The consequences of short sale vary depending on your personal credit history and circumstances.
Compared to a foreclosure, there is less of a hit on your credit by doing a short sale. Your credit report may indicate a "pre-foreclosure in redemption" status, but you will not have a foreclosure on your credit report. A short sale may reduce your credit score by 100 points or less. However, a foreclosure may reduce your credit score by 250 points or more.
If you are thinking about when you will be able to buy a house again, a short sale is a better alternative than a foreclosure. Usually, a person who has gone through a foreclosure could take up to 5 to 7 years before they are fianced again and they usually must show at least 2 years of good credit following a foreclosure. However, a person who has gone through a short sale can usually be finance again for a home mortgage after about 2 years, provided that they show 2 years of good standing credit.