A short sale is a type of listing or transaction that occurs when the market value of the home is not high enough to cover what is owed on the property AND that the homeowner has had a life change (loss of job, divorce, medical expense) in which makes them unable to afford the home.
Typically the homeowner contacts a Realtor to list the home. The homeowner should try to explore other avenues such as consulting with a CPA, lawyer and others to learn what options they have. The Realtor works with the homeowner and the lender. Upon submission of a purchase agreement there must be agreement between the lender and the homeowner for the sale to occur. One of the issues that must be settled upon is a deficiency judgement (more on these in another post). This is when the sale of a home does not cover the loan amount and the lender then holds the home owner liable for the balance. There are some legal protections available in the State of Arizona.
So why do a Short Sale? Some have said that the time that a homeowners credit is destroyed is shortened (more on that in another post). The bank gets more money in their pocket versus going all the way to foreclosure and there is usually no problem with people living in the house after the deed is transferred back to the bank. So there is motivation for both a seller and the bank to do a short sale.
For a lot more information on short sales – please see our short sale website at http://www.Tucson-Short-Sale-Pros.com