How Does a Foreclosure Impact Your Credit Score?

Ask this question and you will quickly find out there is no simple answer.  Below are some guidelines for the various secondary market entities in regards to financing post foreclosure, short sale, deed in lieu, or bankruptcy.  First step is to understand how each of these organizations define hardship.

  • FHA: An event that was out of the borrower’s control that made a significant impact on the borrower’s finances and led to bankruptcy or foreclosure.
  • Fannie Mae: A nonrecurring event that’s beyond the borrower’s control that results in a sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or a catastrophic increase in financial obligations.
  • Freddie Mac: A nonrecurring or isolated circumstance, or set of circumstances, that was beyond the borrower’s control and that significantly reduced income and/or increased expenses and rendered the borrower unable to repay obligations as agreed, resulting in significant adverse or derogatory credit information.

Realize that every situation is different and how your specific financial situation is perceived by an underwriter is, well, up to the underwriter.  These are broad guidelines but are helpful to understanding the impact of a choice made in regards to your mortgage and total debt.

If you know that you owe more than your home is worth and you know that soon you will not be able to keep up on all of your bills, review this chart carefully and consult with a REALTOR®, accountant, and attorney.  Sit down with all three before making  a decision.  One of the best options may  be to short sale your home before you fall behind on your mortgage payments.  This will be best case for protecting your credit and therefore your best chance for renting a home or buying a home again.  The links in table provide definitions.  This information is sourced from the FHA Handbook, Fannie Mae Selling Guide, and Freddie Mac Selling Guide.

FHA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac
Foreclosure •3-year wait.

•Reduced wait if borrower has re-established good credit and can show extenuating circumstances.

•7-year wait from the completed foreclosure sale date.

•3-year wait if borrower can show extenuating circumstances (additional underwriting requirements apply for 4 years after 3-year waiting period).

•7-year wait for a second home, investment opportunity, or cash-out refinancing.

•5-year wait from the completed foreclosure sale date.

•3-year wait if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Short Sale or

Deed in lieu of Foreclosure

No wait if not in default.

•3-year wait if in default at closing of short sale.

•Reduced wait if borrower has re-established good credit and can show extenuating circumstances.

•2-year wait if the borrower puts 20% or more down.

•4-year wait if the borrower puts 10-20% down.

•7-year wait if the borrower puts less than 10% down.

•2-year wait time if borrower can show extenuating circumstances and puts 10% or more down.

•4-year wait.

•2-year wait if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Bankruptcy Chapter 7 (liquidation):

•2-year wait from the discharge date of the bankruptcy.

•1-2 year wait if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Chapter 13 (repayment plan):

•1-year wait from the discharge date of the bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 (reorganization, usually involving corporations or partnerships):

•4-year wait from the discharge or dismissal date of the bankruptcy.

•2-year wait from the discharge or dismissal date may be accepted if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Chapter 13:

•2-year wait from the discharge date or 4-year wait  from the dismissal date.

•2-year wait for a dismissal if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Multiple bankruptcies:

•5-year wait if the borrower has filed more than one bankruptcy petition in the past 7 years.

•3-year wait if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 11:

•Same as Fannie’s bankruptcy policy.

Chapter 13:

•2-year wait from the discharge date of the bankruptcy.

•2-year wait from the discharge or dismissal date of the bankruptcy if borrower can show extenuating circumstances.

Multiple bankruptcies:

•Same as Fannie Mae’s policy for multiple bankruptcies.

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