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I just purchased my first home 2 months ago, 4 years after my BK. I had a great experience using a Buyer's Broker (a real estate agent who represents buyers only, does not list houses at all). The laws vary from state to state, so I don't know if you have any buyer's brokers where you are. They walked me thru everything step by step, hooked me up with a mortgage broker who pre-approved me and was able to find me a conventional non-standard loan at 1% above the standard mortgage interest rate, no points.

Pre-approval is better than pre-qualification. You do that by working with the lender - qualification does not necessarily mean that you will be approved. It only means that you meet a certain set of standards, not that they will definitely lend you the money. Pre-approval means they have run all the necessary numbers and inquiries, and will definitely give you the loan. It's almost like having the check in your hand when you make the offer, gives you a bit more bargaining power because you're more of a sure thing to the seller. Either way, it usually gives you a 30 or 60 day window to make an offer on a property.

I would say don't look for "problem credit" lenders, but don't expect a bank to help either. Try to find a mortgage broker through word of mouth recommendations, and don't work with anyone you don't feel comfortable with. Good luck!

Lori
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