Foreclosure help, eviction prevention and housing assistance from HUD.
The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) organization has certified thousands of local non-profit housing and foreclosure counseling agencies across the nation. The HUD approved agencies can provide help to both homeowners and renters. They offer a number of services to families including free or low cost counseling, eviction and foreclosure prevention solutions, information on mortgage assistance programs and other forms of aid. The programs are offered at a very low cost or even free of charge to homeowners who need mortgage help. Individuals that rent their home can also benefit from these assistance programs and counseling services.
- Renters and tenants can explore counseling that emphasizes eviction prevention. Click here.
- Homeowners have access to even more services. They range from foreclosure assistance to help in applying for home loan modifications and credit repair. Read more.
While the exact type and number of assistance programs offered will vary by agency, homeowners can usually find help with one or more of the following. Mortgage delinquency and default resolution counseling; financial, budgeting and credit repair; subprime loans; predatory lending; reverse mortgage counseling, foreclosure assistance, and debt reduction. So clients can get help with more than just their mortgage from a counselor.
Foreclosure prevention services offered by HUD housing agencies
Each non-profit agency will offer their own specific programs and services to help clients prevent a foreclosure, or to get back on track with their monthly mortgage payments. The costs involved will vary as well. Some services are free. Others will have very low costs as agencies are allowed to charge nominal fees to recoup their expenses.
The programs offered all fall under the umbrella of the HUD's Housing Counseling Program. If you prove that you can’t afford to pay for any counseling fees, then per the HUD certified designation the counseling agency needs to provide foreclosure help to the applicant free of charge.
One of the main benefits in working with one of these non-profits is the client will be provided the opportunity to meet face to face with the housing counselor. The sessions are confidential. They may be able to offer the following to the individual.
- The counselor can draft the terms of and propose a loan modification or workout proposal to the homeowner’s lender or bank. This may be the best solution for those individuals who have an affordability gap in their income when compared to their monthly mortgage payment.
- Request additional time from your lender to review your situation and negotiate a solution that works for both the homeowner and their lender.
- Get information on, be referred to, and get help with applying for various state, local, and federal government programs that can provide foreclosure help.
- Work on reducing fees, principal, and other expenses. For example, a housing counselor can request prepayment penalty waivers or eliminate late fees. This is usually offered for those equity-challenged homeowners who are trying to sell their home, or who are in the midst of a loan modification or refinancing.
- The HUD certified housing counselor may be able to intervene to delay a foreclosure if you have a sheriff sale date.
- Recent studies show that using the services of a HUD counseling agency can improve your chances of receiving mortgage help by up to 70%. The Foreclosure Counseling Outcome Study analyzed the results of thousands of cases, and the results show that asking for help early will greatly improve your chances for saving your home. Read more.
- They will review your personal and financial situation, complete a current budget analysis of your income and expenses, and the counselor will work with you to establish a realistic budget to ensure you can get back on track with paying your mortgage. Having a budget and plan will also help ensure that your lender takes you seriously, and is one more tool that can help prevent a foreclosure.
- Housing counselors are always very knowledgeable about all of the assistance programs that are offered by the major banks and lenders, and they know how these banks and their mostly free programs can help homeowners pay a delinquent mortgage or stop a foreclosure. More information on programs from Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
- Maybe one of the most important reasons and benefits for using an experienced housing counselor is that they can ensure you are treated fairly by your lender and ensure the communication occurs. Counselors can help ensure this occurs as they have existing relationships with lenders, and using a highly trained expert will ensure your case is taken seriously.
- HUD certified counselors may sometimes be part of non-profit credit counseling organizations that offer a wide variety of free services above and beyond foreclosure prevention. Click here to find a listing of national non-profit credit, foreclosure and debt counseling agencies.
Counseling for renters
While not as common, many Housing and Urban Development / HUD approved agencies can also help individuals and families that are renting their homes. Counseling is offered to those clients as well. In addition, if your income meets certain thresholds and is low enough, then the services will be provided at no cost to the client.
The centers and staff want to reduce evictions and the resulting homelessness in their communities and states. So they will assist those individuals that are delinquent on their rent and are facing eviction. They can also advise tenants on state and federal fair housing laws and the rights that a tenant has. Also, get information on home maintenance issues and what landlords are required to provide. One of the main goals of the non-profit HUD agencies is to help tenants understand their rights and improve their living conditions.
Housing counseling agencies