After foreclosure or short sale, you will want to repair your credit. Selling your house or being relieved of your mortgage obligation may have eliminated much of your debt, but your house payment was probably not your only delinquent obligation. As enticing as it is to work with a company that promises a quick credit repair, there is no magic bullet to restore your credit. You must go through a series of steps to help you analyze the problem from the past and get your finances on a solid course for the future.
After financial problems, your credit report reflects late payments, missed payments, and repossessions, as well as foreclosure, short sales, and bankruptcies. Also, it reflects the amount of debt you owe. Reviewing your credit report is the first place to start.
Analyze the past. Your credit report will give you insight as to how potential lenders might regard your financial stability, but you should go deeper. What caused your financial troubles? Will the foreclosure relieve your problems or do you need to go further, perhaps even declaring bankruptcy?
Budget. Regardless of the past, now is the time to develop a budget based on your current income. If you can’t meet your budget without using credit cards, you need to do more trimming. Ideally, you will be able to live frugally enough to pay off debt, so your debt to income ratio is lower.
Start paying your bills on time. It takes a while to overcome a late payment or a pattern of them on your report, but if you start paying on time, you will reestablish yourself. If you later want to buy a home again, lenders will be looking to see your payment patterns after your foreclosure or short sale.
Get help if you need it. You should stay away from most credit repair companies, but a credit counselor can help you at low or no cost. The housing counselor who worked with you during your foreclosure might be able to help you or refer you.
Secured credit cards. Owning a credit card for emergencies is a good idea, but you may not be able to get one unless you opt for a secured card. You will prepay a certain of money that becomes your credit line. The terms vary between banks, so it pays to shop around.
Give it time. Many delinquencies, foreclosures, short sales, and bankruptcies remain on your record for 10 years. If you start paying on time, you may be able to qualify for a mortgage or additional credit sooner, but the report tells the long term story. If heading toward financial trouble, many times selling your house to a third party company that buys houses will stop the money drain and allow you to reestablish yourself before you go into foreclosure or your problems deepen.
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