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A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property's loan. It often occurs when a borrower cannot pay the mortgage loan on their property, but the lender decides that selling the property at a moderate loss is better than pressing the borrower. Both parties consent to the short sale process, because it allows them to avoid foreclosure, which involves hefty fees for the bank and poorer credit report outcomes for the borrowers. A homeowner must apply for a short sale with their lender once they have a fully executed sales contract on their home.

A short sale usually occurs when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments and has little or no equity in the home. The bank might approve of the short sale because the foreclosure process can cost lots of time and money for the lender, and the lender may reason that it is better to just cut their losses and move on. The lender would get the proceeds from the sale, the lien would be released, and the owner would either be forgiven the rest of the debt owed or be responsible for all or some of the debt in terms of a deficiency judgment. This will probably not work if the owner can clearly make the payments, owns other real estate with lots of equity, or lied on the loan application. It can be a time consuming processes, and is not the solution for a buyer looking for a quick settlement. However, if the buyer has some patience, he/she may be able to get a very good deal on their purchase offer. The buyer of a short sale must have a pre-approval on their mortgage for the short sale to be considered by the seller�s lender (a full commitment from their lender makes an even stronger case for the short sale lender to approve short sale).

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