One of the most common concerns of people considering using bankruptcy is whether or not it is possible to file for bankruptcy and still keep the house. If you’re like millions of Americans, your home is your most valuable possession, in addition to being the roof over your head.

It is not simple to say whether a specific person may or may not keep their home while completing a bankruptcy, because there are so many factors that contribute to this determination. However, it is possible to lay out the broad strokes of bankruptcies that allow a person to keep their home.

To understand your chances of keeping your home through a bankruptcy, it is wise to set up a personal consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can review the specifics of your financial life. With professional guidance, you can deepen your own understanding of the process and create a detailed plan for an efficient, effective bankruptcy.

Which bankruptcy you use affects your options

Individuals who file for bankruptcy generally use either a Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 repayment plan. While keeping your home is technically possible with a Chapter 7 liquidation, it is more likely in a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

However, Chapter 13 is not always available. More individuals generally qualify for Chapter 7 than for Chapter 13, but if you qualify for both, then you are free to personally choose either without penalty.

How much equity do you have?

If you have equity in your home, then you may need to sell the home or access the equity in other ways to pay for debts. However, if you have no equity built up, or if the home is worth less than you owe, you are more likely to qualify for an exemption to keep your home.

Don’t wait to create a fresh start

Bankruptcy is finally shedding some of the taboo it has carried for many years, and rightfully so. If you need a fresh start financially, the power of the federal government allows debt discharge through bankruptcy — but you have to do the hard work of abiding by the process.

Many debtors do not perform the proper research or forego seeking out help to navigate bankruptcy and end up in worse states than when they started. If you are ready to pursue debt discharge through bankruptcy and hopefully keep your home, don’t wait to reach out for the help you need to make the most of your opportunities.