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Getting preapproved for a mortgage can help you figure out how much you can borrow so that you can focus on houses that you can afford. It can also demonstrate to a seller that you’re a serious buyer and that you will likely be able to get final mortgage approval. If you have declared bankruptcy in the past, that can complicate things, but you may still be able to get preapproved.

How do Lenders Make Preapproval Decisions?
When you apply for mortgage preapproval, you will have to provide information on your employment, income, assets and debts. The lender will also request a copy of your credit report to learn more about the percentage of available credit you’re using and your history of making payments on time, which can impact your credit score.

A lender will take all that information into account when deciding whether to preapprove you for a mortgage. If you get preapproved, the company will send you a letter telling you the maximum amount it’s willing to lend you to buy a house.

How Can a Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit?
Declaring bankruptcy can help you get out from under the crushing weight of debt you can’t pay, but it can also damage your credit score. The type of bankruptcy filing will determine its effect on your credit.

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will no longer be responsible for repaying eligible debts. The filing will affect your credit scores for 10 years. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to reorganize your debts and create a payment plan that will reduce, but not eliminate, the sums you owe. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit reports for seven years. 

Will You be Able to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage After Bankruptcy?
Mortgage lenders look at numerous factors when processing preapproval applications. Having a bankruptcy in your credit history may be an obstacle, but that doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to get preapproved. 

Taking steps to rebuild your credit, such as getting a secured credit card, paying bills on time and not amassing significant new debt, can cause your credit score to gradually rise. It may take several years to get it back up to a range that will qualify you for a mortgage, but you can do it with hard work and dedication. 

Lenders have a variety of guidelines when it comes to credit scores and down payments. If you choose a lender with lenient guidelines, or if you can make a substantial down payment, you may have a good shot at getting preapproved, despite a past bankruptcy.

A mortgage lender will also look at your employment history and income. If you have a record of stable employment and you earn enough money to cover a mortgage payment, in addition to your other bills, that can help you get preapproved.