"Lester the Lister"
CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert)
Broker Baird & Warner
You will have to wait at least 2 years after the short sale closing and 3 years if you follow the short sale wih a personal bankruptcy. The preferred method is to do a short sale first and then do the BK.
Keeping all other credit current will mitigate the damage the short sale will have on your overall credit. I had just spoken to a loan originator on this subject.
Of course, this is based on current lending rules. They can change at any time. You can also use a hard money lender but that will require higher downpayments and higher interest rates.