Q: My ex-spouse and I purchased a home together in 2001. He was the primary borrower and I was the co-borrower. I also owned an investment property in another state that went under, but it was listed as commercial property not residential property.
As a single mom, would I technically be a first-time buyer for a home I wish to live in with my daughters?
A: If you haven’t owned property in the last 3 years, you’d qualify as a first-time buyer under federal rules. I can’t tell from your email when you sold the property you co-owned with your ex-spouse. If you sold it in 2005, and haven’t owned a home since, you would probably qualify.
The issue with your failed commercial property investment is an interesting twist. If it was a true commercial property investment, then you may be fine. A HUD-certified housing counselor may be able to provide some additional guidance. You can find one by going to the HUD.gov website and clicking on the “housing counselor” link.
A bigger issue for you is where your credit history and credit score are now that you’re divorced. With a failed investment property on your credit, you may not have a high enough credit score to qualify for even an FHA loan.
Pull a copy of your credit history at annualcreditreport.com and when you’re there pay $8 to buy a copy of your credit score from Equifax, which is most similar to the credit score used by the vast majority of mortgage lenders.
More information on the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers is available here.
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