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What is a real estate short sale?

A short sale occurs when a lender agrees that it will take less than what the homeowner owes on their note.  The lender usually agrees to this during the beginning stages of foreclosure when they realize that the homeowner will not be able to meet the terms of their agreement and will be foreclosed upon if a short sale does not occur. This short sale would result in a substantially discounted purchase price for the end buyer of the home. The buyer would then proceed with the purchase of the home when the lender agrees to a price.