Good Morning Alyssa,
A short sale could take 3-6 months. The banks has to first approve the finacials of the seller to see if they qualify for a short sale, often this part is skipped and an agent will try to submit everything at once, this is what takes the time. Once a person is accepted to do a short sale, there is still no guarantee as the numbers have to work for the bank and the seller. The bank will setermine if the seller has the finances to pay back the balance between what the owe and what it is selling for. If so the bank will ask them to sign a note fore the balance. If not the bank will give them a 1099 for whioch the seller will have to pay taxes on this forgiven amount. Then when you get to the actual sales price, the listing agent has to submit a net sheet that shows all the expenses to be paid at closing like back taxes, water bill, sewer bill, hoa fees, commission and such. The bank then has to determine if they are better off taking the short sale or recouping their money in foreclosure, if there is private mortgage insurance then the bank doesnt haveto take a loss as the PMI will pay the balance or take the house. So the bank has no incentive to rush and get these things done. Inmost cases they can make more money or lose less money i should say by foreclosing. It sometimes takes a couple of months from the time they foreclose to the time you see that house come on the market though. Goo dluck with your purchase.