Yes, this is actually the sort of work I do, I am a lawyer of course and a Real Estate Broker on SI. A "short sale attorney" would guide you though the process of having the bank approve your request. This can take a bit of time and back and forth, as banks are not anxious to lose money on properties, even though it is often in everyone's best interest that the properties do change hands. Like most other real estate fees, it's a percentage of the sale price, but is negotiable.
This is AVVO, a place for users to obtain general legal information to general legal questions. I am glad to help you in any way I can, within those limits. I wish to make clear I am only communicating with you for the sole purpose of exchanging such general information, and nothing more. It is not legal advice, which I can not provide because among other reasons I know few of the necessary details of your situation. I do not purport to represent you in any way, shape or form. Of course, if you would like to seek out my services, and if you are a NY resident, I will probably not put up very much resistance but representation would still necessitate a signed retainer agreement between yourself and I. Thank you.
A real estate attorney helps you negotiatioe the sales contract, does the legal due dilligence on the house, and represents you at closing.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
In most cases the attorney representing the Seller will negotiate the terms of a short sale with Sellers lender. You would need to retain your own attorney to represent your interests. You would be best served by retaining an real estate attorney w/ experience in buying and selling short sales. A word of caution, short sales can take a very long time to get approved. I am currently working on one that has been in contract since February and we only just got approval from Sellers lender. Most successful SS purchasers are buying "all cash" w/ no financing contingencies. Also be prepared for a very short period of time between SS approval and closing dates (30 days), so you will need to have all your ducks in a row even if SS approval has not been issued yet. Your should review the contract of sale ( make sure it has a "drop dead" clause which will allow you to cancel the contract and receive your contract deposit back after a specified period) Also in most short sales the buyer should put down a very low contract deposit (1-2% of the purchase price) b/c of the length of time it takes to get approval. Also it is best remember that the Seller is not allowed to get any money from the sale so any "condition" problem wit house become your headache. Most contracts are drafted this way with no representations made regarding condition, C/O's etc.
After contract your attorney will order a title search and work with Sellers attorney to clear title exceptions. As closing approaches he will communicate with you about how much money you will need to close and at closing he will review and explain all the documents including any loan documents from your lender if you are obtaining financing.