My credit was destroyed from my divorce (low fives). Is there some way for me to rent or even buy a home again?

Asked by Tommieka, Mount Laurel, NJ Mon Jan 30, 2012

I'm trying to rent a house for my girlfriend and our children. However, we are both coming out of divorces and have repossessions, evictions, and I even have a foreclosure on our credit. We are both renting and want to get a house big enough for us to live together. How can we bring our families together and begin to enjoy a life as one family now?

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Eugenia (Jean) Bonilla,ABR,SRES,ASP’s answer
Eugenia (Jea…, Agent, Mount Laurel, NJ
Tue Jan 31, 2012
Anything is possible with planning. Get some letters of explanation together, review your credit reports to ensure accuracy, many times things are not reported correctly. Look for a larger downpayment or deposit on your rental. Ask family members to co-sign on a lease for you. Make sure your divioce decrees address any bills that are outstanding or delinquent clearly, seek competent legal advise always!
1 vote
Tommieka, Renter, Mount Laurel, NJ
Tue May 1, 2012
Thanks to everyone for their input. I took your advice and got references from friends, co workers a past landlord and even my supervisor. I also had my girlfriend do the same. I also used a realtor (thanks again Laura) from here to help with the search. I got pro active and did some of my own shopping and was surprised by how many private owners and companies were renting out their properties. I was fortunate to find an amazing house that's only thirteen years old with all the trimmings. Great advice people and thanks again!
0 votes
Jessica Holt…, Agent, Moorestown, NJ
Sun Apr 29, 2012
Each landlord is different. Many are understanding to situations like what you are experiencing. If you can provide a stable work history and good references, the landlord may look past the lower credit score.
0 votes
Tommieka, Renter, Mount Laurel, NJ
Sun Feb 12, 2012
Thank you all for the great advice. So far, things aren't looking good as most of you predicted but I'm still looking. I tried to offer a greater amount up front but was told that in the state of New Jersey, that was illegal. A landlord can only accept at most one month rent and a month and a half security. Is this true and if so is there a way around it?
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Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Tue Jan 31, 2012
One way is to go to a for rent by owner. Most will not check credit reports.
Another way is to offer additional security up front. If you have cash available, someetimes you can write the lease so that you give an additional X amount of rent up front that will cover at least 3 months rent. You can use that money to pay your last months' rent for as many months as you have prepaid. This will give the landlord a financial buffer in case you default and he has to evict you. That's a landlord's biggest worry is that you won't pay and you will have to be evicted which can take a few months. And finally, if you have someone willing, a co-signor is another option.
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Joe Cordova, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Marlton, NJ
Tue Jan 31, 2012
Eugenia hit the nail on the head, "anything is possible with planning"! I would recommend credit repair. It is not only fixing the credit blemishes on your current report, but adding new trade lines that are current payment activities.

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0 votes
Wayne Odenbr…, Agent, Mountain Lakes, NJ
Tue Jan 31, 2012
Eugenia pretty much covered it. Now get to work repairing your credit. Get a full credit report. Contact a Lender and get their advice. They can tell you what is most important to correct to qualify for a loan.
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Monet Floro, , New Jersey
Mon Jan 30, 2012
Don is right, try to look for an owner financing or rent to own. You could also find some landlord who will ask for a month deposit and a month's advance, and ask for referrals instead of your credit report.
There's still hope for you and your fiancee , don't stop searching and ask help from a real estate agent. If you need help let me know. Good luck to you and your fiancee.
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Andrea Alumm…, Agent, Hoboken, NJ
Mon Jan 30, 2012
It all depends how old foreclosure is. I have a repair company that I recommend to clients who short sales their homes.

Email me for more detailed information.
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Jan 30, 2012
OK. Credit's a mess.

Frankly, you probably can't buy a home for 3-4 years unless you're able to find owner financing. But you can rent. It'll still be difficult, but you'll find that some landlords are flexible IF they've got a good assurance that you'll pay on time. But foreclosures, evictions, and repossessions . . . honestly, those are big hills to climb. Maybe find someone with GOOD credit (relative, friend, etc.) who'd be willing to cosign. Some folks suggest offering a large amount up front--ie., paying 6 months of rent upon moving in. That could help, in some cases.

The other thing is--if you both have rentals already, though it might be very tight, can you all squeeze (and conform to your current leases) into one of the two properties?

Unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer. But maybe some of those suggestions will help.
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