Marla has a very good point, if the Notice of Default has been filed you want to know that date, have your agent find out for you, if there is a Notice of Default filed against the property, have the agent find out the auction date slated for the property..have your agent contact the listing agent about..your agent can find out if the listing agent has contacted the lender about possible extending the date of the auction...lenders can do that if they have filed the Notice of Default..from what I've seen the lenders would rather try and remedy through a short sale rather than go through the entire process of the foreclosure...they may be receptive to an extension of the auction date.
Like I stated in my earlier answer, I have had a short sale with an offer from September of last year, and finally getting some action on it from the lender, but the lender agent has also told me that they have some short sales on there desk since July of last year...yours from October isn't that out of the ordinary.
I did a lot of calling, got the email address of the negotiator, faxed-emailed-called A LOT.
Not that its a sure-fire way to get some remedy on the short sale, but it worked for me so far!
From what you've said about the phases, you may be in risk of losing the tax credit..your going to have to weigh what you gain from waiting on this home, compared to walking away and finding another property without a lot of paperwork "baggage" attached to it. This is your call.