Also, if your father happens to own a house already he can't claim this one as homestead but you can. In that case you will be entitled to only 50% of the homestead exemption. Talk to a real estate lawyer or title company to verify this information.
After you are in the deed, you can then get a mortgage in your name to pay back your father. I can help you with the mortgage. Call or email me for a free consultation.
Rescom Mortgage & Finance
It was extremely lucky for you that your father was able to help you quickly purchase your house! Now that he owns the house outright, that gives you many terrific options to save on closing costs that are not available to someone to needed to purchase the short sale using standard financing in the first place.
There are several options for you depending upon your specific needs. Besides being a realtor, my wife and I own a mortgage brokerage. If you would like to call me (239-206-4500) or email me (contact@FHLmail.com) I would be happy to discuss with you all your possible solutions. All of them will cost you very little or very likely there will be no money out of pocket!
I think you will be very pleased by options that we can present to you!
Andrew & Elena Ollick
Faith Home Loans
As the others note, if he hasn't closed on the house yet, your name can simply be added to the deed. However, in that case, he'll still be a co-owner of the house.
After closing, it's still no problem for him to sell the house to you. Or to deed it to you--basically just sign it over to you. Again, make sure an attorney is involved so that all the paperwork is correct.
Finally, your father should check with an accountant to make sure that there aren't any negative tax implications for him. There are various rules on how much one person can give another as a gift before it becomes a taxable event--as you note in your own question. But there are ways to spread out the gift.
Another possibility is using a land trust. See http://www.landtrust.net.
So--yes, there are easy ways to do it. But check with a lawyer and an accountant to make sure it's done properly.
Hope that helps.