How to Reapply for a Mortgage After Bankruptcy

Three Parts:Evaluating Your Finances After a BankruptcyRefinancing Your Home After a BankruptcyGetting a Mortgage After a Bankruptcy

Even though a bankruptcy will stay on your credit record for 8 to 10 years, it is not an automatic bar to establishing new credit, including either refinancing your mortgage or applying for new financing. By monitoring your credit record and building a cash reserve, you should be able to find financing you can afford.

Part 1
Evaluating Your Finances After a Bankruptcy

  1. 1
    Review your credit report. A bankruptcy is going to show up on your credit report and hit your credit score hard. However, it may not be as bad as you think. You are entitled to get three free credit reports per year, one from each of the national credit bureaus.[1][2]
    • To give yourself a good baseline, pull one report as soon as your bankruptcy plan is approved by the court, another in six months, and the third one at the end of the year.
    • Check your credit report carefully to make sure your creditors are not continuing to report the debt as delinquent. Everything that was discharged in your Chapter 7 or is being paid under a Chapter 13 should be shown as included in the bankruptcy.
    • You can monitor your credit score through a free service such as Credit Karma.[3] Do not sign up for any service that requires you to enter a credit card number or bank account information. You could find yourself subscribed to unneeded services after the 30-day "trial" period ends.
  2. 2
    Pay your bills on time. Every delinquent or late financial account can have a negative effect on your credit score.[4] Also, by paying on time, you are helping show your credit worthiness to your lender when you attempt to refinance your mortgage or apply for new financing.[5]
  3. 3
    Consider a secured or other "starter" credit card. Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is discharged or you've developed a good payment history under your Chapter 13 plan, you should have little or no trouble getting a low-limit credit card.[6] Keep your balances under 30-percent of your total credit limit for the best reflection on your credit score.[7]

Part 2
Refinancing Your Home After a Bankruptcy

  1. 1
    Look into reaffirming your existing mortgage. This is usually done during your bankruptcy, but can also happened during a post-bankruptcy foreclosure. A mortgage reaffirmation is basically re-signing your original mortgage. Your loan reverts to the original terms, including the interest rate and payments.[8]
    • Reaffirmations are complicated. While it can save your house and mortgage, it can also trigger negative financial consequences. You should not reaffirm a mortgage without consulting with an attorney experienced in real estate and bankruptcy proceedings.
  2. 2
    Discover if you are eligible for an FHA streamline refinance. If you originally purchased your home with an FHA loan, you may be eligible to refinance it under the "FHA Streamline Refinance" program.[9] Conventional loans may also qualify for a streamline refinance if you can meet the same standards as anyone applying for a FHA loan.[10]
    • You may be eligible for an FHA streamline refinance 24 months after the discharge of your bankruptcy. The waiting period can be shortened to 12 months if your bankruptcy was a result of extenuating circumstances. For example, if your bankruptcy was the result of medical bills or a natural disaster rather than poor financial management.[11][12]
  3. 3
    Consider refinancing through a conventional local lender. The advantage of a local lender is that you can explain your situation face to face and try to negotiate a conventional refinance of your mortgage. A local bank or credit union can use other factors such as length of time as a customer, employment history, and the bank's dedication to local housing to balance factors such as a low credit score and bankruptcy in the underwriting process.[13]
    • A local bank or credit union may also be more likely to consider a local co-signor on your loan.

Part 3
Getting a Mortgage After a Bankruptcy

  1. 1
    Begin a savings plan. Whether you are trying to refinance a current mortgage or applying for a new loan, you will likely be faced with a 3-percent down payment or closing costs. A lender will also want to see your financial resources with your application. A savings account will reflect favorably on your credit worthiness.[14]
  2. 2
    Apply for a conventional mortgage through a government-backed program. The general waiting periods for loans through Fannie Mae[15] is two years (reduced from four years in 2015).[16]. Freddie Mac post-bankruptcy waiting periods are stricter and can range up to 60 months depending on the circumstances of your bankruptcy.[17]
    • Conventional mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have complicated requirements for income, employment, and credit history. A mortgage professional can assist you in determining your qualifications.
  3. 3
    Explore the home-buying options through the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA).[18] If you live within an area served by one of the 40 national offices,[19] you can attend a free seminar to learn if the NACA program may be able to help you purchase a home.[20]
    • The NACA is a non-profit organization that acts as a bridge between potential homeowners and banks. If you can adhere to their guidelines, you may qualify for a no-down payment, market rate conventional mortgage. NACA programs are designed to keep buyers with credit issues from falling into predatory loans.[21]
    • A NACA counselor reviews your cash flow and savings patterns and helps you establish healthy habits. It typically takes up to two years to get through the NACA program.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (18)

Article Info

Categories: Bankruptcy | Mortgages and Loans