Sometimes homeowners want to talk to someone besides their mortgage company. This may be especially true during the pandemic since new and complicated mortgage rules have been developed and it may be hard to know what–or who–to trust. That’s where HUD-approved housing counselors come in. If you have questions about COVID-19 mortgage relief or would even like help negotiating that assistance with us, counselors can help.
Who are HUD-approved housing counselors?
HUD-approved housing counselors are like financial coaches, except they specialize in housing issues. As their name suggests, they’re certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), though they work for counseling agencies which are separate from HUD. The most successful relationships with them tend to be on-going as they stay in your corner helping you navigate your mortgage options.
What do they do?
Counseling agencies serve over 1 million households a year. Their services range from free foreclosure prevention assistance to providing debt management information. They also offer translations and other language assistance if you’re not comfortable communicating in English.
As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains, HUD-approved counselors can help you:
- Evaluate your finances
- Weigh your choices when you’re having trouble paying your mortgage
- Create a strategy to get assistance
They can also help you with:
- Buying a home
- Mortgage defaults
- Credit issues
- Reverse mortgages
- Disaster assistance
- Budget building
- Local resources
- Avoiding mortgage scams
How can you find one?
For a directory of HUD-approved counseling offices, click here. That said, beware of information you find through unofficial sources. Scammers may pose as a HUD representative or a counselor online. They may also contact you with an unsolicited offer of “help.” In reality, you should always have to contact a counselor first and should only do so using verified contact information. (Learn more in our blog on avoiding COVID-19 fraud.)
All in all, working with a housing counselor may give you added comfort and confirmation about pandemic payment relief solutions that may be offered to you. It also never hurts to have someone encouraging you and keeping you financially on track in these uncommon times.