Lenders recently improved their processes for handling short-sale transactions, but still have a long way to go, the California Association of Realtors said this week.

The group, which advocates for the state's real estate agents, surveyed members and found the percent of agents who found short sales 'extremely difficult' to complete fell from 56% last year to just 34% in 2012.

Still, 64% of California agents experienced some difficulty in closing a short sale, compared to 77% in August of 2011 and 70% in 2010.

In the survey, real estate agents are asked to rate their experiences working with lenders on short sales.

"While it's encouraging that lenders and servicers are making headway in improving their short-sale processes, they still have more work to do to ensure that not only realtors, but also home sellers and buyers have a better experience when dealing with short sales," said CAR president LeFrancis Arnold.

The association is hopeful that new guidelines from the Federal Housing Finance Agency to streamline short sales on agency loans will further expedite and improve the short-sale process.

CAR said most of the complaints on short-sale deals revolve around poor communications from the involved parties and lenders' slow response times. Eight percent of realtors said lenders foreclosed on properties before a short-sale could be completed, but that number is down from 15% a year ago.

When asked about their overall satisfaction in working with lenders on short sales, 59% expressed dissatisfaction, compared to 75% in 2011. The steep drop shows lenders continue to improve when dealing with short-sale transactions, CAR concluded.