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Can You Buy A House After Debt Settlement?

Can You Buy A House After Debt Settlement?
Reviewed by Nima Vahdat
Updated March 20, 2024

It’s certainly possible to buy a house after debt settlement, and here are 6 steps you can take to achieve this milestone.

If you recently settled your debts or are in the process of going through debt settlement, you may be wondering, “Can I buy a house after debt settlement?”

For many Americans, purchasing a house signifies the biggest and most significant investment they’ll undertake throughout their lifetime.

Many people, however, face the challenge of managing debt while also aspiring to own a home. 

Debt settlement is a common strategy for resolving debt issues, but it often raises questions about its impact on future financial goals, particularly homeownership. 


  • Debt settlement can provide relief from overwhelming debt but may have implications for future financial goals like buying a home.
  • Qualifying for a mortgage after debt settlement requires careful planning and adherence to specific criteria.
  • Strategies such as budgeting, improving credit, and exploring alternative mortgage options can help facilitate homeownership post-debt settlement.

What’s Debt Settlement And What Happens After You Settle Debts? 

Debt settlement is a debt relief strategy where creditors agree to accept a lump-sum payment that is less than the total amount owed.

Debt settlement offers a solution for lenders to minimize losses and close the loan or credit account. Simultaneously, it assists borrowers in decreasing and resolving their debt burden.

It’s essential to recognize that not every lender will consent to a settlement. 

But when they do, accounts typically undergo closure with a negative status such as “settled” or “paid less than agreed.” They may notice a significant drop of points from your credit scores and the status may appear as a negative mark on credit reports.

If a creditor forgives $600 or more of debt, they may send you a 1099-C form to report the forgiven amount to the IRS. This forgiven debt may be taxable, and one could potentially owe taxes on it, although usually they won’t due to their financial hardship.

Can You Purchase A Home After Debt Settlement? 

Yes, it is possible to buy a home after debt settlement, but it may present challenges. 

Lenders may view individuals who have settled debts as higher risk borrowers, which could affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage or result in higher interest rates.

How Long After Debt Settlement Can You Buy A House? 

Although a debt settlement record can remain on your credit report for 7 years, the good news is that you may not need to wait that long before purchasing a house. 

Lenders are often willing to collaborate with you if they are confident in your capacity to make regular monthly payments.

The timing varies depending on individual circumstances and the lender’s policies. 

Generally, individuals may need to wait at least 2 years after completing debt settlement before applying for a mortgage. During this time, it’s essential to focus on improving credit and demonstrating financial responsibility.

How Do You Qualify To Buy A House After A Debt Settlement?

Prospective homebuyers who have recently undergone a debt settlement process may need to adopt a long-term perspective on achieving homeownership. 

However, by taking the following 6 steps, you can expedite the journey towards owning a home, despite having experienced debt settlement.


Developing a comprehensive budget is crucial when preparing to buy a house after debt settlement. 

This involves assessing your income, expenses, and financial goals to determine how much you can afford to allocate towards housing costs, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. 

By creating a realistic budget, you can ensure that you have sufficient funds to cover these expenses while also prioritizing savings for a down payment.

Stay Current On Accounts

After completing debt settlement, it’s essential to ensure that all your accounts, including those that were settled, are current and in good standing. 

This demonstrates responsible financial behavior to potential lenders and improves your overall creditworthiness. 

Most lenders require FICO scores of 620+ to qualify for a mortgage. Regularly monitoring your credit report and addressing any discrepancies or inaccuracies can help maintain the integrity of your credit profile.

Steady Employment

Lenders typically prefer borrowers with a stable employment history as it indicates a reliable source of income to support mortgage payments.

Maintaining steady employment and avoiding gaps in employment can strengthen your mortgage application and reassure lenders of your ability to repay the loan. 

If possible, aim to stay in the same job or field for an extended period to demonstrate consistency and reliability to lenders.

Saving For A Larger Down Payment

Saving for a larger down payment is beneficial for several reasons when buying a house after debt settlement. 

A substantial down payment can reduce the amount borrowed, lower monthly mortgage payments, and potentially eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). 

Additionally, a larger down payment demonstrates financial stability and commitment to the home purchase, which can improve your chances of mortgage approval and secure more favorable loan terms.

DTI Ratio Reduction

The debt-to-income ratio is a metric used to assess the proportion of your income that is allocated to debt payments. 

Reducing your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is crucial for qualifying for a mortgage after debt settlement. 

For most lenders, your debt can’t exceed 43 percent of your monthly gross income. 

Aim to lower your DTI ratio by paying off existing debts, increasing your income, or both. This can involve negotiating lower interest rates, consolidating debts into more manageable payments, or seeking additional sources of income through side hustles or freelance work. 

By effectively managing your debt and boosting your income, you can achieve a healthier DTI ratio and improve your prospects for mortgage approval.

Explore Alternative Mortgage Options

Considering alternative mortgage options, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans or other specialized loan programs, can be advantageous for individuals with past financial challenges, including debt settlement. 

FHA loans, for example, are government-backed loans that often have more lenient credit requirements and lower down payment thresholds  compared to conventional mortgages. 

Other options include USDA loans, VA loans, and First-Time Home Buyer Assistance. 

Exploring these alternative options can expand your possibilities for homeownership and increase your chances of qualifying for a mortgage after debt settlement.

Conclusion About Buying A House After Debt Settlement 

While debt settlement can pose challenges to buying a home, it’s not an insurmountable barrier. 

With careful planning, financial discipline, and patience, individuals can improve their financial standing and work towards homeownership post-debt settlement. 

By following the outlined steps above and seeking guidance from financial professionals, achieving the dream of owning a home is within reach.

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!