Foreclosure Impact On Your Credit Report

Whether you've foreclosed or opted for a short sale, your credit report can show a poor score of as low as 380. "This is a very humbling thing, when people are foreclosed on," says financial expert Ilyce R. Glick. "You failed at something very major and it's going to require a healing process." For the 5.5 million homes that are expected to foreclose, many Americans worry about how they'll find a new place to live or ever buy a house again. They wonder how they'll pay their taxes, regain a reasonable financial plan or start their lives over again. However, don't feel like there is no hope, as you can steadily improve your credit score over the next few years by taking a few measured steps.

First of all, you'll have to face the long-term repercussions and navigate the waves of your poor decision if the foreclosure is already on your record. The next five years could be problematic and you may be turned down for lines of credit, a car loan or a personal loan. To get the best interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, banks will require you to put 20% down and have a credit score of 740 or higher, although some banks may settle for 620 with 10% down. To get back on track with clear credit, pull your credit report at to see where else you may need repairs.

So which is worse for your credit score, a foreclosure or a bankruptcy? Even though bankruptcy stays on your credit for 10 years and a foreclosure for 7, "a foreclosure is very serious to mortgage lenders," said Ray Hooper, Education and Housing Director for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. "They're going look at a foreclosure more seriously than they will a bankruptcy that doesn't include the house." Hooper says if you're receiving default notices but still want to keep your house, then you'll need to catch up on those missed payments. You can modify the agreement to a lower interest loan or ask for forbearance, which involves the lender agreeing to suspend payments until you get back on your feet. If you outspent yourself and wound up in a real pickle, then you can ask the lender to hold off on foreclosing until you sell. In some cases, you might not get the asking price and will still owe money to the lender. This procedure is called a short sale. In other cases, you may negotiate a "deed in lieu of foreclosure," which means you will give your house back to the bank and walk away with nothing, including clear credit.

When faced with foreclosure, the first thing many people consider is bankruptcy. However, this should be used as a last resort because it is so damaging to your credit report. If you file for bankruptcy, then you will also still have to make your monthly payments, although you'll have the protection of the court while you catch up. What many people don't realize is that they can usually negotiate a repayment plan with their lender, which will allow them to catch up on missed payments over a period of 3-18 months, bit by bit. This will only have a moderate effect on your credit score that can be repaired within a year or two. If you began missing payments due to an unexpected medical expense, a loss of employment or another incident, then you can apply for a special forbearance, which will give you a small grace period before the payment schedule is resumed.

Related topics about credit report
While it'd be nice to live a "credit-free existence," it can be difficult to do so in today's world. Purchasing a house, a car or securing a loan typically requires some level of credit. The most commonly used credit score is called FICO, where credit scores range from 300 to 850, with the national average being around 723.

"People tend to pull one credit score report and think everything is the same on all of them. That's not normally the case," says Howard Dvorkin, president of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services. He recommends reviewing credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian for the most accurate reading.

There is a set of numbers that rules your life. It is with you no matter what you do and where you go. Credit scores seem to be involved in every aspect of our lives.