With a Credit Score of 547 it will take some time to resurrect. There are only a few ways to get your Score up. You can dispute items that are one your Credit Report that shouldn't be but that does little unless you can get the creditor or collection agency to take it off the report. Another is to pay off your creditors. Depending on your income, that could take some time. You can open a few small Credit Cards, if you can get them with that Score and pay them on time but you will need a couple of years to make a difference. What you need is time.
In the mean time the excellent Real Estate deals are passing you by. If you look into a Private Lender, you may be able to do a end run around that Credit Score and get a Home Loan to get you into your first home.
Private Lenders, licensed to issue Home Mortgages will require a larger down payment than Conventional Lenders and their Interest Rates will be much higher. That's the down side.
The "up side" is that they will not base their decisions on you Credit Score, which after a Chapter 7 must be in the tank. The will pull your Credit Score but only to make sure you haven't gambled you money away in Las Vegas or drank it up in the neighborhood Pub. If you Score is due to the consequences of the past 4 years of financial disaster or the fact that you're Self Employed and most Loan Officers don't know how to read a tax return beyond the bottom line of the 1040, they will take that into consideration.
They will consider your Income and Assets to enable you to repay the loan. The last thing they want is to abet you in getting into a financial situation that you can't afford to pay back.
They will look at the Appraised Value of the property, verses the selling price. That, along with the larger down payment will give them an idea of the approximate equity in the property. This is important to them because, in the event you have to default on the Mortgage, they need to make sure they can recover their investment.
They will loan for a shorter period of time than a Conventional Lender , usually 12 years, and most do not include a Pre-Payment Penalty clause in there Contracts. That should give you ample time to get that Credit Score where it needs to be to qualify for a Conventional Mortgage at a much lower rate. They full well realize that you will want to refinance as soon as possible to a more economical rates of Conventional Financing.
Now, what's in it for you? They will lend when other Lenders won't touch you for 2 to 3 years. You can purchase now when the Market Values are (hopefully) the lowest. Appreciation is a great way to create equity in a property. Waiting 3 to 4 years may find that you paying considerably more for a comparable property than you would if you bought it today.They will not put through the hoops that Conventional Lenders will and they will Close more quickly than any Conventional Lender that I have encountered.
If you're interested in researching this method of financing, let me give you the contact information of a Company that I have worked with and have gotten some of my non-conforming clients financed when it seemed impossible. Call them and see if they can help you.
The Westmoore Group, LLC
Ph: (646) 801-6190
Fx: (646) 619-4291
The Westmoore Group, LLC is a licensed lender in the State of Georgia and operates under the license #30544.