I'm sure this isn't the right forum for this question but I couldn't see anywhere else to post it.
I'm looking for some information & advice & hoping that some other community members will have some good input.
We have owned our vacation rental in Florida for almost 8 years. The home has never broken even - we have made a loss each year, even when there has been a healthy amount of rentals. Raising our rates does not help - there is too much competition.
A few years ago my husband had an illness & had to change his job & take a large drop in salary.
As a result I have been handling all the costs of our vacation home by myself.
Last year we started to have problems - firstly the A/C broke down and was an expensive fix. Secondly, we had guests that introduced bed bugs.
We have had professional pest control in several times but so far the pests seem to keep coming back. I have had guests leave in the middle of their stay, some I have had to find alternative accommodation for before they arrive, and others I have just had to cancel. We get the all-clear from the pest company and so allow guests back in, only to find several weeks later that a guest reports bites! This is costing loads of money in terms of pest control, laundry & cleaning and lost rentals. Also, we are now being sued by the first family that were bitten, and being threatened with action by another.
I am really run down by it all. The amount of work involved in bringing in rentals and now the added stress of these pests is making me want to get rid of the home. However, our mortgage is more than the value of the property. Currently there are no outstanding debts other than the mortgage itself. Our HOA, utility, taxes etc are all up to date. I would like to know what our options are. Would we be able to do a short sale or do we need to be delinquent in our mortgage? Is there a way to return ownership of the property to our lender & just walk away?
We are not US residents - we live in the UK so don't fully understand all the intricacies of US real estate ownership (we researched how to buy but we didn't expect to be facing this!)
I'm thinking of meeting with our (US) lender to discuss this the next time we come over for a vacation, but in the meantime if anyone has any input I would grateful to hear it.
Thanks (& sorry for the long post) !