I have a house in Wales. I've had it for a little over four years, and there's really no equity to speak of in it. But the mortgage is cheap and I rent out a couple of bedrooms to lodgers, who between them help me to cover costs.
So I have two big reasons to keep the house:
1. To have some sort of secure base at 'home' and somewhere to keep that little bundle of valuables that are important to me for sentimental reasons.
2. If I tried to sell it, it would likely cost me most of my savings and take forever!
Plus, if I'm not there, I can let out a third bedroom and cover all the costs.
Now renting to lodgers does not always run smoothly. In the last four years, I've had to kick out two of the blighters for offences of indoor smoking and outdoor noise-making. So leaving them unattended is a worry.
Of course, there's the cat too. He owns that house and everyone in it, so he needs to be provided for.
What to do?
I could try to continue remotely. Difficult - how would I know when something was wrong? And if a neighbour reported an issue, how could I judge the offence? I really want to escape all the ties of home while I'm gone, not stress myself out about them.
Well another option is to hire an lettings agent. They would take a hefty commission in return for an impersonal service recruiting, vetting and managing lodgers. To be honest, all my experience of lettings agents has been really, really horrible. They always seemed to be out to screw me over as a tenant - claiming money for cleaning kitchen cupboards, for repainting doors or just for speaking to them. So it just doesn't sit right with me.
A better option is to find a friend, neighbour or relative who was happy to take it on. I have no idea whether there's anyone willing out there...