent, the BPO (broker's price opinion) and the Appraisal. I've even seen short sales go south at the last minute when investors decide not to take the best offer.
If you are looking at a short sale, my advice is to talk to a Real Estate Agent who not only is a Buyer's Agent, but is a Seller's Agent also and has completed short sales. They will know the process better than someone who has never worked through the process on the seller's side. Understand that when you make the offer, it could get accepted, rejected, or countered, just like a typical offer on a regular sale but the mortgage company/investor has the right of refusal. You can get a great deal, but you have to do your homework. It is also important that the listing company has done their due diligence with comps to make sure the offer won't get refused and the sale doesn't go through, which can happen. They need to be working with the mortgage company and doing BPOs themselves.
The houses are typically sold "As-Is" meaning they will not make repairs to the house so if you have a VA loan, the house will need to appraise for the offer if you are doing a no money down deal. All of the pieces need to come together to make it hapen smoothly so be sure you do your homework and your agent does their homework. Some mortgage companies are easier to work with than others and it can even vary from negotiator to negotiator within the mortgage company but ultimately, it's all in the hands of the investors.
Just be willing to wait several months for an answer and don't be in a hurry to move on a short sale, unless it is a cash offer at the list price. It can be done, but it just takes time.
The Palmetto Real Estate Group of SC