How badly will a “short sale” affect my credit?

I owe a home that I am no longer living in (I was promoted and moved out of state). I absolutely cannot continue to pay both the mortgage as well as my rent in my new city. My house has declined in value by at least 50k since I purchased it in November 2005 (the house is in Florida). I don’t know what to do other than a short sale but I’ve heard that this can affect your credit but no one can tell me how much. I have a tenant who is renting from me but the market is so bad in my area, the rent he’s paying is only covering a fraction of the mortgage. Will a short sale completely ruin my credit? Are there other alternatives I can investgate?

Also….I already applied for a “loan modification” but am not hopeful that I will be approved.

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