Very frequently, we get borrowers who have gone through a divorce and due to lack of awareness of the items still on their credit report, are unable to qualify for the refinance or purchase mortgage they were hoping to obtain. You can still get a mortgage after divorce. Here are some tips to make sure this isolated event doesn’t affect your credit score, causing you to miss out.
Three Tips for Getting a Mortgage After Divorce
1. Pull your bureau after finalization of the divorce.
Now that your divorce is settled, you want to make sure the accounts on your credit report belong to you and you alone. There is a lot of information to interpret on a credit bureau so make sure you read it with someone who knows how to. You can get a copy of a free credit report at www.freecreditreport.com.
2. But the judge said, “those debts belong to my ex!”
So, in other words, just because the judge, and the divorce decree say the ex gets those debts, you need to follow through to do what you can to make sure those debts do not report to your bureau. What this means, is if your ex pays a debt late that is on your credit report still, negatively affecting your score, there is nothing we can do about this until it is no longer on your credit report.
Getting your ex’s debts off your credit report can be a process, taking a long time, especially when the creditor won’t co-operate. Provided your ex can qualify for a new account, (credit card, car loan, mortgage) it will still take time to get old joint accounts out of your name.
3. If you are awarded the house with the ex on the note, make sure to pay by check, keeping the cancelled checks.
While this seems odd, we see this quite frequently. If you are paying for a mortgage awarded to you in a divorce, yet your ex is the only person on the existing note, then make sure to keep record of your payments via your cancelled checks because it won’t report to your bureau.
For example, Pam and John from Kansas City, KS, divorced a while ago. Pam is living in the home awarded her in a highly contested divorce yet, John is the only signer on the note. Pam can help qualify for a mortgage by producing cancelled checks proving she has been making the payments on the mortgage as it will not report on the credit bureau….and from the looks of things, not going to get any help from her ex.
To conclude, the divorce decree is not gospel when it comes to getting a new mortgage. Like most challenging things, it takes planning, discipline and time but you can make sure a bad divorce doesn’t effect your abilities to get a new home loan.