Who Needs to Talk to a Housing Counselor?
Are you in the middle of trying to buy a home? You may already have purchased one but are now in the throes of trying to keep it. If foreclosure seems around the bend, don't panic. There are plenty of resources available to help you realize your dream of owning your own home. Talking to a friendly local housing counselor can help you to keep it.
What Issues Can a Counselor Help With?
A housing advisor can help you with a wide variety of possible issues. These include, but will not be limited to, the following:
- Buying a home
- Renting a property
- Getting a new mortgage
- Dealing with default issues
- Applying for a reverse mortgage
- Avoiding foreclosure
- Managing your credit issues
Are You Alone in Asking for Help?
The first thing you need to know is that you are far from the only one who has ever been in this kind of trouble. Over 285,000 households have received advice from certified HUD housing counselors in the past year. These are issues that affect Americans from every walk of life and every income bracket.
What Are the Possible Benefits?
You should also be aware that homeowners who receive counseling are over one third less likely to become delinquent in their payments. In fact, getting this type of counseling within two years of buying your home will give you a far better chance to keep it. You are also more likely to receive a loan than other buyers who did not receive housing counseling.
If you already have a loan in place, counseling will definitely help. Studies show that homeowners who have received counseling are nearly 3 times more likely to get a favorable loan modification. They are also nearly 70% less likely to suffer a later default on this loan.
Do You Have to Pay for Counseling?
One of the most common questions that people have concerns whether they will be required to pay for these services. In most cases, the answer is an emphatic no. Counselors who are officially approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) will be able to provide this service at no cost to you.
It is true that HUD allows agencies to charge a fee for a few of their services. You should be aware that these fees are very strictly regulated. This ensures that they will remain at a level that is both reasonable and fully affordable by the average homeowner.
In all, about half of the services that HUD agencies provide are free. This includes the absolute majority of housing counseling services. HUD will never allow any kind of fee to be charged for certain services. These include counseling for foreclosure prevention as well as services for the prevention of homelessness.
How Can You Choose a Counselor?
There are a number of methods which you can employ in order to obtain the services of a housing counselor. You can apply on the web by accessing the official HUD Office of Housing Counseling home page. The best way to do so is to enter your zip code or check the handy map that the site has provided.
You can access HUD via phone by calling their interactive voice system toll-free at 800-569-4287. You can also make use of the official HUD iPhone app. This is known as the HUD Counselor Locator. The app is now available free of charge at Apple's App Store.
Don't Wait to Talk to a Counselor
It's never a good idea to sit on a problem until it gets too far out of hand. The best time to talk to a housing counselor is as soon as you think a problem may exist. For example, if you are planning to buy a home, don't wait until after you have signed a contract. Get counseling now so that you will have a precise idea of what to expect.
You should also be aware that a housing counselor may not be able to solve all of your issues. The help that they can give you may be limited by the terms of the loan that you have signed off on. This is why it's crucial to get aid and counsel from a lender before you agree to the terms of a mortgage loan.