Q: What happens after foreclosure?

A: There are so many Americans who are either in pre-foreclosure (where they are 90 days or more delinquent on paying their mortgage) or have had foreclosure proceedings started. Millions more have already lost their homes to foreclosure.

Having a foreclosure on your credit history means your credit score will take a big hit. How much of a hit? Depending on what else is going on in your credit history, you might see a hit of as much as 150 points or more once the foreclosure is listed.

You might count on a foreclosure hurting even more when you consider that you must have missed various mortgage payments before the lender file for foreclosure and each of those missed payments probably hurt your credit score.

After you’ve been foreclosed upon, you’ll need to rebuild your credit history and credit score by making thoughtful use of the credit that is available to you.

If you have credit cards, you should use them sparingly, always making sure to pay on time and in full. You should create a budget and stick to it. Build up your savings so that your financial life gets back on track.

Having a foreclosure, short sale, or a bankruptcy on your credit history means it will take 3 to 5 years before you can buy a home using a loan from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA.

But life will go on. It may just be a little harder and more expensive over the next few years to purchase something using financing.