Waiting Period After Bankruptcy for a Conventional Loan

Waiting Period After Bankruptcy for a Conventional Loan

Bankruptcy can be a the best solution for individuals who have gotten themselves in a bad financial situation. Through the bankruptcy process, unsecured debts — and even some secured debts — can be discharged.

This allows people to start afresh on solid financial footing, rather than getting buried in mounds of debt with no end in sight. Of course, there are some downsides to filing for bankruptcy, including the immediate hit on your credit score that will come.

If you are also looking to apply for a mortgage, it’s important to understand that there will be a waiting period before you can apply for different types of loans. We’ll discuss that in more detail below.

Understanding the Waiting Period

Once you file for bankruptcy, there is a mandatory waiting period put in place by home lenders before you can apply for a new home loan. Each type of loan has a different waiting period, with conventional mortgages traditionally having the longest period. 

Why Is There a Waiting Period for Mortgages After Bankruptcy?

Lenders have put the waiting period in place to ensure that you didn’t use the bankruptcy process to get in a more favorable financial situation for a home loan. In addition, the lenders want to see that you have done the financial work necessary post-bankruptcy to afford a home loan.

How Long After Bankruptcy Can You Buy a House?

Technically speaking, you can buy a house immediately after you file bankruptcy. However, this isn’t a likely outcome, as most lenders will require the waiting period to get a new home mortgage. And if you had enough cash to purchase a home outright without a loan, you likely wouldn’t have needed to file bankruptcy in the first place.

Waiting Periods by Home Loan Type

The waiting period post-bankruptcy depends on two things — the type of bankruptcy protection you filed and the type of home loan you are seeking.


Bankruptcy and Mortgage Types

As mentioned, each different type of mortgage has a different waiting period post-bankruptcy. In addition, the waiting period also may differ depending on the type of bankruptcy you file.

Conventional Loan Waiting Period: 2–4 Years

Conventional loans have the longest waiting period. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the waiting period is two years from the discharge date or four years from dismissal.

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the waiting period is four years from the discharge date.

FHA Loan Waiting Period: 2 Years

FHA loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, have a shorter waiting period. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the waiting period is one year from the discharge date. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s two years from the discharge date.

USDA Loan Waiting Period: 3 Years

USDA loans, backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have the same one-year waiting period from the discharge date for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and three years from the discharge date for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

VA Loan Waiting Period: 2 Years

VA loans, backed by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, share the waiting period with FHA loans.


Post-Bankruptcy Financial Rehabilitation

The trade-off for the financial freedom that comes from bankruptcy is, of course, the hit to your credit score and the tightening of credit you’re likely to feel from different lenders. These restrictions, though, are only temporary. 

There are plenty of steps that you can take that will help you to re-establish a solid credit profile and get you on the right track.

Getting Your Finances and Credit in Shape

There are many things that you can do to get your finances and credit in shape following bankruptcy. First and foremost, make sure that you create and stick to a solid budget. This will help you to stay on top of your bills, set some money aside for savings and make sure that you don’t find yourself in the same financial position again.

Steps to Improve Your Credit Scores after Bankruptcy

The first step in improving your credit score after bankruptcy is to pay all of your bills on time. By not missing any payments, you’ll be ensuring that you aren’t making your situation worse than it already is.

At some point, it will be a good idea to try to open a credit card so that you can start building your credit. You may not be extended any offers for unsecured credit cards at first, so consider a secured credit card — which will require you to put up collateral, such as cash.

What Can I Do During the Waiting Period After I File Bankruptcy?

During the waiting period, it’s important to put yourself in the best financial position possible. Build your credit as aggressively as you can, put money aside for extra savings and for a down payment, and build a budget that works for you.


Credit and Mortgage Application Process

The mortgage application process post-bankruptcy will be the same as if you never filed bankruptcy. The lender will, of course, look at your entire financial and credit history, which will include your bankruptcy.

How Long After I File Bankruptcy Can I Apply for a Mortgage?

As mentioned above, different mortgage types have different waiting periods.

Minimum Credit Score Requirements

The minimum credit score requirements vary by mortgage type as well. Typically speaking, you will need a minimum credit score of 620 for a conventional loan. An FHA loan will require a credit score of 580 if you’re making a down payment of 3.5% or 500 if you’re making a 10% down payment.

While the VA doesn’t have a credit requirement, most lenders will require a credit score of 580 for this type of loan. The same goes for USDA loans, though many lenders will require a credit score of at least 640.

Importance of Credit Report in Mortgage Approval

Lenders will take a look at every aspect of your current financial status and past financial history to make a lending decision. 


Strategies for Mortgage Approval After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy isn’t a death sentence for a future mortgage. There are things you can do to put yourself in a good position in time.

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage after Bankruptcy

Make sure that you increase your credit score by reducing debt and paying all your bills on time. Set and keep a good budget that includes extra money set aside for savings. And ensure that you establish a stable income.

Write a Letter of Explanation to Lenders

A good idea could be to write a letter of explanation to lenders. This gives you the opportunity to explain why you filed for bankruptcy, and the steps you have taken to change your financial situation in the time since.

Respond To Lender Inquiries

It’s always advisable to be on top of all lender inquiries. Don’t be afraid to talk about your bankruptcy and what you’ve done to put yourself in a better position since then.


Types of Mortgage Loans Post-Bankruptcy

There are many different types of mortgage loans you can get after a bankruptcy.

What Are FHA Loans?

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Authority, which guarantees a large portion of the loan. They are offered through private lenders with the government’s backing. 

The minimum requirements to qualify are lower, including a down payment of as little as 3.5%.

What Are Conventional Loans?

Conventional loans are considered the gold standard of mortgages. They follow all standards of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They typically have the most competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options. You’ll need a better interest rate to qualify, and will need to make a down payment of at least 20% to avoid paying monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Understanding Different Mortgage Loan Options After Bankruptcy

It’s important to understand the different type of mortgage loan options you’ll have after bankruptcy. Which loans you will qualify for will depend on your current situation as well as that of the house.

For instance, to qualify for a VA loan, you must be a veteran or active duty military personnel, or be a spouse of one. To qualify for a USDA loan, your home must be located in what’s considered a rural part of the country.


Navigating Bankruptcy and Its Aftermath

Navigating bankruptcy can be difficult and challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Is It Hard To Get New Credit After Bankruptcy?

Getting new credit after bankruptcy may be difficult at first, but after building up your credit by paying bills on time, it will get much easier.

Need Help Navigating the Bankruptcy Process?

You should never go into the bankruptcy process alone. It’s complicated, complex and can get quite expensive. That’s why you should always hire an experienced bankruptcy law firm such as Babi Legal to help you navigate the bankruptcy process.

Reset Your Finances

If you’ve found yourself in a bad financial situation, you can reset your finances by filing bankruptcy. To find out your options, contact Babi Legal today.