If you are a first-time homebuyer, then the first thing you should do is talk to a housing counselor. You might not have heard of them before, but they will make things so much easier for you! This article will tell you everything you need to know about housing counselors and how they can help you.
What are Housing Counselors?
A HUD-approved housing counselor is a counselor that specializes in housing that the government certifies and trains. These housing counselors will assist you in evaluating your financial situation. Housing counselors will also look for options to help you, if you have any issues paying for your mortgage loan. Furthermore, you and your housing counselor can make a plan on getting help with your mortgage. HUD stands for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD is a government entity that assists people to maintain and receive affordable housing units. With the HUD, they train housing counselors all over the United States. This is why you should remain confident in your HUD-approved housing counselor; they will give you the right advice to assess your current housing situation.
How Can They Help You?
If you are a first-time homebuyer, then you might gain a lot from a housing counselor. Housing counselors can assist you to make a step-by-step action plan, which will help you achieve homeownership. This includes: overcoming common barriers to homeownership. A housing counselor can help you determine the right FHA programs that assist first-time homebuyers. You will find that housing counselors will assist you in understanding the process and how much you can afford to purchase a home.
But, a housing counselor is not only helpful for first-time homebuyers. Once you own a home, a housing counselor can still help you out and support you. A housing counselor can answer all of your questions, especially about home equity. You can also find help with housing counselors on reverse mortgage counseling. In the case that you are facing foreclosure, they can help you understand your options for relief.
Why Choose A Housing Counselor
Unfortunately, there are “housing counselors” or “loan modification experts” that take advantage of your situation. They are not actually housing counselors, but they pose as one. This is why you should make sure to find a housing counselor that the HUD approves of. When you work with an HUD-approved counselor, you know the services will offer an objective, a qualified counselor, and act in your best interest. Housing counselors receive training through workshops, online courses, and certification programs. There are some circumstances where the HUD hires experts to provide training for potential housing counselors.
The Housing and Urban Development Department has a network of at least 2,000 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. These agencies help individuals and families all over the United States and Puerto Rico.
How to Find a Housing Counselor
The Housing and Urban Development Department provides three different methods to find a qualified housing counselor. You can reach out to a housing counselor online, on the phone, and through an application. To find a housing counselor online, you can search HUD’s Housing Counseling home page. Through the phone, you can call their toll-free phone number. Finally, you can find them through their application, HUD Counselor Locator. You can find it on the App Store and it is for free!
Once you find a list of HUD-approved counselors, you should make sure to research the counselors you chose. Although all HUD-approved housing counselors are experienced in housing, you might find that there are some housing counselors that specialize in certain services. You can find counselors that specialize in reverse mortgages or budgeting. Also, there are housing counselors that provide services in multiple languages.
What Happens When You Call a Housing Counselor?
If you are calling a housing counselor because you are facing trouble to pay for your mortgage, then a housing counselor can help with that. A housing counselor can ask you for information about your mortgage loan, which can be typically found on your last mortgage loan statement. The housing counselor will also ask for information about your income, recent bank statements, bills that you pay each month, and tax returns. These questions will help the housing counselor understand your current financial situation and find out how much you can afford to pay each month for your mortgage.
An HUD-approved housing counselor will not be able to help you keep your home. But, they will help you look at your options and do what they can to help you make the right decision.
Get The Most Out of Housing Counselors
There are so many things that you can do to get the most out of housing counselors. The first thing you can do is seek counseling as early as possible. If you want to purchase a home, then you should see a counselor before you sign the contract. On the other hand, if your goal is to avoid foreclosure, then you should not wait until you’ve missed payments and the bank starts taking legal actions. This is why you should consider working with a counselor as soon as you can.
The second thing you can do is understand that counselors have limitations. Housing counselors can achieve so much, but they are not superheroes. They are limited to what they can do with your loan terms and the lender’s policies. Make sure that you meet the housing counselor in person. It is a great way to establish rapport with the counselor; you can even meet them on weekends or evenings. Bring all of the relevant paperwork with you to your meeting and prepare a list of all your questions.
Most Common Types of Housing Counselors
There are different types of housing counselors. You will find that housing counselors have a specialty or a specific area that they understand more. It depends on your housing situation, but it would be better for you to talk to a housing counselor that best fits your situation. You would not want to talk to a pre-purchase counselor when you are facing foreclosure on your home. That just would not make sense. Make sure that you do your research before you talk to a housing counselor. You should also make sure you prepare questions that you could ask your housing counselor. They will be able to help your housing situation better than anyone.
Buying a home can be really complicated and confusing, especially if it is your first time. You might get lost in the paperwork, especially when you are applying for a mortgage. This is why you should consider talking to a pre-purchase housing counselor. They will give you important information on down payment assistance programs and other ways to help you out.
Reverse Mortgage Counselors
Reverse mortgages are becoming more and more common with seniors these days. But, you should know that reverse mortgages are not for everyone. The only reverse mortgage that the federal government insures is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). If you want to take part in the HECM program, then you need to meet with an HECM counselor. The counselor will provide information on eligibility, repayment terms, and advice on the financial situation of reverse mortgages. They will also let you know about different options to a reverse mortgage and even help you find out if a reverse mortgage is the right move.
If you face foreclosure on your home, then you should talk to a foreclosure counselor. A foreclosure counselor will help you avoid serious delinquency or foreclosure and they will help you prevent any mortgage modifications. If you find yourself having trouble paying for your mortgage, then you should not delay. You will need to talk to a housing counselor as soon as possible. The sooner that you talk to a counselor, then the sooner you can fix your problem without a foreclosure. You can consult with a private counselor, but it will be way more expensive than a counselor from the HUD agency.
Housing Counselors vs. Real Estate Agents: What is the Difference?
Real estate agents can help you find homes, based on what you are looking for. But, they cannot help you develop an action plan, depending on your current situation. Real estate agents want to make the sale and collect a commission; it is in their best interest to find you a home that you want. This is why you should talk to a counselor first when you want to buy a home for the first time. You should start the homebuying process by figuring out whether you are ready to buy and how much you can afford. Housing counselors will help you determine if you are mortgage-ready. That way you can be ready when you start looking for properties.
In conclusion, housing counselors will help you with so much. A housing counselor is an agent that is certified by the government, making sure that you get the most out of your financial situation. They can also help you find options, especially if you have trouble paying for your mortgage. Just make sure that you find a HUD-approved housing counselor. There are people out there who might take advantage of your situation, but a HUD-approved counselor is not one of them. You should know that there is a big difference between a real estate agent and a housing counselor. Both of them are very important, but you should make sure that you talk to one before the other. Make sure that you talk to a housing counselor before you speak to a real estate agent.