I assume you are using a REALTOR, and that the short sale property is represented by a REALTOR. If this is the case, your offer will be presented. That is one of our (REALTORS) mandates.
If you have still concerns about your offer being presented, ask your REALTOR to prepare a sign off sheet for the home owner (seller) stating they have reviewed the contract and either rejected it, accepted it or are holding it as a back up offer.
If the sellers are already working with the bank on a contract, they might hold your offer as a back up. If this is the case, the seller's REALTOR should provide you with something in writing saying the sellers have not signed the contract, but will hold is as a back up offer.
The offer first must be accepted by the property owner, then the mortgage company. After the mortgage company or lein holder agrees to your offer, the property is considered under contract.
These questions should have been asked and answered before you entered submitted a contract .
Good luck with your purchase. Depending on one's circumstances, a short sale can be a great opportunity!
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore