Home Refinancing Post Bankruptcy – Is This Possible?

Home Refinancing Post Bankruptcy – Is This Possible?


As the financial markets heave, millions of American are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with their bills. Furloughs, lay offs, and salary reductions are weighing in. In addition, home values have plummeted yet at the same time mortgage payments and taxes are on the rise for some.

credit crunchThese days, we might assume that the homeowner who declares personal bankruptcy is doing so because their home went into foreclosure. But, not every person who owns a home is behind on their house payments. Instead, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards and other non-housing debt may have overwhelmed their finances, making it difficult for them to stay solvent.

For the person who still owns their home, who isn’t behind on payments, but is essentially bankrupt, one question remains: can they still refinance their home post bankruptcy?

That question isn’t easy to answer, particularly in light of the recent push by the Obama administration to ensure that struggling homeowners receive a modified mortgage, one with a lower interest rate and resultant lower monthly payment. If you qualify for this type of court ordered assistance, than that answer is yes.

For everyone else, there are a number of factors to consider before seeking home refinancing:

Keep up with your debt obligations. Some of your debt may have been discharged in bankruptcy court, but you also have monthly utility bills to pay, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, mortgage payments and other expenses. Pay these on time and you’ll demonstrate a proven track record.

Apply for new credit. Credit has tightened considerably over the past year, therefore your chances of obtaining new credit with a recent bankruptcy on your credit record are slim. However, if you are approved make sure that you carefully use your new credit card and pay it off monthly. Again, you’ll be proving to creditors that you can responsibly manage your personal debt.

Save your money. Many Americans are saving their money these days, the best savings rate in more than a quarter of a century. This is a good practice because having an emergency fund in place can ensure that you’ll be able to handle life’s emergencies as they come without falling back into debt.

Approximately one year after having your personal bankruptcy completed, go ahead and start obtaining mortgage quotes. You’ll know right away if you’ve been approved and your loan terms. If your rate is high, then the effects of your personal bankruptcy are still weighing in, therefore you may want to wait for at least six months before applying again.

In the meantime, obtain copies of your credit reports and your credit score and settle any open issues with creditors that you may have. Remember, the higher your credit score the more likely you’ll be approved for home loan refinancing. Personal bankruptcy may have set you back for awhile, but it need not hold your down for the long term.


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".