Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

A short sale can be anything but short. Sure, you can score a great deal on a property but you gotta put in lots of time, effort and patience. I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

For owners who can no longer afford their mortgages, a short sale is an alternative to foreclosure. A short sale is a sales transaction in which the seller’s mortgage lender agrees to accept a payoff of less than the balance due on the loan.

Sounds like a great option for both seller and buyer who can snag a great bargain. But, a short sale can take a long time … driving some homebuyers away.

So, what does it take to move a short sale along in a timely manner where the seller, lender, buyer and agent come out on top? Well, every short sale is different, but you can start by making sure you use a knowledgeable real estate agent who has experience closing several short sale properties. Get a lawyer to go over the legalities and stay on top of everything with detailed notes and follow-up phone calls.

For more on short sales, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Kristin Arnold.