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Ask Dave

Wrong Credit Rebuilding

Dave answers one question that Sonya asked about her credit score, and one that she didn't.

QUESTION: Sonya in California and her husband have a discharged bankruptcy that is almost two years old. She wants to refinance several properties they own, but their credit score is not good. What can she do to raise their credit score to the point that they can refinance?

Dave's ANSWER: It will probably be between three and four years before you recover enough, credit wise, to do a refinance after a bankruptcy. It just takes a little time because people don’t trust you after bankruptcy. Regardless of how you got there, they don't want to hear the story. They just see that it's on there, and that's really what the credit score is saying.

Your credit score is composed of ... the algorithm is only composed of how you interact with debt. How much debt you have, whether you pay it on time or not, the type of debt you have, how much new debt you have, and of course, bankruptcy is an issue there. The older the bankruptcy is, the more the credit score just naturally heals.

I think you need to be fanatical about paying all your existing bills on time or early. You cannot let any of your mortgages be a day late. If you're a day late, you'll delay this thing a bunch more. That thing will heal pretty quickly if you stay on top of this.

The other thing you can do is check out That is a place that does non-traditional credit; things like your cable bill and light bill. They can build a different kind of credit score for you based on paying those things early or on time.

The last thing to tell you, and I beg you to not do this, is to go into debt. It's stupid to do this. If you take out five credit cards and pay them all on time, you could probably run your credit score up a little bit faster. But you are paying an unbelievable price in stupidity to do that. I’m going to say don't do that. You have already been through bankruptcy, and the last thing you need is debt.

I'm going to tell you to have a little patience and be fanatical about paying this stuff on time. Check that website. A combination of those three things. Usually around the three-year mark, you should be bankable for a mortgage refinance.

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