Mortgage Debt Relief Act extended through the new year

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According to a survey by YouWalkAway.com, the extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 will drive more short sales in 2013.

The act was set to expire at the end of 2012, but Congress voted to extend it another year, thus providing debt forgiveness for underwater homeowners who choose a short sale, loan modification, or foreclosure rather than defaulting on their loan.

While the report doesn't see a new wave of mortgage defaults this year, the extension of the act will provide tax relief for those homeowners who are currently in foreclosure. New foreclosure applicants, however, can only expect to have that tax relief for a year (which is how long the act has been extended) – a time period that may not be enough because of how long some foreclosures can take.

As an alternative to defaulting on your loan, a short sale or loan modification may be the best route.