Short Sales That Are Long on Value

The perfect-storm buying conditions of today don't end with record low interest rates and severely depressed home prices: The housing meltdown has also caused a bargain-friendly type of home sale to flourish, injecting the market with even more potential for great deals. No, we're not talking about foreclosures: We're talking about short sales.

A "short sale" is one in which a lender agrees to allow a borrower to sell his home -- knowing that the proceeds from the sale will not be enough to cover the full amount of money that the borrower owes on the home. Short sales usually offer below-market rates, and make it less likely that the homes contain hidden defects, as some vacant foreclosures might.

But as Joe Buczkowski, CEO of LeaseRunner, an online management tool for landlords, puts it, "It takes a very special buyer in order to complete the short sale." That's because a short sale is often a drawn-out process, since sellers must persuade their lenders to sign off on the sale. Sometimes buyers who have made an initially well-received offer will wait months only to learn that the seller's bank has rejected the sale.

Nonetheless, short sales can offer savvy home homebuyers enticing discounts if they're willing to take the risk.

From a discounted luxury log home in Carbondale, Colo., (pictured here) to a single-family house in Atlanta that just got a $500,000 haircut, click through our gallery above to see some of the most tempting short sale opportunities.