As written a foreclosure is when the bank takes the house back at foreclosure auction. A short sale is when the owner still owns the house and asks the bank to reduce the amount they owe so they can sell it. Now if you are looking to purchase either, there are some things you should know. First a short sale can be long and stressfull, on average it takes 3-6 months just to hear if the bank will accept it, less than 25% of short sales are approved, you can get a good deal if you have time and patience. With a foreclsoure you need to get preapproved prior to making your offer, they like to close withijn 30 days of acceptance, also it is sold as is so you should do any inspections prior to making an offer, as well ask for anything in your initial offer as teh bank usually will not negotiate again once they have accepted a price from you. good luck with your search and use a buyer broke rto assist you so you have someone on your side.