BANKRUPTCIES & FORECLOSURES
Can I refinance after bankruptcy?
How bad is a previous foreclosure on credit?
How do you clear up bad credit?
How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on a credit report?
What can I do if I have bad credit?
What options are there after Chapter 11?
Can I refinance after bankruptcy? [back to top]
Refinancing may be prudent but could be difficult after a bankruptcy. If you're considering bankruptcy, you may want to go to your current lender first and explain the situation. If you have been current on your payments, the lender may be accommodating and refinance your loan, easing your financial situation.
How bad is a previous foreclosure on credit? [back to top]
A property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in a borrower's credit history. In terms of the effect on credit history, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale is not as adverse an event as is a forced foreclosure.
How do you clear up bad credit? [back to top]
There is no fast and easy way to repair damaged credit that took months or years to occur. The law allows negative information to appear on an individual's credit record from 7 to 10 years. Now, many states have specific timeframes if you challenge a credit blemish.
The first step is to check your existing credit record. Anyone can obtain copies of their own credit report free of charge if they have been turned down for credit recently. For a fee, people can request copies of their own credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian at (888) 397-3742 experian.com, Equifax at (800) 685-1111 equifax.com and Trans Union at (312) 408-1077 transunion.com. The bureau also should provide instructions on how to read the report and how to dispute any inaccuracies it contains.
If the credit report is correct, take care of any outstanding delinquent obligations first.
Resources: * "Clean Up Your Credit File," Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif.; 2001.
How long do bankruptcies and foreclosures stay on a credit report? [back to top]
Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on a credit report for seven to 10 years.
Some lenders will consider an borrower earlier if they have reestablished good credit. The circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy can also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went through a bankruptcy because your employer had financial difficulties, a lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, the lender probably will be less inclined to be flexible.
What can I do if I have bad credit? [back to top]
While some people have rebounded from a foreclosure to buy another home within several years, credit problems stemming from a foreclosure can continue much longer for others.
Real estate experts say you should be candid with your lender in discussing these issues. If your bankruptcy resulted from losing your job due to your employer's financial difficulties, a lender probably will look upon your situation more favorably than if your bankruptcy was caused by overextended credit cards.
*"Clean Up Your Credit File," Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif.; 2001.
What options are there after Chapter 11? [back to top]
A previous bankruptcy can remain in a credit file for seven to 10 years.
Depending on when the bankruptcy was discharged and what kind of credit a borrower has reestablished since then, it needn't be an obstacle to obtaining loan approval. The longer ago the discharge occurred, the better off a loan applicant will be.
Many lenders also will take into account the circumstances surrounding a bankruptcy. For example, they may look more favorably upon you as a borrower if your bankruptcy was due to financial reverses you suffered due to your employer's own financial difficulties. On the other hand, if you declared bankruptcy because you overextended your personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, a lender probably won't be as forgiving.
If you are in the latter category, you may want to contact a mortgage broker who may qualify them for a "b" or "c ," loan, which usually comes at a higher interest rate.
* "Clean Up Your Credit File," Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif.; 2001.