First of all, you CANNOT compare your Ch.13 BK to your friends' bankruptcies. Their circumstances are no doubt different from yours. Ch.13 Plans last between 3 & 5 years. Call your BK attorney and ask him how long yours is. If it is a 5-year Plan, you will not get the discharge until you have made 60 monthly payments.
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The whole idea of Chapter 13 is to abide by the plan, as the previous answer noted, so that you will be allowed to discharge a greater amount of debt that would have otherwise put you in a worse position. I also agree with the previous answer that you cannot compare two bankruptcy cases- they are rarely the same.
As far as $5,000 left to discharge, how badly do you want the house? Do you really need it now? These are personal questions you have to ask yourself and possibly discuss with your attorney. It seems that the only way out of the mess is to "bite the bullet" and finish the plan, then get your house; or you can just pay the five grand and do what you can to try to get a house (in which other issues may arise). I think patience is the key here- good luck.
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Based on your numbers, you are in a 60 month plan. You can always dismiss your chapter 13 and make outside arrangements to pay your creditors. The problem is that your total $17,000 plan probably was not enough to pay everyone, and you expect a discharge of any outstanding balances when you reach the end of your plan. Since things have gotten better for you and your plan discharges debts at the end, the trustee does have the option to propose a modification to your plan where your payments actually increase since you have a better ability to pay your debts now. Conversion to a chapter 7 might work if you are otherwise eligible and your income is not so much better that the court would decide you should have stayed in the chapter 13.Ask a similar question
You need to sit down with your attorney.
In some districts, a five year plan can be paid off early, as long as you are in for at least three years. You need to take what those of us from other states say with a bit of salt.Ask a similar question
As Mr. Hawkins stated, some trustees (at least the ch 13 trustees in my districts) allow an early/accelerated 'payoff' of the ch 13 plan.Ask a similar question