I filed for bankruptcy. When can I buy property again?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:46:58 AM

I filed bankruptcy.  When can I buy property again?


This question comes up often in my bankruptcy consultations, so I decided that it would be interesting reading for some of you.

The subtitle to this blog post should probably be the related question, “When can I start re-building my credit?  I hear that bankruptcies stay on your record for 10 years.”

The truth of the matter is that EVERYTHING stays on your credit report forever.  I have seen credit reports with information (both good and derogatory) going back thirty years.  I see 30 day late reports from the 1980’s or earlier on credit reports.

However, something magical seems to happen around the 7-8 year mark; it stops mattering to many creditors.  That includes The Fair Isaac Company, the owners of the FICO score (which is independent of your credit report).  Understand that Fair Isaac compiles a credit score based on the information in your credit report.  The credit bureaus and Fair Isaac guard the secret ingredients to their formulas very jealously; they are after all in the business of selling their information.  What we do know is that many debtors notice a jump in their FICO scores coinciding with derogatory information passing the 7-8 year mark.

Many creditors these days are even more forgiving than that.  I have seen bankrupt debtors begin to rebuild their credit 6 months after receiving their discharge.  You may pay in the form of higher interest rates, but the offers are out there.

What does this mean in terms of buying property again?  As long as a creditor sees a steady rebuilding of your credit, you may be surprised what they are willing to offer you.  Times are bad, and lenders need to lend money to stay in business.  If they don’t find enough borrowers at the levels that they want to lend to, they are going to drop those standards (even if it means having to charge a little more).

The ultimate question to ask yourself is, “Do I continue to carry all this debt and damage my credit further with no end in sight, or do I opt for a fresh start and move forward with my life?”

Bankruptcy is a serious decision, but it’s not a credit death sentence.

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Bankruptcy and tax debt: Can I discharge my tax debt in Bankruptcy?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:46:25 AM

I am often asked this question by clients.  The short answer that most clients will get from their attorney is “No.”  However, this is oversimplifying it.  You CAN get a discharge of tax debt under the right circumstances.

I recently read an expertly written article on this topic.  Here is the link:

Bankruptcy: Can I discharge my tax debt if I file bankruptcy?

Thank You Attorney Coats for your very informative and well written article on the topic.

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If I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Can I Still Keep My House?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:44:15 AM

If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy Glendale, you are probably asking, “Can I keep my home in bankruptcy?” The answer to that is varied, depending on your personal situation.

Exemptions & Equity

The first thing to know is what your home equity is, and what state homestead exemption you qualify for. When you file for bankruptcy, lenders will want to know if you have any built up home equity (or value) that can go towards paying off your debts by selling the home. However, when filing bankruptcy you can also apply for state homestead exemption, so a certain amount that your home can be worth that is exempt from being used to pay off your debt. Be sure to find out the details  so that you can calculate if you have any non-exempt home equity. If it is, your home will likely be sold off (while leaving you with the state exemption amount). This will influence which of the following options you may want to look into when filing for bankruptcy:

If you are behind on mortgage payments, there are several paths you can take:If you’d like to work towards trying to keep your home, you may opt for a loan modification. This should be done before filing bankruptcy and will allow you to renegotiate your mortgage to a level where you can once again stay up to date on payments and not face foreclosure.If you are facing foreclosure because of being behind on your mortgage, when you file for bankruptcy any foreclosures can be given what is called an automatic stay. This will freeze the foreclosing process for a time, while also freeing you from paying the mortgage as you have filed for bankruptcy.If you are keeping up with your mortgage payments, here are your options: Reaffirm the loan. While Ch. 7 bankruptcy basically erases your responsibility for a home loan, if you do not file for reaffirmation the mortgage company will only let you stay in the home as long as you stay up to date with payments. Reaffirmation gives you more options should you get behind on payments.If you are up to date and your home does not have any non exempt equity, you can easily keep your home while also freeing you from debts when you file for bankruptcy. Consult a professional and discuss all options  in detail!  You may reach us at 888-607-7460.

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Can I keep my home in Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:43:48 AM

It is no secret that the economy has been bad for several years. There have been many job cuts. Raises are not coming, bonuses are smaller or gone entirely. Jobs that are offered pay less than they used to.

Many adults are finding themselves in a financial bind. Often they wonder, “Is Chapter 13 bankruptcy for me? Will I qualify for Chapter 13? Can I keep my home if I’m in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?  Is that the right choice for me? Can I work out a deal with the lender? ”

Have you already gotten so far behind that they won’t help you? Should you sell your home and downsize to a small payment? Do you need to take on a second job?  Do you make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7?

