Finding a Housing Counselor
Housing counselors help millions of individuals each year regain their financial footing. These counselors often work for nonprofit organizations and are trained to help you with your financial needs – which can include helping you better manage your debt and finding solutions if you are in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure.
If you are having financial difficulties, the time to act is now. Don't hesitate and don't be ashamed or embarrassed – they are here to help.
- Call the Homeowner's HOPETM Hotline at (888) 995-HOPE to reach trained housing counselors who can provide free advice and help you develop a plan to avoid foreclosure.
- Call the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) at (800) 569-4287 or visit their web site for a list of approved housing counselors in your area.
If you are researching agencies on your own, be sure that you do your due diligence. Unfortunately, there are scam artists who prey on distressed homeowners and can cause a great deal of harm. Some will even try to strip a home's remaining equity through foreclosure "rescue" scams, which can actually cause homeowners to lose their homes.
Following are important items to consider if you are seeking counseling services on your own:
- HUD-approved housing counseling services are free, so if an agency charges a fee, look very carefully at what type of services you are being charged for.
- Is the agency accredited by a recognized accreditation organization such as the National Association for Credit Counseling?
- How long has it been in business?
- Does it have audited financial statements?
- Does it have a community presence? In other words, does it have branches that are open to the public?
- Does it have the required licenses to do business in the state where you live?
- Have complaints been filed with the Better Business Bureau in the community where it is located?
- Does it provide a written "Action Plan" after each counseling session?
Tools and Resources
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