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After Bankruptcy, a Mortgage May Be Within Reach Sooner Than You Think

Homeownership is a big part of the American dream for many individuals and families. But, if you are already struggling beneath a burdensome debt load, it may seem out of reach.

Bankruptcy can be a workable solution to your debt problems. Even so, many consumers are apprehensive about bankruptcy, wondering how it will affect their ability to obtain a home loan in the future. Fortunately, with the right credit-building strategies, bankruptcy does not have to unduly impact your ability to get your own home.

As Little As One Year After Chapter 13, Two After Chapter 7 for Mortgage Eligibility

It can come as a shock when bankruptcy filers learn that a bankruptcy may stay on their credit report for seven to ten years. But, merely having a bankruptcy in your credit history by no means disqualifies you for a mortgage. In fact, you may be eligible for a mortgage in as little as one year following your bankruptcy.

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (the most common type of consumer bankruptcy in which most types of debts are fully discharged) you are eligible to apply for a mortgage in two years for an FHA loan or a VA loan. Eligibility for a conventional mortgage loan (one that is not government insured) takes four years after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which debts are consolidated and fully or partially repaid over a three to five year term, you may obtain a mortgage even sooner. You can be eligible for an FHA or VA loan in as little as one year after filing, and a conventional loan in two years.

While the timeframes outlined above are industry standards, sometimes lenders will make an exception and approve a loan earlier if there were extenuating circumstances out of the lender's control that caused the bankruptcy. Unemployment by the primary wage earner, the death of a spouse or medical bills resulting from an unexpected injury are all examples of one-time occurrences that can cause bankruptcy and may entitle a borrower to a shorter waiting period for a mortgage. Keep in mind, however, that it is rare for a bankruptcy filer to obtain a mortgage in a shorter amount of time than the industry standards; those who do get mortgages more quickly have backed up their hardship claims with extensive documentation.

Getting a Mortgage Not Guaranteed - Build Your Credit to Improve Your Odds

Getting a mortgage after filing for bankruptcy is not simply a matter of waiting out the eligibility timeframe: for anyone who wants a home loan, success depends on strength of credit. This means that if you want to obtain a mortgage as soon as you are eligible after filing for bankruptcy, you must work hard to build credit. Get a credit card and pay off the balance immediately; start saving at least 10 percent of your take-home pay to establish a pattern of saving and to build toward a large down payment; pay rent and utility bills on time. If you follow these credit-building steps, your credit will likely be strong enough to obtain a mortgage as soon as you are eligible.

A bankruptcy by no means has to derail your dream of owning a home. On the contrary, it can help you escape the debt that is holding you back and set you up to build toward a new future of homeownership. If you are struggling with debt, talk to a Tampa bankruptcy attorney today to learn more about what bankruptcy can do for you.

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Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405
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Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G

St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: 727-532-3939
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At the Tampa Bay law firm, the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we help people with consumer bankruptcy matters in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg,  Florida communities such as Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Thonotosassa, Riverview, Lutz, Plant City, Brandon, Carrollwood, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg Beach, Lakeland, Mulberry, Dade City, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Odessa, Oldsmar and Lithia, and counties such as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County and Manatee County.