In my area it's definitely a short sale. First of all, most are owner occupied until closing. This may not guarantee against deferred maintenance but foreclosures sometimes sit empty for a year or more before going back on the market, often without being cleaned out, and so begin to actually detiorate. We also have to deal with under ground oil tanks that may be leaking, causing a hazardous spill and banks won't do the repairs. I actually saw a beautiful foreclosed home in my own neighborhood that had been closed up tight as a drum during one of the wettest springs in history and became absolutely overgrown with mold by the time it was put back on the market the following autumn. The reason foreclosures are so much less expensive here is because they require far more repair. Short sales may take longer, but as long as the buyer is willing to take a more reasonable discount and be patient they definitely offer the better deal.