It can be an overwhelming experience to find yourself in debt, with your credit sliding from bruised to bad. If you want to make a major purchase, like buying a house, it might feel as though that dream is slipping away. While it can be difficult to find your own way back to a strong financial situation and repair your bad credit, there are many solutions available to you.
Credit Counselling Services
There are many credit services – both non-profit and commercial – available to consumers, so it's important to do your research before choosing an organization to help you. Things you might want to consider are:
- whether the organization charges you any fees;
- whether the programs and services match your situation; and
- your level of comfort dealing with the staff, as working through credit issues can be an intense and personal experience.
Depending on the amount of your debt, you may be eligible for a voluntary management program guided by a counsellor. For example, the Credit Counselling Society offers a program that will help you improve your credit score and your money management skills while paying 100% of the principal owing on your debt.
A consumer proposal is a lesser-known option for Canadians to manage and repay their debt. This trustee-led process allows you to retain some assets and falls off your credit report in 3 years following the completion of your payments. It is a legal agreement that can offer you some flexibility if your circumstances change; for example, if you are able to make higher payments due to a new job, you can pay off your proposal at any time during the term.
If you are local to Victoria, Fresh Start BC is one organization that can advise you further on your financial options working with a trustee.
This idea is probably the scariest one, and the first place your mind goes when thinking about bad credit. Hopefully you've realized that there are other options to explore before making the decision to file for bankruptcy. Again, this is a legally binding agreement to repay as much of your debt as possible and is led by a licensed trustee. Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 6 years following the discharge of your debts for a first filing.
Take Charge of Your Finances
Whatever your relationship with credit, it's important to be an informed consumer. An annual check of your credit report should be part of your financial plan; occasionally there are errors or omissions, and you are responsible for clarifying those and making sure your report is accurate. If you are rebuilding your credit, you will also want to have a strategy in place for budgeting and saving – you can even work on these things while going through one of the processes outlined above.
If you're concerned about your debt and want advice about your poor credit with the goal of buying a home, contact Auxilium Mortgage today for a free consultation with one of our brokers: call 250-590-6520 (toll-free 1-855-590-6520) or visit us at 307 Goldstream Avenue during regular business hours, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. We can also arrange an appointment evenings or weekends to work with you.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.
This post reflects the best available information at the time of writing/last update. In order to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information, contact us to confirm the details for your specific situation.
Originally posted March 2017
Updated January 2020