A short sale means that the seller "qualified" for the lender to CONSIDER taking other terms when the property sells. Other then the mortgage amount owed. A lender usually has first lein on the property, so it can not be sold without them either being paid back in full, or the lender agreeing to take less money. Terms can be anything on the contract, however the lenders stastically have only bothered to look at offers with well qualified buyers, no contingencies. Their motivation to accept a short sale is qucik closing, good buyer, strong down payment. The habits of lenders is changong daily with new properties having distress.
A good Realtor can walk you through the process, and find out if the bank is being liberal on their terms.
Carson Realty Group