After moving to Sante Fe from Colorado in 2008, Scott and Margaret Newman put an offer on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom short sale. "They acknowledged the offer and then it went dark," says Mr. Newman, a fixed-income portfolio manager, who after two months found another home and pulled out of the deal. "The whole process was so nontransparent; I don’t think I’d go through that again."

Once relatively obscure transactions, short sales have become the norm in many hard-hit markets, representing roughly a third of properties for sale in Nevada, California and Florida, according to estimates from the National Association of Realtors. Though most buyers don’t actively seek short sales, they’re an opportunity to buy property that’s generally in good shape and priced 10% to 20% below market value…While foreclosed properties typically see bigger discounts, short sales have one distinct advantage: "They have the cooperation of the owner," says Lance Churchill, an attorney and president of Boise, Idaho-based Frontline Real Estate Education Group, which offers training to real-estate agents and investors, in Boise, Id.
By Sarah Max, Oct. 13, 2010 WSJ

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