Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides government-approved housing counselors – though legislation is underway to require all housing counselors to be HUD-approved. Similarly, these are trained professionals who offer guidance, particularly during times of crisis and loss of income. Topics like preventing foreclosure, protecting your credit, buying a home and other issues are all within these counselors’ expertise. The department also sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country, which offer free or low-cost services in multiple languages.
How can a counselor help you?
A counselor can assess your situation and circumstances to identify options and prepare you to talk with your mortgage company. Here’s a breakdown of services they offer:
- Work on credit issues
- Help you complete a loss mitigation application (Foreclosures are expensive for servicers, so loss mitigation helps them minimize their losses through options for borrowers to catch up on their loans.)
- Negotiate with your servicers on your behalf
- Find and understand down payment assistance programs
- Explain the terms of your loan
- Determine when it’s time to refinance
- List the documents you’ll need to gather for any given process
- Provide information about local resources
What do you need to prepare when you reach out?
It’ll be helpful to gather your basic financial and loan information before you call. This may include your mortgage statement, monthly debt payments like a student or car loans or credit card payments, and your income details.
Be prepared to explain your current situation and explain why you may have (or already are having) trouble making your mortgage payment. Your mortgage company will need to understand the reasons you’re having difficulty so they can find the right solution for you.
Final note: Try not to panic if the process to resolve your mortgage payment troubles takes some time, even a few months – this is normal.
If you’re especially nervous during the Coronavirus crisis, keep in mind that federal housing agencies are halting all foreclosures while we all navigate through these uncertain times.
Keep calm and check out our post “FHFA Suspends Foreclosures and Evictions! What Does it all Really Mean?” for more info.
Need more assistance? The Keep Home™ app has all the resources you need for the homebuying and owning process.