• A Home Loan After A Bankruptcy

    Mortgage After BankruptcyGenerally one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of a slide into a bankruptcy and possible foreclosure … is the ability to own or purchase a home in the future.  Because a bankruptcy affects your credit and your purchasing power for a period of time, you need to know the basics of how a bankruptcy can impact your ability to obtain various types of government-backed home mortgages in the future.
    As a Georgia attorney, it’s my privilege to assist you with your bankruptcy and to provide you with all of the details so that you’ll know your options and choices BEFORE you file for bankruptcy.  Here is a brief outline of some (but by no means all) general guidelines for a waiting period that you and your lenders must follow before your next home loan.  This data is current at the time of printing but subject to change, so please contact us for specifics that assure your own legal rights.
    For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy –  You must wait 4 years from the discharge date of your bankruptcy or your dismissal date to pass, in order to qualify for an FNMA (Fannie Mae) loan.  They may also consider extenuating circumstances,  so see this link to FANNIE MAE INFORMATION.    If you seek a USDA loan you must wait 2-3 years from the discharge date, depending on your circumstances.  And if you want to apply for an FHA (backed by HUD) or VA (Veteran’s Administration) loan, 2 years must pass from your discharge date.  
    For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy –  For an FNMA loan, 2 years must pass from the discharge date, or 3 years from the dismissal date.  They may also consider other circumstances, see this link to FANNIE MAE INFORMATION.   For FHA or USDA loans, you must have paid out for 1 year, and those payments must have been satisfactory and on time.   In this instance, a Buyer must receive permission from court.   If you qualify to apply for a VA (Veterans Administration) loan, the VA requires that 1 year of satisfactory payments was made plus the Buyer must receive permission from the court.
    Home mortgage and bankruptcy are complex topics and the information above is by no means complete.  Each of these organizations has additional exceptions that may benefit your own circumstances.   It’s or job to make sure you receive all the information and assistance to help you make these important bankruptcy or foreclosure decisions.   Give us a call.  Let us help.  We’ll assure you of your rights.


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  • Basics of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

    Basics of Chapter 7 BankruptcyThe filing of a bankruptcy action has consequences, and as those consequences can last for years, it is important to use a qualified bankruptcy attorney to make sure you are aware of all of your options. There is an income qualification for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy; however, there are exemptions and deductions that may be used to meet this qualification.  We will help you determine if Chapter 7 is right for you. Give us a call and let’s get started . Our firm is a Georgia Debt Relief Agency and we help you file under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
    First , definitions of some words to familiarize yourself with (these definitions have been greatly simplified and are for just your general use and knowledge; as always in the law, words can have different meanings in different contexts and fact situations:
    Debtor – this is the person filing the bankruptcy
    Creditor – this is the person/corporation that the debtor owes money
    Trustee – this is an attorney who represents the creditors’ interest and reviews your bankruptcy filing to ascertain if there are any assets to provide payment to the creditors.
    Secured Debt – this is the type of debt that has some sort of collateral attached to it; like a house, car, furniture or jewelry.
    Unsecured Debt – this is the type of debt that is secured only by your signature, like most personal loans and credit cards. Medical bills are also unsecured debts.
    Chapter 7, which is what most people think of when they think about bankruptcy, is a liquidation bankruptcy where, in theory, the Trustee may sell assets owned by the Debtor in order to satisfy some, or all, of the indebtedness. However, in my personal bankruptcy practice, I have found that my clients have had sufficient exemptions to protect their assets from liquidation and sale by the Trustee.  If a debtor is facing the sale of assets by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they may want to file under a different chapter, such as Chapter 13.
    In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your unsecured debts, in most cases, are discharged and you no longer owe the debt. With your secured debts; i.e. house, car and some other debts, you can choose to reaffirm and continue to pay; surrender the collateral and have the debt discharged, or redeem the debt by paying a lump sum amount and keeping the collateral.
    After our consultation we will provide you with list of items we need from you to complete the bankruptcy paperwork.  Once your bankruptcy is filed, you can expect 4 – 6 months for the process to be completed.  The protection of the bankruptcy court (the “automatic stay”) goes into effect immediately upon filing however, so your creditors can no longer contact you,  collection and litigation activities are stopped.
    [This is a greatly simplified sketch of the Chapter 7 process and every case is different. This overview is not meant to be nor should it be interpreted as legal advice to anyone nor does it give a complete and exhaustive discussion of the bankruptcy laws]
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  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Debt Relief

    Hands of Georgia AttorneyAfter Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the next most common type of bankruptcy handled by lawyers in Georgia is Chapter 13 debt relief.  Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy which requires a financial qualification, Chapter 13 relief can be utilized even by those who have greater incomes or means.

    So for instance, if your income would allow you to pay your ordinary bills… but for whatever reason you’ve accumulated so much debt that your income does not allow you to pay your existing debts and/or the interest on those debts …. Chapter 13 may be appropriate for you.  In this example, you might be able to restructure your debts so that you could repay your lenders if you can get lower monthly payments over a greater length of time.

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option where you will definitely benefit from assistance by a local attorney, as the rules and choices are complex.

    For example, there are debts considered to be UNSECURED debts which include balances owed on personal loans, medical bills, and credit cards.    With an unsecured debt, you have not previously promised any property or asset to secure the loan.

    Another type of debt is a SECURED debt.  With this type, you have promised something to the lender in exchange for your loan … usually things like a house or a car.   You may want to keep your house or car, and Chapter 13 allows you and your attorney to negotiate with your creditors to restructure your payments as mentioned above.

    No bankrutpcy is simple and should not be taken lightly.  Your lawyer will consider all aspects of your indebtedness including possible balances owed for student loans or for taxes due to the IRS.  

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.  There’s no shame in wanting to restructure your debts and manage your finances.

    The sooner we get started, the faster we can put you on a track to financial recovery!


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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Debt Relief

    For folks who cannot pay their debts, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one method of resolving the issue.
    Under Chapter 7, a trustee may arrange to liquidate (sell) assets that the debtor may have, in order to satisfy the amount of the debt.  However, in most cases a person will have sufficient exemptions to protect their assets.  With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your unsecured debts such as credit cards or medical bills are discharged, and then you begin again with no credit obligations.  You have the option of keeping secured property such as a house or car, or to give back to the creditor.
    Chapter 7 bankruptcy has consequences however, and some of those consequences last for years.  So it’s important to use a qualified bankruptcy attorney to make sure you’re aware of all of your options.
    After the paperwork is filed, you can expect 4-6 months for the process to be complete.   A typical filing fee is approximately $335 and that includes $25 for required credit counseling.  However, an automatic “stay” goes into effect upon filing which prevents continued collection activities.
    There is an income qualification for Chapter 7, but similar to taxes, there are exemptions and deductions that may be used to qualify you.
    We will help you determine if Chapter 7 is the right choice for you.  Sometimes there are still other types of debts that may not be discharged, even after filing Chapter 7 protection.   Some examples are debts such as: some but not all taxes, alimony, or child support etc.   We will examine your overall financial condition (foreclosure? wage garnishment?) to help you make the right informed choices.
    Give us a call and let’s get started.  Our firm is a Georgia Debt Relief Agency and we help you file under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.    We can help.

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P.O. BOX 712 | WINDER, GA 30680
Information On This Site is Accurate to the Best of our Knowledge at time of Publishing but is not Guaranteed. Confirm all Details. ***Under Title 11 of the United States Code, law firms like Terry W. Smith Law that represent consumer debtors have been designated as "debt relief agencies". This means that we help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.***