How Foreclosure Affects Your Credit History and Credit Score | PrivacyMatters.com

Foreclosure and Your Credit History

How Foreclosures Can Affect Your Credit

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A foreclosure is one of the most credit-damaging events that can ever appear in your credit history. What's even worse is that foreclosures stay on your credit report for at least seven years.

No, a foreclosure won't ruin your credit rating forever. But having a foreclosure on your credit report will lower your credit score until you're able to re-establish good credit — and that takes time.

Unfortunately, a low credit score virtually guarantees that you will pay higher interest rates on home and auto loans, credit cards or other forms of credit. How much more will you pay? Experts say that a person with a low credit score, say, below 600, will likely receive mortgage interests rates that are nearly 3% higher than someone with a score above 700. In a worst case, you may be denied credit altogether.

There has been a lot of talk about foreclosure trends in the news especially in recent years. With many Americans spending well beyond their means, foreclosures have become a common part of the overall real estate landscape. Since a foreclosure will lower your credit score, you need to know the facts about bank foreclosures if you plan to buy a home, or if you currently own a home and foresee any problems making the payments.

What exactly is a bank foreclosure?

A bank foreclosure occurs when a bank claims ownership of a property because the property owner has fallen behind on or stopped making mortgage payments. Generally, after three missed payments, banks will start the foreclosure process by sending you written notification that you are in default — or failing to meet the payment obligations of the mortgage agreement. Unless you pay the overdue amount owed, the property will be sold at public auction.

One important point to remember: In general, banks want to avoid foreclosures as much as homeowners do. The reason is simple: Banks make more money when a mortgage is successfully paid off. In fact, most banks will often try to avoid a foreclosure, if possible.

Can a foreclosure be deleted from your credit report history?

If foreclosure proceedings are filed against you, there is no legitimate way to have that information removed from your credit report — at least not for seven years. After that, the foreclosure can only be removed from your credit report, which is your official credit history, after you send a written request to the three major credit reporting bureaus.

As interest rates rise, the same goes for the number of foreclosures.

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, bank foreclosures in the United States rose 47% between 2006 and 2007. In fact, a leading online marketer of foreclosure properties reports that banks initiated 149,000 foreclosure actions in March 2007 alone — the most since the company began collecting data back in 1996.

Owning a home has long been an American dream, but far too many people have done lasting damage to their credit scores by being forced into foreclosure. Short of bankruptcy, having a foreclosure on your credit report may be the longest-lasting obstacle to good credit. Re-establishing yourself as a good credit risk will take time and careful planning after a foreclosure.

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