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and perhaps the investor is the one lending the money for the purchase?

The "investor" is the entity that is owed money on the current loan. The investor in the current loan on the property being sold has to approve a short sale because they are not going to be getting the entire amount promised to them (i.e. the payment will be 'short').

The approval by the investor is often where short sales get hung up and have delays. Because this approval is part of the selling process to settle the old loan, and not part of the lending process for the new loan, I still fail to see why this was cited as an example to show delays in "applying for a loan". And if time to settle short sales and foreclosures is included in the averages cited in the article, I would say that those averages are not a good measure on what to expect, since the distribution is probably at least a bi-modal distribution - one distribution peak for those with traditional sales/refinances and another distribution peak (probably much shorter and wider) for those who are buying short sales or foreclosures.

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