A short sale is when a seller convinces their lender to let them sell the home for less than they owe. Say they owe $200,000 and the bank lets them sell it for $180,000. They have sold it for $20,000 short of what they owe.
Selling short may allow a seller to avoid foreclosure or just get out of a really tough situation. The process is typically longer than the normal home sale. Agents will negotiate with the lender(s). The lender has to approve the fact they will loose the money owed them.
Buyers must be patient during the process. The stronger their position is the easier it is for the bank to make a decision. A bank makes a decsion to let a property go short because they realize it will already cost them money to resell the property if they have to foreclose. A buyer's strong position ensures them they will not have to lose more money if the deal falls out.
Short sale opportunities come up all the time. Currently, banks are a little more strict because they want sellers to reflect a foreclosure on their record since they have to take a loss on so many properties. Many factors go into determining whether or not a bank will approve the sale. Contact your agent today to see if the short sale market is for you.