A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold. In a short sale, the bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance because of an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor. This agreement to accept a short payoff is all accomplished through negotiation with a bank's loss mitigation or workout department. The homeowner sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender. In such instances, the lender would have the right to approve or disapprove of a proposed sale. Extenuating circumstances influence whether or not banks will discount a loan balance. These circumstances are usually related to the current real estate market and the borrower's financial situation.