A short sale is real estate transaction in which a homeowner’s lender agrees to the sale of a house with a payoff of less than the amount due on the mortgage. (The lender agrees to take a “short” payoff.) The seller typically needs this help because the home is worth substantially less than the payoff of the mortgage. Since lenders don’t like to agree to short sales, your purchase offer typically starts a long process of bank reviews and renegotiations. For this reason, you should not consider a short sale if you have a specific time frame within which you need to buy. And short sales are unpredictable – it’s best not to fall in love with a home being sold on a short sale.