DEAR BENNY: My self-employed son and his new wife built a house several years ago at the top of the market. Last year, they decided to take advantage of slightly depressed real estate values in another state, and contracted to build a house there. The first house was put on the market at substantially less than they paid for it. They got no offers until someone asked to rent it with an option to buy.

Under the supervision of a property management agency they signed a one-year lease with the renter who recently defaulted in December. The house is now vacant, and despite their substantial downpayment cannot be sold for anywhere near what they owe on the mortgage.

After a year of paying two big mortgages, they are desperate and almost ready to sacrifice their credit to a foreclosure. What is the best way of getting rid of the first house under these circumstances? –Kris

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