(Money Magazine) -- When Brian Gavitt, a physician, and his wife Gayleen, a stay-at-home mom, started to eye homes in Sacramento last winter, they knew they were looking in the hardest-hit areas of the housing bust. So the couple, who were relocating from Lansing, figured they could land a fantastic bargain in no time at all.
The part about the bargain turned out to be true. The Gavitts bought a five-bedroom house in the upscale Natomas Park neighborhood ("Even now, you don't see FOR SALE signs up anywhere," says Gayleen.) And it was a steal at $300,000, a full $200,000 less than they would have paid just two years ago.
The amount of time it took to land the deal was another story. It was more than six months from when the Gavitts first saw their dream home to the moment they held the keys in their hands. The reason: The home they bought was a short sale.