Lulu, having to wait until an offer comes in is NOT my experience in Cal. I had a couple in Orange County who bought something way too expensive, a purchase that I would not have participated in. Husband got laid off, right after the closing. They could not make ends meet. That's when they came to me.
I contacted their lender, got on a "approved list" for their Short Sale Departmant, sent in comps and a realistic appraisal (far more realistic than the bogus appraisal that had been sumbitted at time of loan approval), submitted documentary evidence of the owners' financial condition, and obtained permission for the listing price.
I think I also got a mortgage broker in a LOT of trouble, because the tax returns I submitted to the lender did NOT correspond to the "no documentation" income figures that the loan broker (not the prospective borrowers themselves) had provided.
But I worked with the lender from the moment the decision was made to try to short sell. I did not wait for an offer.