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What is a short sale?

A short sale, which is a type of loss mitigation, is a sale of your home for less than what you owe on your mortgage. 

A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure, but because it is a sale, you will have to leave your home. 

If your lender or servicer agrees to a short sale, you may be able to sell your home to pay off your mortgage, even if the sale price or proceeds turn out to be less than the balance remaining on your mortgage. 

If you live in a state in which you are responsible for any deficiency, which is the difference between the value of your property and the amount you still owe on your mortgage loan, you will want to ask your lender to waive the deficiency before you go through with a short sale. In some states, after a short sale, your lender could sue you to collect the amount of the deficiency. Getting a waiver of deficiency means that the lender waived the right to collect this amount. If the lender waives the deficiency, get the waiver in writing and keep it for your records. 

If you choose this option, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselor can help you plan your next steps. Borrowers who are seeking short sales should also ask about help with relocation expenses through other private programs sometimes called “cash-for-keys.” 

For help in exploring your options use the CFPB's "Find a Counselor" tool to get a list of housing counseling agencies in your area that are approved by HUD. You can also call the HOPE™ Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (888) 995-HOPE (4673).