Good luck in your home search!
Keller Williams Realty
It sounds like you have done a great job of reestablishing credit. The minimum amount of time from bankruptcy discharge until you will be able to buy again is 1 year for Chapter 13, 2 years for Chapter 7, and 3 years after a foreclosure/short sale. It doesn't sound like your bankruptcy will be an issue.
Sounds like you're doing the right thing getting approved, but I wanted to chime in (even though I missed your question first time around) and let you know that even though the BK is 7 years past, it's important that you've re-established your credit by building at least three tradelines that have at least a year of on-time payments.
If you haven't already found someone, I'd be happy to take a look for you.
Senior Mortgage Consultant
I actually have a connection at Chase, located in Chicago. His name is Henry Gomez, is a loan origination officer and deals with first time or new to the area buyers.
His contact info is 312-437-0608 and again his name is Henry Gomez. If you reach him, tell him Danny Lewis sent you.
Best of luck!
There is no set answer as to the "best" mortgage lender to go to. That is a personal decision you have to make after speaking to lenders that have been referred to you or that you have discovered via your own investigating. Finding a reputable mortgage lender that is a good "fit" for you and that you will be comfortable working with is important. You'll know when you've found the right one and your search will have been worth the effort.
That said ... try to get referrals. Speak to others that have purchased or sold a home recently. Talk to your insurance agent, lawyers, home inspectors, etc. that you may know and see who they would refer to you. Go online. Check-out their websites, blogs, and more to see how you view their services and personalities. Contact those that you think showcase themselves and their services favorably. Ask questions. Make comparisons. Again, you'll know when you have found the right lender to work with during your condo purchase.
Should you be purchasing a condo in the Chicagoland area, I would add this ... work with an agent and a mortgage lender that is experienced in recent condo transactions. Also .. working with professionals that have expertise in FHA condo transactions and approvals might be of great assistance to you during your purchase ... so ask that very important question upfront when making your decision. If you have other questions, please feel free to ask here ... or contact me. I will be happy to assist you with all your questions.
I hope we'll be speaking, but Best of Luck to you no matter your decision and with your upcoming condo purchase.
Here are some more details about the Pre-approval process so you know what to look for: http://www.trulia.com/blog/elliott_r_oliva/2011/12/pre-apppr
You definitely want to get in touch with a realtor now so you can start asking questions about the areas you are interested and what to expect from them throughout the process. Although you bank with Chase I would recommend you go with a licensed loan officer from a reputable mortgage bank or mortgage broker. I have nothing against Chase and have friends that work there but a big name does not mean big results. The bigger banks tend to move a lot slower and I am telling you that because of the feedback I get from clients and realtors alike.
When you find a realtor you like, ask her/him to recommend you to a few lenders that they have worked with who are licensed loan originators.