470 Prospect Street in Methuen is an example of a good deal by waiting a short sale to the end. The property was listed/expired in 2008 for $369,000, off market for a time and listed/sold in 2009 for $218,000. The wait time for the third party approval on 470 Prospect was four months but know that they vary depending on the individual situation of the home owner and their lender(s).
Amazing short sale opportunities are currently on the market for example in Boxford a property assessed at $862,700 on the market for $575,000, over 3200 sq ft living area, etc.
If you have the patience and time for an opportunity don't shy away from a short sale but do make sure you are working with a Realtor with knowledge and experience in Short Sale transactions.
Would be willing to answer any questions or concerns on short sales that you might have as a buyer to purchase or a home owner to sell. I am certified as a Loss Mitigation Specialist & in HAFA Short Sales (US Treasury, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs). Knowledge is Power in a short sale transaction, also patience, the reward is all in the knowing how.