The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures lenders against some of the risk involved in lending to borrowers who often don't qualify for conventional home loans, including first-time homebuyers or those with low or moderate incomes. The loan itself comes from your lender, not the FHA.
If you've gone through a foreclosure, you might qualify for a new FHA-insured mortgage loan after waiting three years. After a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the waiting period is generally two years. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might be able to get a new FHA-insured mortgage before you complete the plan.
If you file for bankruptcy, you can still qualify for an FHA-insured mortgage afterward, just not right away.
In most cases (but not all), you have to wait two years from the date of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge before you'll qualify for this kind of mortgage loan. Keep in mind that a discharge date isn't the same as the filing date. In most cases, you'll receive your discharge paperwork just before your case closes.
At times, people file for bankruptcy due to no fault of their own. If you fit into this category and can show that filing for bankruptcy was beyond your control, you might be able to reduce the waiting period to twelve months. Additionally, you'll need to show that you've handled your financial affairs responsibly after the bankruptcy.
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a long three- to five-year process. But that doesn't mean that you can't buy a house during that time. You can get an FHA-insured loan before you complete your plan if you meet the following conditions:
To find out if filing for bankruptcy might be right for your situation, consider talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. If you have questions about mortgages or buying a home, consider talking to a real estate attorney. If you have questions about foreclosure, consult with a foreclosure lawyer.
To learn more about various aspects of homeownership, get Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home by Ilona Bray, J.D., Attorney Ann O'Connell, and Marcia Stewart.