...assuming you meant sellers, many sellers may be in financial distress and may not be able to do any necessary things to help sell their home. Further, there are many agents who are not addressing the whole picture including the financial distress of the owners. Many agents who do not address the probable short sale of the property, may, in fact, push their sellers into foreclosure because they're too stubborn to come clean, too stubborn to learn, or outright refuse to risk pricing the property appropriately for fear of losing the listing! Many agents will not learn how to conduct a short sale and GET IT SOLD! ...which is why I began specializing in Short Sales.
I do not believe agents such as these are doing what's best for their client, and I have run into many properties such as those you describe. You and your agent should be asking these types of questions as to why the seller is selling or your agent may conduct some good ole-fashioned research to determine whether there is any wiggle room between the mortgage owed and the asking price. I'm sure you will see many properties are listed at the break even point so that the list agent avoids marking the property as a "short sale." While this tactic is not at all helpful, this will also help you decide or avoid making offers on properties in the first place. You'll find out about those stubborn agents, inexperienced agents, or those who refuse to be flexible - due to the other reasons he or she has not told you. This is why I always conduct my research, and I do not work with these types of agents. I don't like wasting my time.... money, effort, etc.... So, while this tactic is not helping the sellers at all, your agent's research will show the true picture, and you can make your decision of whether you're even going to pursue the property in the first place. I've written about these issues and more in an article on short sales from the seller's perspective. If you'd like more info, please visit the link! Good Luck!