DEAR BENNY: My husband and I purchased a second home for $300,000 in November 2008. We were planning to move into that house and sell our current residence. We put $15,000 into repairs on the house. Our children do not want to move and we came to realize after the purchase that we are happier where we are. What should we do: sell and cut our losses since the market value has decreased, or rent? –Jackie

DEAR JACKIE: The first question is whether you can afford to carry two houses for a couple of years. Even if you decide to rent, you have to understand that being a landlord is not always lucrative — and clearly never fun. You may have two to three months when the property remains vacant, and you still have to pay the mortgage, insurance and real estate taxes. Additionally, there are always minor (and sometimes major) repairs that will be necessary. And when there are tenants, they often find problems with the house — real or imagined — that you will have to correct.

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