How Long After Bankruptcy, Foreclosure or a Short Sale Until I Qualify for a Home / Mortgage Loan?

I represent many people that file bankruptcy, have a short sale or foreclosure. So, I get the following expected questions on a regular basis.

After Bankruptcy – When Do I Qualify To Buy a Home?

After Foreclosure – When Do I Qualify To Buy a Home?

After Short Sale – When Do I Qualify To Buy a Home?

In 2013 a good friend that happened to be a mortgage loan officer with experience provided me with the matrix below.  I believe it can still give you a decent idea of what lenders think about new mortgage / home loans following a bankruptcy (Chapter 7 & 13), foreclosure and a short sale.

To determine when you might qualify for a loan, just find your event across the top “Occurrence” row (Foreclosure, Short Sale, Deed in Lieu, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy) and drop down until you get into the “Product” column with the type of loan you are seeking (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA Rural, Jumbo).  The information in the intersecting box indicates when you are now might qualify for a loan (i.e., when the “occurrence” no longer disqualifies you from that type of loan).

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A Good Credit Score Is Still Needed

Of course, once you get past the “occurrence”, you will still have to have good credit score to qualify for the loan.   My article on life “After Bankruptcy” discusses how your credit score is calculated (see section entitled, “6. Understand How Your Credit Score is Calculated – and Act Accordingly”).   The good news is that a credit score can be rebuilt in time to qualify for a new home loan.  As proof, I have a client in an active Chapter 13 that just qualified for a $200K home mortgage.  So, yes, it can happen.

If You Need To File Bankruptcy And You Don’t …

Also, people need to remember that while filing bankruptcy can disqualify them for a home loan for a while. not filing bankruptcy if it is needed can be worse.  In short, if a person has a whole bunch of past-due debts still owed and maybe a few judgments and garnishments, do you think they are going to easily qualify for a good home loan?  I suggest not.  Their credit score is going to be terrible with all of the negative items on their report.  A bad credit score means no home loan.  I’ll further note that judgments in Washington are good for ten years and, if unpaid, can be renewed for another ten years.    From the chart above, you can see that filing bankruptcy can disqualify you from a home loan for one to four years.  If you need to file a not file, you might be disqualified for up to twenty years.  You get the idea.

Free Initial Consultation

If you are experiencing financial problems, feel free to contact us and request a free initial consultation.  We have the experience and information you want/need in order to make a good decision.


  1. Sal tehs says:

    My foreclosure does not show on the credit bureaus even deed is transferred only two years ago
    Can I apply for a mortgage even it does not show on my credit reports
    I live in New York state

  2. lisa clements says:

    what is the name of a lender if you are under chapter 13 to get a home loan

    • I know whom I might send you to if you were in SW WA. The best approach is to call a bunch of brokers/lenders and see which one seems best. Sorry I could not be of more assistance. Sometimes it is just hit and miss to find a mortgage broker/lender that knows this niche.

  3. Mahina T. Coover says:

    Hi, thinking of filing bankruptcy. We had bankruptcy in late 2008 and discharged in early 2009 with your office as well as two of my girlfriends. Does your office have plenty or any experience with credit union debts secure and unsecured or cross collateralization experience with clients. Most of our debt is with credit union, personal loans, credit cards and two vehicle loans. Of course we have other debts with different credit card lenders. We would like to keep one of the vehicle and assume the car loan but not assuming the rest of the loans that is a cross collateral with the car. Just want to know if you could still do that reaffirming the car but not the rest of the loans that is attached to the car. Also, what kind of bankruptcy we would be qualified: two people and total gross annual income is $62,390.00 Thanks.

    • Plenty of experience? I have been a consumer bk attorney for about 28 years. So, I am have some, for sure. Your question is not quickly answered. In short, in a Chapter 7 a valid cross collateralization means you cannot force the creditor to allow you to retain the vehicle by just reaffirming the car loan. But there is more to it than that. Other options likely exist. Feel free to make an appointment if you want to go over your particular options.

  4. Jackie Stone says:

    We filed Chapter 13 in June 2014 with a moratorium making the bankruptcy 3 years this past Oct. I have done a little research and from what I gather we should be able to refinance with a Va loan (yes we are eligible for a Va). We own the house outright but owe a 35,0000 personal loan to someone. We would like to get a lien on this property than refinance. We have managed to bring our credit scores to between 670-710 between the both of us. I would like verification of something, please. Do we qualify first for the loan, then go to the lawyer with the qualification, is that correct? Thank you for your assistance.

    • As a general rule, you want to make sure you are qualified for the anticipated loan before you have the attorney do the actual work to get you approved for the loan. That way you get to avoid the potential extra atty fees for that work if you either do not qualify or do qualify but do not need the loan for some reason (e.g., can’t find the “right” house, etc). But, absolutely, you want to check with you attorney for the procedure to get approved for your jurisdiction. Please feel free to return and tell us of your experience in pursuing the loan. Thanks!

  5. Sam McLean says:

    My husband and I are in our third year of bankruptcy and in the process of purchasing a home. While filing a motion to incur debt our lawyers office sent a copy of the motion to the seller’s real estate agent. Is this practice customary?

    • Is is customary? It would not surprise me, nor would it necessarily strike me as inappropriate to give notice of the motion to the party waiting for an Order allowing you to buy the home (which requires approval to incur debt). I hope that helps.

  6. Hi Robert, I have filed for Chapter 13, it has not been approved yet. I was interested in buying a home that came up for sale next door, I have a partner that is willing to go in on it with me. What is the proper protocol. Do I have to disclose potential assets to my lawyers and amend my filing to reflect this additional asset?

    • Well, as a general rule you have to file a motion with the court to get approval. It can be quite complicated. I’d ask your 13 attorney the specific process in your jurisdiction. Typically, you would not amend your schedules to show ownership of a home purchased after filing. Normally. Again, please check with your attorney for the specifics of your circumstances.

  7. Elizabeth Letinsky says:

    Hi Robert, I am in the process of buying a house but I need a cosigner. My father offered to be my cosigner but he is in chapter 13, he only has 9 more payments and he is done with his 60 month terms. He made all his payments on time. The attorney already filed a Motion to incur debt. what do you think can be the results will the court say yes?

    • Well, I suspect the court may well approve the request since it does not seem like it will impact his plan and he, apparently, is in compliance and almost done. But, it depends on how the Judge sees the situation.

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