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Regarding keeping the house as a rental after the contract, that is actually the plan...

Ah. My impression was that you were undecided whether to sell or rent it after the contract was up. Since you'll either sell for profit or keep for rent, and your time frame will probably be more than 4 years, the numbers lean toward a purchase.

I wouldn't want to be a landlord, because it's all I can do to keep up with the maintenance/improvements on one house, but that's just me. Plus, in this situation it would create more time apart if you maintain one house and your DH the other. But everyone's personality is different, and if you're OK with all the personal considerations, then this is a good opportunity to pick up an investment property.
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