Here are a few guidelines I use with my clients to preserve your sanity and keep your clients happy.
1) Short sale listings where there is "No Lender Knowledge", would be the equivalent of a 17 year old planning an elaborate road trip with the parents car, before asking for parental permission. Meaning it's not going to be a quick no, and you might want to consider 'alternatives' rather than be disappointed. The process may be long and painful.
2) Short sale listings where the "Short Sale Package is submitted", at least all parties are in the know, yet based upon the backlog of reviewing short sale requests, it could still be quite a time consuming venture with a good deal of uncertainty along the way. Personally, I feel that the time frames have greatly improved, however, buyer's can lose their spark if they get bogged down with long periods of non-communication from the bank.
3) Short sale listing referred to "Approved Short Sale" - may only mean the bank had approved the short sale 'concept' regarding the property, and is not prepared to share an acceptable price as the new legislation states that they are required to do so. Best to inquire with the listing agent and confirm, they are ready to go, and ready to respond to offers, and they you are in a better position for a quick response.
4) Short sale listing "Bank Approved Short sale at $1.295,000", now we are talking. Treat this like any other REO Bank Owned property, and submit away. Yes, their approval may only apply to the prior submitted offer, but at least you have a sense of where they were before which is an indication of where they will most likely be.
5) REO / Bank Owned Properties - Kid in a candy store. Bank's have no emotional attachment to 'file numbers'. Get a sense of their portfolio, management pressures to move the assets and critical time lines, and you can master your own destiny and carefully evaluation the bank's motivation.
Great purchases continue to happen in San Diego, and in many cases moving the asset is more important than them getting the last 5% on price.
Forge on and go get 'em. SAN DIEGO IS ON SALE 20-40% off at the bank!