All of these questions deserve answers.  For some, the answer is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

You can keep your home if you are in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In fact, Chapter 13 is commonly referred to as the homeowner’s bankruptcy.  One of Chapter 13′s principle goals is to help homeowners stay in their homes.

There are rules you must follow and it won’t be cheap.  You must know that you will be expected to pay your mortgage as it is currently moving forward, month after month.  You willalso need to pay something toward any arrears (if you have arrears on your mortgage) spread out over 5 years.

However, like a chapter 7, you can, at the same time, seek a discharge of your unsecured (usually credit card) debt.  This one-two punch is an invaluable feature of a chapter 13.  Remember, if you can eliminate your credit card debt, perhaps now you can afford to make your mortgage payments.  You may even be able to eliminate a second mortgage on your home (more on this later).  If you could eliminate your second and your credit card debts, perhaps now you could afford to keep your home?

When you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will be in the plan for a 3-5 year period to pay off the arrears. Can you follow through? In some states they take the payment directly out of your paycheck to ensure successful completion of the plan.  Missing a payment is not an option.  Your entire bankruptcy plan may fail.  However, if your income changes over the course of the 5 year repayment plan, adjustments can be requested based on how much you can afford.

While in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot take on any more debt without permission from the court until you have completed the plan.

If you fall behind again, you may be able to amend your plan to include new debt, but beware of that it could jeapordize your plan and will cost you more attorney fees and court costs. You may be able to work out a deal with the lender to pay extra payments, but you still have to make the Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy isn’t the right path for everyone, consult with an attorney before you make a decision.  Not all bankruptcy attorneys do chapter 13′s; they can be complicated and have a lot of moving parts.  Make sure that your attorney has filed several 13′s before you make a decision.

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Can Bankruptcy Stop an Eviction?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:39:30 AM

Many tenants (or former homeowners after foreclosure) ask me this question. First, it is important to understand that no landlord in California can help themselves to possession of the property. That is, they cannot change the locks and throw you out. Landlords must go through with an eviction action, known as an action for Unlawful Detainer. Unlawful Detainers are a court process which begins with the posting of a notice (3 day, 30 day, 60 day or 90 day, depending on the situation). Once the notice period expires, the landlord must file their eviction action, serve it upon you and get a judgment against you before the Sheriff can physically remove you and your possessions from the property. The process can take anywhere from 20-75 days. If your landlord locks you out without doing any of the above, you have a great case for wrongful eviction against them. Consult an attorney.

Moving on to the Eviction itself. Once the process has begun, filing a bankruptcy may stay the proceeding…. temporarily. A landlord has grounds to ask the Bankruptcy Court for permission to proceed with your eviction. In almost every instance that permission will be granted and the landlord is free to proceed. How quickly a landlord moves to obtain this permission, called relief from the automatic stay, is what will determine how much extra time you gain.

It is entirely possible that your landlord will just wait for your bankruptcy to be over because they don’t want to spend the extra money to seek relief from the stay.

If your landlord sees the eviction process through and has now applied to the Sheriff for a lockout date, is it too late to file? There is a technical legal answer and a real life answer. Technically, once judgment has been entered against you, you no longer have a right to stay. This means that filing the bankruptcy does not have to stop a sheriff’s lockout. What happens in real life, may, MAY, be a little different. Sometimes, sheriffs are very reluctant to proceed with a lockout if the tenant is in bankruptcy. The Sheriff’s office may postpone the lockout until the bankruptcy is over or the landlord has formally sought relief from the stay. I can tell you Sheriff’s responses have gone either way in many bankruptcy and eviction cases that our office has handled.

If you are being evicted, then your time to file bankruptcy may be very short. Consult an attorney as soon as possible.

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Do I Really Need to File For Bankruptcy?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:35:31 AM

No, I really mean it.  Please check with a bankruptcy attorney before deciding to file.  If you read my last blog post you will know that I freely make comments that may sound self serving.  But
Almost every bankruptcy attorney I know, including myself, offers a free consultation.  I also volunteer my time at a free bankruptcy walk-in clinic organized by the Bankruptcy Court.  You could be committing a terrible mistake just by filing alone. I do mean it.  I have seen dozens of disastrous bankruptcy petitions filed by people representing themselves.  Listen, it’s not easy, I know attorneys cost money and many people facing financial difficulty cannot afford one.

