5 Tips for Buying a Home Post-bankruptcy

By on May 17, 2013

Many people think that bankruptcy is the end. That you’ll never recover, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at Donald Trump. This billionaire has actually filed more than once and he’s certainly not any worse for the wear. That’s not to say that it’s not a serious issue. Still, you can purchase a home after filing bankruptcy. You just need to follow a few tips.

Get the Bankruptcy Discharged

Before you can apply for a mortgage, your bankruptcy will need to be discharged. If it hasn’t been, a lender won’t even consider your application and you’ll waste a lot of time.

Spruce Up Your Credit Report

Once your bankruptcy has been discharged, download a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus and check each one for inaccuracies. For example, even though your previous debts have been settled, you may find that the amounts are still showing on your credit report. These errors can make it impossible to get a mortgage. Also, it may take a few weeks for the information to be cleared so make sure to give yourself enough time.

Start Rebuilding Credit

Yes, bankruptcy destroys your credit. However, there are many companies out there that are willing to give you a chance. By opening secured credit cards, you can build your credit report without risking any debt. You can also open store cards pretty easily and the benefit of these is that they usually have low limits. Charge small amounts that you can pay off monthly to help build credit.

Watch Your Debt to Credit Ratio

It’s important to open credit card accounts so that you can begin to rebuild your credit. What you don’t want to do is max out those cards. You want to have a healthy debt to credit ratio. A high debt to credit ratio will raise red flags with lenders. For example, if you have $10,000 of credit, but have charged $9,000, your debt to credit ratio is terrible. Try to keep your debt to credit ratio below 10%.

Increase Your Assets

Assets look good to lenders because they help prove that you’re financially responsible. A 401k or IRA (or both) are a great place to start. You can also build your assets through growing your bank accounts and investing in bonds and CDs. The more assets you have the better the chance of getting a mortgage.

Bankruptcy isn’t the end. While it will affect your credit for a number of years, you can make a fresh start and get a mortgage to buy a new home. Still want to buy a home? You can find more information here about lending practices and your finances.

About Nicole Keller