You can qualify for a short sale even if you have not missed any mortgage payments.
You don’t have to be delinquent on your mortgage payments to qualify for a short sale. If your cash flow has become tight, your lender may see you as “at imminent risk of default” and may approve your short sale even though you haven’t missed any payments.
You can choose to default on your mortgage.
If your lender won’t look at your short sale request because you are not delinquent, you have the option of deliberately defaulting on your mortgage. This is known as a “strategic default” and may work to open up the conversation with your lender.
Minimize the hit to your credit score.
A significant part of the hit to your credit score comes from the delinquent payments, not from the short sale itself. If you can avoid becoming delinquent, or miss only a payment or two, the hit to your credit score from the short sale itself may be minimal.