Your primary residence is exempt from creditor attack, thanks to Florida's liberal homestead laws. So, you don't have to worry about losing the home, as long as you aren't in debt to Uncle Sam.
If you allow the 2nd home to go into foreclosure, or to a short sale, you will receive cancellation of debt income from the lender by way of a 1099c. So, the only thing that the short sale really buys you is a smaller tax bill. At $180,000, it could be $50,000 in taxes, if you're foreclosed -- not a pleasant prospect, but you could probably work out a payment plan with the IRS, or you could try to borrow against the primary residence and pay the government off.
The short sale is a better deal, but only if the net outcome is a smaller 1099c. Otherwise, the result will be identical.
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