Give yourself time to rebound. Whether you had to turn to bankruptcy because of a divorce, a medical emergency, a job loss, or a problem spending habit, give yourself a little time for the air to clear before house hunting. Mortgage lenders will want to see that you have put some space between you and your money troubles. You can use the time to start saving for your down payment.
Fix the root problem first. Figure out where your money troubles started and patch up the leaks. If you wound up in court because you couldn't control your credit card spending, resist the urge to rack up new debt after your bankruptcy discharge. Mortgage lenders won't help you if you appear to be repeating the same bad cycle. Pay your rent on time for two years. Do whatever it takes to get your rent to the landlord on time for twenty-four consecutive months. If you miss a month, the clock starts again from zero. Therefore, chop out anything in the budget that could set you back from your dream of a fresh mortgage. If your landlord doesn't report to any of the major credit bureaus, that's okay. Just get a dated receipt for every rent payment, which you can use to prove your case to a mortgage underwriter.
Save up a twenty percent down payment. With all the no-money-down mortgage offers you see on television, it sounds almost antiquated to stash a huge chunk of money into savings. In reality, a solid down payment proves to a mortgage lender that you're serious about overcoming your past problems with money. A large down payment will also reduce your monthly mortgage payment and save you from paying high priced default insurance on your loan.
Work with a live human being. Don't let a computerized scoring system stand between you and your mortgage. Because mortgages are secure debts, many lenders stand ready to compete for your business, despite your past credit history.
Mortgage lenders, especially those with branch offices in your neighborhood, can perform a "manual underwriting" process where they examine documentation like your rent receipts and your bank statements to show that you have truly overcome your past problems.
Kevin Adelsberg is a writer for FasteMortgage.com. For additional articles and an extensive resource for everything about mortgages, please visit us at http://www.FasteMortgage.com