There are pros and cons to each scenario.
Not knowing your particular situation in regards to equity in your house, I can only give you a multitude of answers:
(1) If you purchased in 2001, you may have equity in your house. Yes, you will not get as much money for your house as you would if you were selling in a strong "seller's market,â€ but you would get out from under your current mortgage which would allow you to move on with your life. If moving on involves purchasing a house in Dallas, you may well be eligible for the $6500 home buyer tax credit available to current home owners. I say this because if you owned your current home since 2001 and have lived in it as your principal residence for at least 5 of the past 8 years â€“ you qualify. This $6500 tax credit can be viewed as off-setting at least a portion of the loss in profits involved in selling your house in Canton. Please keep in mind that this opportunity expires in 2010 â€“ here are the rules:
Must have a negotiated, signed sales contract by April 30, 2010
Must close by June 30, 2010
(2) If you have no equity in your current house -- perhaps you didn't put 20% down, or you have taken out a second mortgage to make certain improvements to your home in Canton -- you can still sell your current home and move on. This involves a process called a "Short Sale." By definition, your lender allows you to sell your current home for less than the total amount owed on your mortgage note -- short. You can do this even if you have more than one mortgage. The outcome of this involves many scenarios:
Sometimes the lender lets you completely out of the $ difference between sale price and mortgage amount
Sometimes you sign a promissory note for part of the difference, sometimes not . . .
I cannot advise you fully without knowing your particular situation. I can tell you that I am a NAR (National Association of Realtors) Certified Short-Sale and Foreclosure Specialist and if sitting down with you in person, would lay out all of the scenarios so that you can make an informed choice.
Certainly an option, but be this your decision, please undertake it with open eyes, considering the following . . .
a) You are in Texas and your house is in Canton, Michigan. You will have to pay someone to collect rent, answer maintenance calls, mow the lawn, shovel the snow and generally keep a good eye on the property and tenant, etc.
b) You will lose your principal residence exemption, and therefore, your taxes will go up 30%.
c) You need to notify your insurance company. It will cost you more to insure your home as a rental.
d) There are many, many, many bank-owned, foreclosed, a/k/a REO homes available for sale. This gives opportunities to buyers who may have been in a price-bracket to lease a home who are now able to buy. Of course, this will be a competitor to you should you decide to sell, but currently there is a 30% back load of REOs which the banks haven't even put on the market yet. Count on this going on and on . . .
I hope that you are getting some good information here â€“ from my answer as well as others. Trulia is a good resource for this and you are wise to collect this valuable information so that you can make the decision that is best for you. I welcome the opportunity to help.