There is no short sale alike. As a buyer's or a seller's real estate broker in Chicago and suburbs we had closed short sales as quick as 2 to 3 months proceess.
If you are buying short sale in Chicago north shore and Chicago northwest suburbs it can be very time consuming and at the end the price may not be the price you negotiaited at first. Keep in touch with your Realtor and be patient.
Bank will order a BPO (Broker price opinion), that would be one of the first milestones. It can take 15 to 45 days for short sale to be approved.
Some banks started with a pre appoved short sale program, which helps with the procces.
It is a great thing if you see or hear from your real estate agent that the shor sale is approved about the home that is already on the market. This process is the quickest.
If you are a buyer, there is no guarantee that you will get the property for the amount that you negotaited at first. The bank is the one who decides at the end. I have seen many agents negotiating the price, over promessing and under dellivering.
Short sales with a second mortgage take much longer, due to negotiaitons and all the paperwork involved.
Once approeved be ready to move quickly to settlement as the banks usually give a 30 day to settle mandate.