What could go wrong?  What could not go wrong?

I received a call recently from someone who is of questionable legal status (perhaps even illegal) who filed their bankruptcy themselves only to be staring at two United States Marshalls waiting for them at their 341a meeting of creditors.   There are ways to deal with such problems and they don’t have to end this way.

If you are filing to avoid the heavy hand of a collection agency, they may not even have legal standing to harass you that way (they may have  blown the statute of limitations on collecting the debt).  If the law is on your side, you may avoid filing for bankruptcy altogether.

Are you completely ready to walk away from your home?  If so, perhaps you could just hand it back to the bank (a deed in lieu of foreclosure) and not have to file bankruptcy.  If you hand it back, you may or may not be on the hook for the rest of the loan.  You must check with an attorney.  If you are not on the hook for the remainder of the debt, you certainly don’t need to file bankruptcy for your mortgage alone.

These are just a few of the scenarios I’ve seen; there are many, many more.  Don’t file bankruptcy unless you understand what it can (and cannot) do to help you.  The cost to find out?  Zero.

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Bankruptcy and Foreclosure; Part 1: The straight and the narrow

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:33:29 AM

Before you throw in the towel and walk away from the fight to save your home, let us take a look at your situation and see if there is anything we can do for you.  There is no fee and no obligation.

I want to congratulate you for taking the initiative to explore bankruptcy as an option.  As a real estate and bankruptcy attorney, I know that for circumstances beyond your control, you are very likely facing a financial situation that you cannot repair.  I want you to know that you are not alone.

Bankruptcy is a powerful and effective tool to remedy a person’s dire financial state, and many times today such difficulties begin with your mortgage.  If you have spent the last several

First, Bankruptcy has the power to stop a foreclosure sale until your bankruptcy matter has been reviewed by The Court.   This is because a bankruptcy filing imposes an automatic stay against all collection, IMMEDIATELY.  The stay is a federal court order which takes effect as soon as we file your case. .  Our office files its bankruptcies electronically, so we will obtain a case number and a stay order almost instantly for you.months, or even years, trying to find a way out of the problem by applying for a loan modification or other methods, and nothing has worked, then it’s time to take a hard look at the bankruptcy option and here’s why:

A second reason why bankruptcy may be for you is because it doesn’t have to interfere with your chances of being approved for a modification.  If you have applied for a modification, the process can still continue.

Third, here’s something that I want you to keep in mind.  If your bankruptcy eliminates all of your other debt (like credit card debt), then once the debt is eliminated, perhaps you may now be able to afford the mortgage,  even if it doesn’t get modified.  This way you eliminate a lot of the debt that is weighing you down, leaving only the mortgage as the only large payment you need to worry about.  I will cover this point in greater detail in later videos.

Fourth, under the right conditions, bankruptcy can even eliminate a second loan on your home.  If you have a second, third or even fourth loan secured against your home, there is a good chance that we can get those loans eliminated.  I’ll discuss this point in more detail in further videos as well.

Like I said before, don’t walk away from the fight to save your home before you let us take a look at your situation to see if there is anything we can do for you.  There is no fee and no obligation.  You can reach us through the form on this webpage, or you can call us directly at 888 607 7460.  I look forward to helping you.

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The So Called Stigma of Bankruptcy: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:25:20 AM

I sometimes get asked, “Mr. Boulgourjian, I feel a sense of embarrassment for filing bankruptcy.”

If you are struggling with a fear that there is a stigma associated with bankruptcy, let me give you a few numbers:

More people filed bankruptcy in the past year than the entire decade of the 1960’s.  Whether you know it or not, it’s more likely that you know someone who has filed for bankruptcy.  There is no stigma left.

Congress (and the United States Constitution) both accept that there is no social or economic good in oppressing someone who simply cannot repay their debt.  It’s that simple.  If someone is in over their head, either because of unemployment, sickness, family concerns such as divorce, or other crises, there is little good in leaving them in a spot they cannot recover from.  It doesn’t help anyone.  Give that person the opportunity to move forward and once again become a contribution to society and the economy.  It is from this construct that our bankruptcy laws are borne, and it’s your right to turn to them if you need to.

There’s good reason why many lenders will try to make you feel like you are doing something wrong by filing bankruptcy; it’s because the last thing a lender wants is for you to know that you have options.  I’ve been a real estate attorney for a while.  I’ve seen mortgage lenders act very honorably and others openly break the law.  It’s in your best interest to talk to someone who can tell you if your mortgage lender is treating you fairly under the law.

