I guess I like to start at the beginning when someone talks about having to short sale their home.
The same paperwork is required for all the alternatives. Namely, a hardship letter, a financial summary worksheet (which I could provide you, just ask), 3 months bank statements one month paystubs, and at least one tax return.
The first step is to prepare this informaiton and talk to your lender. If you meet with a qualified realtor (or home retention specialist) first, then you can understand your alternatives and discuss the completion of these documents. The lender will require that you speak to someone in loss mitigation. (Don't waste your time talking to customer service, they will upset you ,make you mad and just annoy the situation completely) After you review the situation you will be able to determine if you even have the option of modifying your loan so that you can stay in your home.....
Maybe you really just want to get out from under it. That's fine, but this step makes sure that you don't have any remorse later that you didn't consider all options. If refinance or loan modification is not an option and your best alternative is a short sale, the lender already has all the paperwork needed and you will add to that an authorization form, and listing agreement, seller's net sheet (HUD-1),.... so that your realtor can speak on your behalf to the lender. The lender at this point, needs to understand why they would want to accept less than full price on your loan balance. They don't automatically agree to that just because you asked. The submission package will make sure that the decision is clearly made prior to you proceeding through a short sale effort only to have them deny you, or not convinced that you can come to the table with the money to make up the shortfall.
Next, the sensitive discussion of how you list your home now should be a very complete discussion. The realtor should explain why doing a short sale is MUCH better than abandoning it to foreclosure. You need to discuss whether you will be moving out, or staying there, watching people buy your home. Where will you go when you move, and when. What will you do with your belongings. It can be emotional. If you cooperate in the process, the lender can be made aware and the process can go smoother. YOU will feel better having some control over the process.
In my short sales, I am receiving lender acceptances in two weeks of a purchase offer, even with two lenders involved. It's important to do these upfront steps prior to just sticking a sign in the yard.
There are other realtors who also are experienced in short sales, just please make sure that these steps are followed up front to make sure it goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible for you. And that you are sure that there were no other alternatives to short saling your property. (only your lender can help you determine that, not a realtor)
Good luck to you!