Written by attorney John Refaat Habashy

Can You Refinance after Bankruptcy?

Many people who have filed bankruptcy know little about the process. Often times debtors are unaware of their options in a chapter 13 because they rely on their attorney; their attorney has a fiduciary relationship with the debtor. A bankruptcy attorney's job is to know bankruptcy law, not the mortgage business or their guidelines. When a debtor files a BK 13 their main concern is having an automatic stay placed on a mortgage, collection, etc. To save their home from foreclosure. When entering into a plan the debtor, usually has no exit plan other than paying the 5 or 3 year plan (contingent upon median income). The debtor can refinance after 36 months (all unsecured claims become dis-chargeable debt) and discharge the bankruptcy immediately. This saves the borrower 2 years on their credit report. After refinancing, the BK 6 months out/discharged fannie mae will issue approvals. A bankrupt borrower can easily be transformed to an AA+ 680-720 FICO borrower yielding rates in the range of 6.25-7.00 after doing a loan to discharge the bankruptcy.

In a dismissed bankruptcy a foreclosure bailout out loan can be arranged. This topic was discussed in a previous article I published in When a debtor is dismissed from his/her bankruptcy the mortgage ALONE can be refinanced and a Chapter 7 can be employed. When filing a Chapter 7 the mortgage must be refinanced first. I arrange foreclosure bailouts for people more frequently than previous years. When trustee or mortgage payments are missed the bank will make a motion to lift the automatic stay. This leaves the borrower exposed to foreclosure until the mortgage is refinanced. If the borrower meets the means test the non mortgage/secured debts can be discharged under a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The "means test" is when the court determines a debtors filing to be abuse of the system. Abuse is presumed if the aggregate current monthly income over 5 years, net of certain statutorily allowed expenses is more than $10K or is 25% of the debtors unsecured debts, as long as the amount is $6,000. The debtor can rebut this guideline with mitigating circumstances. A dismissal from a bankruptcy has been viewed by the court as mitigating circumstances.

When the payments to your trustee are not perfect you can still get out of your bankruptcy. If the debtor has filed multiple Bankruptcies it is important for debtor to know what claims are listed in schedule D & F (secured and unsecured claims) Often times when multiple liens are present the attorney will file an avoidance on a lien. This means the borrower is not required to pay the lien back. However, all too often title searches find liens that were never discussed or filed. Liens that maybe very old.

An unscheduled debt most of the time will not be discharged with a BK payoff because the claim was omitted or an avoidance was never filed. This is a common omission/oversight that can (depending on the amount of the claim) present a problem for a borrower who may not have enough equity to cover the lien.This is where having a through attorney pays off, you most likely wont have to deal with this predicament. Often times I can negotiate these debts down if they are addressed ahead of time.

The answer is Yes. You may have trouble finding a lender, but it is possible. If you refinance before your 37th month of bankruptcy, then you will be responsible for repaying the unsecured debt that you filed for. If you can hold out till the 37th month you can refinance and not be held responsible for that back debt. You can have the lender refinance all of your current debt, this includes your filed bankruptcy that your currently paying on through your trustee and the unsecured debt that you had discharged as well as new debt. (This advice was given by a lawyer that cleared one FAQ Farmer's Chapter 13.)

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