A foreclosure is a big black mark against your credit. There’s no getting around it. Lenders will be less willing to work with you and if the foreclosure has been within the last 2 years, they may not be willing to work with you at all. When a lender is making a credit decision on a borrower, they are trying to assess your ability to repay the loan. A recent foreclosure makes a very strong argument against your ability to repay a mortgage. This being said, a foreclosure doesn’t mean that you will never be able to buy a home again. Given enough time, you can buy a home after a foreclosure as long as you continue to keep your credit clean. Here are some financing options after a foreclosure.
If you qualify, lenders that offer VA programs are the best place to start. Getting a reasonable interest rate after a foreclosure will be a challenge. That’s why programs like Low VA Rates for veterans are preferable since they’re designed specifically for veterans. The rate you can get won’t be as low as if you had perfect credit with no history of foreclosure, but every little bit helps.
If your prior foreclosure was also a VA loan, be aware that some or all of your entitlement may be tied up in the foreclosed property. Veterans receive entitlement of 25% of the loan amount with the entitlement amount capping at $104,250. Any shortfall from your prior foreclosure will be deducted from this amount. If you had a sizable shortfall, a VA loan may not be an option.
If a VA loan is not an option for you, a FHA-backed loan is your next best option. The FHA requires that you wait a minimum of one year from your foreclosure before they will consider your application again. Your particular circumstances will dictate if you’re eligible after one year through the Back to Work program or not.
If you don’t qualify under this program, you may have to wait up to three years before you will be eligible again. Note that failing to qualify for an FHA loan doesn’t prevent you from getting a mortgage during this waiting period, though a non-FHA loan will carry higher rates in most cases.
Local Credit Unions
Local credit unions often have softer underwriting requirements than more traditional lenders. They are also more likely to perform manual underwriting rather than just plugging your information in to a piece of software. That means that there is actually a person reviewing your specific situation rather than some automatic calculation.
Credit unions can be especially helpful if you already have an established relationship with them. Positive history on a checking account or bank issued credit card will help to offset the negative aspects of your application.
One final source is to speak to a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have their pulse on the market and can submit your information to lenders that are more likely to work with those with recent foreclosures. Rates may be higher, but if you have exhausted all other options it may be the only way you can get a mortgage.
There’s no harm in submitting your information to a mortgage broker. You won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Brokers only get paid if your loan closes.
When All Else Fails
If the above options fail, don’t get discouraged. A foreclosure doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to buy a home again. But it will take time and work to put the foreclosure in the past and rebuild your credit. As you’re waiting for time to pass, continue to pay your bills on time. So long as you don’t add any negative marks to your credit, try applying again in 6 to 12 months. You will eventually reach the point where a lender is willing to move forward.