Let me tell you what doesn’t work.  Trying to frighten your lender by threatening to file for bankruptcy doesn’t work.  Lenders have heard borrowers make this threat so many times that it bounces off them like they were wearing Teflon.  The only time a lender is going to take such threats seriously is if you actually file.  If you feel like you’ve been getting the runaround from your mortgage lender, bring me your case and I will tell you where you stand.  No obligation, no fee.  You can reach us through the form on this webpage, or you can call us directly at 888 607 7460.  I look forward to helping you.

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“I Won’t Qualify for Bankruptcy; I Make Too Much Money.”

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:24:34 AM

One of the biggest misconceptions held by people with a steady income is that they won’t qualify for bankruptcy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The short answer to this concern is that it doesn’t matter how much money you make; what matters is how much debt you are going to be able to discharge.

Let me explain this.  First, if someone has told you that you make too much money to qualify for a chapter seven bankruptcy, ask them if they have taken a look at your expenses.  True, there is a median income for your geographic area.  If you make less that median income then you will AUTOMATICALLY qualify for Chapter 7.  This does not mean that all is lost if you are over the median income, it simply means that the test goes to the second step; reviewing your expenses.  A bankruptcy attorney should review your expenses to see if you will qualify.  If someone tells you that you don’t qualify because you make more money then the median income and they have not reviewed your expenses, then run the other way because they are not qualified to assist you with a bankruptcy.

Second, if you still do not qualify for a 7, you might qualify for a 13.  There is no income limit in a 13, and there are in fact many benefits to a 13 which are only available in a 13. The only difference that your income will make in your 13 bankruptcy is in determining how much unsecured debt you will have to pay back. 

How much?  10%, 20%, 50%, 100%?  That question can only be answered once an office has thoroughly reviewed your income, debts and assets.  Our office has handled 13 plans which pay back NONE of the unsecured debt (usually credit cards) and have also handled 13 plans where clients have paid back ALL of the unsecured debt, and every scenario in between.

If you did in fact have steady income and couldn’t eliminate all of your debt, wouldn’t you want the chance to at least eliminate SOME of it?

Why would anyone want to file bankruptcy if they must pay back all of their debt?  There are several good reasons.  Keep in mind that a 100% plan is the usually the last bankruptcyoption available to a debtor.  The debtor may still find it better than not filing, because it gives them a better repayment plan than their creditors would otherwise offer them.  Example?  Debtor can keep their home and make payments toward the arrears of a mortgage loan instead of face a foreclosure.  Debtor can repay debts over the course of 5 years.  Debtors can strip junior liens from homes, making it easier to possibly sell or refinance their home should such an opportunity arise.  Debtors can reduce the principal balance on SOME auto loans.  Debtors AND THEIR SPOUSES can enjoy the protection of a stay against collection for the term of their repayment plan (up to 5 years).  All of these advantages may not have existed for the debtor prior to filing for bankruptcy.

If you are having debt concerns and want to know if bankruptcy is an option for you, finding out is free.

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Married couples. File Bankruptcy jointly or not?

Friday 5th of October 2012 01:22:29 AM


In California, a community property state, spouses in a marriage are both liable for any debt taken out by either spouse during their marriage.

This means that you are ultimately both on the hook for many of your debts.  The only bulletproof solution if you are facing dire financial straits would be to file jointly, as is your right.  Filing jointly offers several advantages.

First, filing jointly is usually less expensive;  You pay your filing fee once and your attorney once. Second, you have very likely formally co-signed debts together (this is especially true for mortgages).  In such situations, you are both liable for the mortgage, whether you were married or not.  If you don’t both file for bankruptcy, your mortgage lender will most certainly look to the signor that did not file for bankruptcy.

However, in the name of prudence, some married couples may elect to take their chances and only file bankruptcy for one spouse.  A creditor may make a business decision not to pursue a non signor spouse, even if they have legal grounds to do so.  This is sometimes the case when only one spouse is the formal debtor without the other spouse as a co-signor to the debt.  Keep in mind that the other spouse may always file individually at a later time should it become necessary, as is their right.

In the meantime, the marriage can rely on the non filing spouse’s credit profile as the one without a bankruptcy on it.


There are many non married co-debtors who wish they could file jointly.  Married couples have that option; use it to your best advantage.

If you are a married couple considering bankruptcy, a no fee no obligation consultation is the best thing to do.

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