When the bank reviews a short sale agreement, they typically request an appraisal or BPO (broker price opinion) to determine what the home is worth. They are not going to let someone come in and "steal" the house. They are going to attempt to get the market value for it.
If the comps are showing a price range of $440-450k, then your offer should be somewhat in that ballpark.
I had a recent shortsale with Countrywide. The house was listed at $264,900. A buyer made an offer of $240,000. The offer made its way through Countrywide. Negotiator 1 approved it, negotiator 2 approved it, then the investor countered the offer back at $255,000. It took two months to go through this process and by that time we thought they were going to accept the $240,000.
The buyer ended up responding with a highest and best of $248,000. Two weeks later Countrywide accepted the $248,000.
I didn't see the appraisal that was done by Countrywide but my guess is that it was for $255,000.
Short Sales take a lot of patience from the buyer. When you view the home, you are excited and it doesn't seem like a big deal to wait on an approval from the bank. As the days go by with no status updates it gets harder for a buyer to wait. I had one buyer wait 5 months last year before pulling the plug and going after another house.
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Bethlehem, PA 18020