Your property value has most likely declined further since Feb. 2009. You could get a home equity loan, like you were looking into back then, yes there will be fees to do that, but you also have to be able to afford the payments.
There are still a lot of homeowners in Montebello that are defaulting on their loans, causing foreclosures & more properties will still decline in value. If you don't think you can hold onto this house for another 5-10yrs, you should sell now.
Or else you're going to be back on Trulia again in a year asking if you should sell, and I'm going to be telling you that you should have sold a year ago when values were higher.
Let me know if I can help, I can let you know what your home is worth Now.
There is a good market for homes right now and since you have probably owned your home for some time, you will be able to make a profit on it and move up. I would recommend you work with an experienced agent in your area in order to prepare your home to appeal to today's buyer and also to price competatively
in today's market.
Best of Luck to you!
2) Take the money you're not using to make mortgage payments and put it in a safe place.
My advice is to never take equity out of real estate (no home equity line, no cash out mortgage). If you put the money you save by not having a mortgage into a safe investment or credit union account, they pay you interest and the money grows. If you take a cash-out a loan, you pay interest. Pretty simple.