Short Sales: Tips for Homebuyers

If you're hearing a lot about short sales these days, it's no surprise. As home values have declined, the number of short sales has exploded. In September 2010, 12 percent of all U.S. real estate transactions were short sales, according to tracking by the National Association of Realtors.

So what is a short sale? It's a way for sellers who are underwater on their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. In a short sale, the seller negotiates with the mortgage lender to accept less than what's owed on the property.