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How to Get a Mortgage After Bankruptcy


How to Get a Mortgage After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can feel like a significant setback, especially when it comes to major financial goals such as buying a home. However, obtaining a mortgage after bankruptcy is possible with the right steps and a clear plan. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the process.

1. Understand the Waiting Period

One of the first things to know is that there is a mandatory waiting period after bankruptcy before you can qualify for a mortgage. The length of this waiting period depends on the type of bankruptcy filed and the type of mortgage you are seeking:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Generally requires a waiting period of 2-4 years.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Typically, you must wait 2-4 years from the discharge date, or 2 years from the dismissal date.

Certain programs might have more lenient waiting periods:

  • FHA Loans: May allow you to apply after 2 years with proof of reestablished credit.
  • VA Loans: Often have a 2-year waiting period.
  • USDA Loans: Typically require a 3-year waiting period.

2. Rebuild Your Credit

Improving your credit score is essential to qualifying for a mortgage post-bankruptcy. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Pay Bills on Time: Consistently paying all your bills on time is crucial. Late payments can significantly harm your credit score.
  • Secure a Secured Credit Card: Use a secured credit card to build credit. Ensure the card issuer reports to all three major credit bureaus.
  • Keep Credit Utilization Low: Aim to use less than 30% of your available credit limit. High credit utilization can negatively impact your score.
  • Check Credit Reports: Regularly review your credit reports for errors and dispute any inaccuracies.

3. Save for a Down Payment

A larger down payment can improve your chances of getting a mortgage after bankruptcy. Aim to save at least 10-20% of the home’s purchase price. This not only lowers the loan amount but also demonstrates financial responsibility to lenders.

4. Get Pre-Approved

Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This involves a lender reviewing your financial situation and determining how much they are willing to lend you. Pre-approval strengthens your position as a serious buyer and helps you understand what you can afford.

5. Provide a Letter of Explanation

Prepare a letter of explanation to address your bankruptcy. This letter should detail the circumstances that led to the bankruptcy and what steps you have taken to rectify your financial situation. Lenders appreciate transparency and evidence of your financial recovery.

6. Explore Different Lenders and Loan Options

Not all lenders have the same criteria for approving post-bankruptcy mortgages. Shop around and compare different lenders and loan options:

  • FHA Loans: Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans are more forgiving of past credit issues.
  • VA Loans: Available to veterans, service members, and eligible spouses, VA loans often have more flexible credit requirements.
  • Subprime Lenders: Some lenders specialize in borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. Be cautious, as these loans might come with higher interest rates.

7. Consider Hiring a Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker can help you navigate the complexities of getting a mortgage after bankruptcy. They have access to a wide range of lenders and can help you find the best deal based on your financial situation.

8. Be Patient and Persistent

Rebuilding credit and saving for a down payment takes time. Stay patient and persistent. Continue to monitor your credit, manage your finances responsibly, and avoid taking on new debts.

Obtaining a mortgage after bankruptcy requires careful planning and diligent effort. By understanding the waiting periods, rebuilding your credit, saving for a down payment, and exploring various loan options, you can successfully navigate the path to homeownership. Remember, financial setbacks do not define your future, and with determination and discipline, you can achieve your goal of owning a home.


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