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Credit repair after foreclosure

All hope isn’t lost after foreclosure. Find out how to rebuild your credit and get another mortgage.

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A foreclosure can be a devastating blow to your credit, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to buy a home again. With the right steps, you can build your credit score and apply for credit, loans and even a mortgage. Learn how a foreclosure affects your credit score and what you can do right now to start repairing your credit.

How does a foreclosure affect your credit score?

A foreclosure can lower your credit score by as much as 160 points. If you already have blemishes on your credit report, such as repossessions, tax liens or bankruptcy, a foreclosure could affect your credit more significantly than if your credit score was in good condition. In either case, you likely won’t be able to apply for a mortgage loan for three to seven years after a foreclosure, depending on your circumstances.

9 tips for credit repair after foreclosure

All hope isn’t lost after foreclosure, though. Use this time to take a closer look at your finances so you can work on repairing your credit and planning for the future. Follow these steps to repair your credit after foreclosure.

  1. Keep accounts paid to date
    Don’t fall behind on other payments just because you’re going through a foreclosure. Staying up to date on all other bills will help to pad your credit score and show future lenders that you’re able to make payments on time.
  2. Keep old accounts open
    Using credit cards and paying off loans are some of the quickest ways to boost your credit score. So, keep your old accounts open and pay down your debt to show creditors that you’re able to manage your money and use credit wisely.
  3. Identify the cause of the foreclosure
    Before you can fix a problem, you have to know what caused it in the first place. Assess your finances and spending history to figure out what caused your missed mortgage payments. Did you go through a job loss, divorce or medical issues that made money tight? Was it because of a miscalculated debt-to-income ratio? Identify the problem, then work toward fixing it to avoid another loan default.
  4. Get professional help
    Credit counselors can help you make a budget and debt management plan, and they can also negotiate lower interest rates on existing loans. However, be cautious of working with debt settlement companies that suggest you purposely stop paying your current debts so that they can settle them, as this could make your credit even worse. Instead, choose reputable, certified credit counselors who works with you to better manage your debt and rebuild your credit.
  5. Apply for a secured credit card
    If you don’t already have a credit card, getting one and diligently making payments on it can help to rebuild your credit. If your foreclosure is keeping you from getting approved for a regular credit card, apply for a secured credit card. These cards require a deposit, have a low maximum spending amount and often don’t require a credit check.
  6. Don’t take out new loans
    While getting a secured credit card can help you rebuild your credit score, taking on a new car loan or personal loan isn’t a good idea right now because it increases your debt-to-income ratio. Work on paying down your existing debt before applying for new loans.
  7. Adjust your spending habits
    Take a closer look at your bank statements and see if there are ways you can trim down on spending. For example, spending $5 each workday on a cup of coffee adds up to $100 a month that could be put toward paying off debt or into savings instead.
  8. Save money
    While rebuilding your credit, try to save as much money as you can. This way when you do go to buy a house again, you’ll have a hefty down payment saved, which can up your odds of being approved for a mortgage. Plus, the more money you put down, the less you’ll have to finance.
  9. Give it time
    Repairing your credit after foreclosure takes some time, so try to be patient and focus on the improvements you can make to better your credit in the meantime. It might seem like a daunting task, but with time and planning, getting good credit back after foreclosure is absolutely possible.

When can I buy a house after a foreclosure?

It depends on your individual circumstances and the type of loan you’re applying for. For conventional mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you’ll have to wait a minimum of three years if an extenuating circumstance — like a job loss, divorce, medical emergency or other major life event — caused you to miss mortgage payments. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait seven years before being eligible for this type of loan again.

You could get an FHA loan as soon as one year after foreclosure if you can prove that an extenuating circumstance was the cause. VA loans typically require that you wait two years after foreclosure to apply for another mortgage. If you’re borrowing from a credit union that offers mortgage loans, you may have more flexibility when applying for another mortgage after foreclosure.

Start your credit repair journey with these services

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Monthly Fee BBB Rating Customer Support Cancel Anytime
Self Lender - Credit Builder Account
$25
A
Phone, Email, Online Chat
Yes
Save money and build credit with a secured-installment loan that you can access after 12 or 24 months.
CreditRepair.com
$99.95
F
Phone, Email, Mail
No
Specializes in clearing your credit report of inaccurate items with all three credit bureaus.
Lexington Law Credit Repair
$89.95
F
Phone, Email
Yes
Law firm that offers three tiers of credit repair suited to your situation.
Credit Firm Professional Credit Repair
Credit Firm Professional Credit Repair
$49.99
A+
Phone, Email, Mail
Yes
Professional credit repair service that can help you create a step by step action plan. Cancel anytime.
The Credit People
$79
C
Phone, Email, Mail
Yes
Professionals work with you to clean up your credit and raise your credit scores. Cancel anytime.
Sky Blue Credit
$79
C
Phone, Email, Mail
Yes
Free credit report and monitoring that comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Starting price Trial period Credit scores Credit monitoring Credit reports Update frequency
Experian Credit Report
$19.99
30 days
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Yes
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Monthly, Annually
Get your credit report and FICO score for just $1 with enrollment in Experian CreditWorks credit monitoring. Cancel anytime.
TransUnion Credit Report
$24.95
No
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Yes
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Monthly
TransUnion credit score, monitoring and identity theft insurance.
myFICO
$19.95
1 day
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Yes
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Monthly
Get quarterly access to your most widely used FICO® Scores and a 3-bureau credit report.
Equifax Small Business Credit Reporting
$15.95
No
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Yes
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Monthly
Monitor your key business relationships to protect your company from losses.
GoFreeCredit.com
$19.95
7 days
TransUnion
Yes
TransUnion
Monthly
$1 for a seven-day trial to get access to your credit score and credit report from TransUnion.
Credit Karma
$0
No
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
Yes
TransUnion, Equifax, Experian
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Nobody goes into buying a home expecting a foreclosure to happen, but the reality is that many people will experience one. If you’re going through the process, know that this blemish on your credit report won’t stay with you forever. It’s possible to buy another house down the road if you take the necessary steps now to rebuild your credit and shore up a realistic budget and debt management plan.

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