After filing bankruptcy, you may think that you will never be able to get a new mortgage to buy a home, particularly if you've also lost a home to foreclosure.

But you would be surprised. Even though a chapter 7 bankruptcy can stay on your credit for 10 years from filing date (chapter 13 for 7 years), the mandatory waiting period to apply for a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is from two to four years.

In fact it is even possible to apply for an FHA loan while you are in chapter 13 bankruptcy, so long as you have been on your plan for at least one year, and have paid all of your trustee payments timely.

But you should do what you can to repair and rebuild your credit first, in order to get the best interest rate that you can. As a New York Times article recently said, just because you can apply for a mortgage loan doesn't mean you should. You don't want to get stuck with a lousy interest rate.

That is why our law firm does a free "credit cleanup" for our clients following their bankruptcies, to make the credit bureaus accurately report their discharged debts as a zero balance. We also offer our clients a "7 Steps to a 720 Credit Score" course offered at to teach them how credit scores work, and how to obtain a 720 or higher credit score within 12-24 months after a bankruptcy.

So yes, filing bankruptcy is something to be avoided if you can, but if you can't avoid it, it is not the end of the credit world for you, not by a long shot. If you have serious debt problems and live in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, call our office at 713-772-8037 to make an appointment or request information

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization