Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Repairing Your Credit After a Foreclosure

Repairing your credit after a foreclosure will take some time but is possible
Understanding why your home went into foreclosure and making financial adjustments will go a long way toward buying another home

Enduring a foreclosure on your home is painful and disheartening. Even though the past three years have been tough for many homeowners, being in the same boat doesn’t make the situation any better. Foreclosures have many ramifications for the family, the least being a damaged credit score that could prevent future homeownership.

All is not lost. A foreclosure stays on your credit record for seven years, while a bankruptcy is 10 years. While you won’t own another home with a mortgage in the near future, you can look to the future and begin making repairs.

First, examine the cause for the foreclosure. Possibly a job loss or health issues prevented you from making mortgage payments. In these cases you can apply to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in three years. If the foreclosure is due to financial mismanagement, the waiting period is seven years.

Request a copy of your credit report from all of the three credit bureaus–Trans Union, Experian and Equifax–and write a detailed explanation of the foreclosure for each bureau. This is especially important if the foreclosure was the result of health issues or a job loss. It’s not going to change your score now, but in the future the facts may help you look credible to a potential lender. You can receive a free credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com.

Pay your bills on time. Credit reports look at payment history, so it is extremely important to make regular payments on your accounts, including utilities. You will demonstrate that you are now stable and have a consistent financial plan in place. That makes you more appealing to lenders.

Oddly enough, you should apply for credit. Just a little at a time, but having a car payment, a credit card or a department store revolving charge will begin the rebuilding process. Don’t go crazy though–keep you purchases low and pay them off every month.

Plan a budget and adjust your spending habits. Doing this will relieve more financial stress. Keep track of how you’ve spent money and evaluate those purchases at the end of each month. You’ll have physical proof of what you bought and can determine if that purchase was really necessary.

By being patient and practicing financial discipline for the next few years, you may indeed be able to purchase another home and start a better life.

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