Q: If we have a short sale on our record but great credit card history, do you think we could qualify for a new credit card? We don't like the one we have.
A: First, I'm very sorry to hear about your short sale. A short sale can feel like a lifesaver, in that it allows you to avoid a foreclosure, but just like a foreclosure, it really, truly does a number on your credit score. And I can imagine how stressful the whole process was.
That said, it really depends on how recent your short sale was. If it occurred a few months ago, don't even bother applying for a new credit card. Just wait. You need to get some distance between you and the short sale, and some solid payment history under your belts, before you start applying for new credit. I'd say at least a year.
And even then, you may not be able to get the best credit card out there. But as you'll see on CardRatings.com, there's a credit card for just about any situation if you're stuck with one you don't like any more.
Free credit report
First, get your free credit report and an estimate of your current credit score to see where you stand now.
According to FICO's Banking Analytics Blog, if you had, say, a 780 credit score, you can expect it to plummet over 200 points after a short sale in which there was a delinquent balance. If you had a 680, maybe 100 points. And you can expect it to take three to seven years for your credit score to fully recover from that, assuming there's not a host of other problems that also bring down your credit score.
But fortunately you say that you have an otherwise solid credit history. The older that short sale becomes--like if it's two years in the rear view mirror instead of two months--the easier it becomes to get credit. So can you qualify for a new credit card? Without knowing more details, all I can give you is a definite maybe.