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Buying a Home After Bankruptcy

January 27, 2010


Sometimes a young couple who has struggled for years will finally decide to file bankruptcy. For a young family the financial difficulty is often a combination of unstable income, medical bills and overextended credit. While desperate to buy their first home, they have resigned themselves to the belief that the bankruptcy will prevent home ownership for the foreseeable future.

Not so.

Most debtors emerge from bankruptcy financially stronger and determined to not repeat past mistakes. Many debtors who receive bankruptcy discharges have steady jobs, no unsecured debt, and low debt-to-income ratios. Additionally, a bankruptcy debtor cannot receive a second discharge for several years. That actually sounds like a good credit risk combination, right? 

The federal government recognizes that a person who has recently discharged unsecured debt through bankruptcy has little debt, but must demonstrate a commitment to managing credit in a responsible manner. That is why the FHA credit guidelines require the debtor to show two years of responsible credit management after the bankruptcy discharge before it will issue a federal guarantee on a home loan. It is also possible to obtain a federal guarantee after twelve months, if the debtor can show that the bankruptcy was caused by extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control. An FHA guarantee means that the lender is guaranteed money if the borrower defaults on the loan. This federal guarantee makes your loan application more appealing to banks and other lenders.

Rebuilding your credit report and safeguarding your credit score is very important if you want to buy a house after bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney can provide helpful tips regarding the rebuilding process and help you on the path to home ownership.


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