I urgently need to speak with an expert in the home mortgage / real estate / home rental field in Maryland. Someone who can advise me how to proceed. Here is why:
In 2006 my salary had grown to the point that renting meant I was throwing away money in taxes, when I could instead be paying a mortgage that would a. be an investment in the future, and b. be a nice, completely legal tax shelter. And then 2008 happened. In the crash of 2008 the housing bubble burst; unless you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years you'll know that by 2006 the housing market was already inflated. I knew that things like "interest only mortgages" and "credit default swaps" had to be like the lottery (a tax on people who are bad at math), but at worst I thought the market would depress for a year or 2 before leveling off and continuing a much saner climb over time. This is why I do not work in the financial sector.
So the Mrs. and I did the responsible thing (she was not yet the Mrs., but certainly the future Mrs. at that point) and found a home that we liked, in an up and coming neighborhood, that we (and here's the kicker) could afford. Stupid me! I should have bought a house that I was struggling to make the payments on so that when the economy collapsed the government would come riding in and reward me for my complete inability to do arithmetic!
Choices and circumstances after we moved in have led me to a position that is a 2 hour commute away from this affordable home with gorgeous woodwork on the corner of Redneck St. and HellandGone Ave., the home which our original plan was to keep in decent shape and then sell after 5 years. A nice starter home for us to you know, get started in our life together before our circumstances improved and we could afford (!!) something nicer, something closer to work. It was 5 years this January*.
The position I currently hold is one I like very much. The plan when I took this position -- which dovetailed nicely with what I thought the recovery would do -- was to only undertake this Herculean commute for a year or so while we found a new place to live. Or so has turned into almost 3 years**, and if I have to drive over South Mountain too many more times, I'm just going to set up camp on the mountain top and become a guru on the Appalachian Trail, waving to passers by on the highway like I'm running for office, because I'll be giving up.
As I see it we currently have three options:
1. We rent out our home and move (renting ourselves) closer to work, and take on all the inherent risks there. I have heard plenty of horror stories about people who rent.
2. We walk away from the house and do one of those deals where the bank writes off the balance of our mortgage. Foreclosure? Short Sale? Whichever is less of a credit score hit that relieves me of the property.
3. I quit the good paying job that I really enjoy to take a much lower-paying position closer to home where they breathe down your neck if you aren't at your desk working at 7:59 every morning and give you the stink eye if your butt lifts from the chair a moment prior to 5:01pm.
Friend; Dear Reader, I ask you: if you know someone who is the expert I described above, won't you please put me in contact with them? My gratitude would be eternal. I might even cook for you.
*We bought in December but didn't move in until January.
**2 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, so not so much "almost" as it is "is going to end up being at least".