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A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. short sales usually occur when the homeowner is facing foreclosure. many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments. by accepting a short sale, the lender can avoid a lengthy and costly foreclosure, and the owner is able to pay off the loan for less than what is owed. (see also: deed in lieu of foreclosure)

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