Coming Back From Foreclosure: How To Re-Build Your Credit

By Nikki Garrett Metzger

(Victor Valley) – There are many people across the High Desert who have found themselves in a difficult financial predicament over the last few years.  Whether it is due to job loss, cut in work hours, loss of a home because they can no longer afford the mortgage, high medical bills or any other scenario, many may be trying to figure out how to turn around their financial picture.

I recently spoke with Paul Minnick, a Mortgage Broker with High Country Mortgage in Hesperia and a specialist in credit repair. He offered some steps to take to repair credit and bring up those FICO scores.

Minnick was very clear that when it comes to credit there is a difference between consumer credit and mortgage credit. “The reason I make the distinction between the two is: after a bankruptcy or foreclosure, in theory, you can get your credit scores right back up.  You can get 700 credit scores within 6 months,” said Minnick. “However you cannot turn around and re-buy a home until you wait a certain period of time AFTER, depending on whether it was a foreclosure or a bankruptcy.”

The wait to apply for a VA or FHA loan after a bankruptcy is two years. The wait after a foreclosure for a government loan is three years.

The steps to re-establish credit after a bankruptcy or foreclosure are pretty straight forward, according to Minnick. “First, you want to make sure that all the derogatory lines, or items, were truly rolled into the bankruptcy. I see this all the time, where 10 lines were rolled into the bankruptcy, but when we pull the credit there are 3 lines that still show open/active/collections.  So that’s simply a matter of going in and correcting that in the credit bureaus.”

This is something that you can do on your own.  It involves going to the websites of the three credit bureaus:,, and Once there, file a dispute to have those items corrected. It costs almost nothing to do.

The next step is to open new lines on your credit. “One way is to get a secured credit card from a bank – one where you deposit money into the bank and they give you a credit card against that money. The reason that works is because if you don’t pay, they just keep your money,” explained Minnick.

Another option to re-establish credit is have someone put you as an authorized person on one of their accounts. “If your mother has a Sears card that’s been open 5 years, she can put you as an authorized user on her account. That 5 year trade history will now show up on your history and help re-establish your credit,” said Minnick.

Credit bureau scores, or FICO scores, are provided to lenders by the major credit reporting agencies.  You have three FICO scores, one for each of the three credit bureaus. Each score is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. Your 3 FICO scores affect both how much and what loan terms (interest rate, etc.) lenders will offer you at any given time. FICO scores provide the best guide to future risk based solely on credit report data. The higher the credit score, the lower the risk.

I spoke in depth with Minnick about credit repair, so look for more in this series soon.

To contact Paul Minnick at High Country Mortgage call 760-948-5626.

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