Based on that, they approve or deny the short sale offer. They do this to avoid approving short sales when either a homeowner can still afford the house or the house is selling for under the appraised value. What do they do if the short sale offer is rejected? Well, they tell the buyer to hit the road and close the file. Everything gets thrown out. The appraisal is thrown out. And all the time that employee spent looking at the seller's finances is thrown out.
So, each buyer has to wait 60-90 days for an answer on their short sale. If that buyer's offer doesn't work, then all that paperwork is thrown out and the property is put back on the market. (Yes, some banks are pre-approving short sales before they come on the market. But, that is the exception, not the rule. Most banks are not pre-approving short sales.) The home is marketed and then the next buyer has to go through the process all over again. So, why does this matter to you?
A short sale helps you avoid the bad mark a foreclosure puts on your credit for the rest of your life. On any future loan applications, you will have to check "yes" next to the question, "Have you ever lost a home to foreclosure?" So even though the foreclosure goes off your credit in seven years, that question stays with you for the rest of your life. That is why most people prefer a short sale. Your agent is going to have to be persistent in order to give you a better chance at a successful short sale. A competent, experienced short sale Realtor that can successfully navigate the system.
They can convince your lender that it is in their best interest to accept the short sale offer. They can also convince them to pre-approve the short sale at a set price. This gives you a better chance at avoiding foreclosure.