A house becomes a "short sale" when the owner, seller offers it up for sale at an asking price LESS than what is currently owed the lender. Usually the seller will engage a real estate pro to list the home on the MLS with the intent of soliciting offers. If an offer is accepted from the buyer and the offer is less than what is currently owed on the home then the seller must get agreement from the lender to accept less than what is owed on the home in settlement of the debt. This process is time consuming, taking anywhere from 3-6 months and is by no means a guarantee of success. Depending on your time to move requirements, you may be better off shying away from short sales. Good luck.