Buying a house in the New York City metro area can be a daunting task, especially for low and moderate income individuals and families. First-time homebuyers face many uncertainties around the home-buying process – How much do I need to save for a down payment? What if I have credit problems? Where to find the best mortgage lender? – but affordable homeownership doesn’t have to be an impossible dream, and education is the first step to go from a renter to a homeowner.
What is Housing Counseling?
Homeownership is an important decision and a long-term commitment. Housing counseling can provide the right tools for current and prospective homeowners to make responsible and sustainable choices through educational assistance. Seeking pre-purchase counseling not only can help inform decisions about the purchase transaction and ongoing responsibilities of homeownership, but also provide multiple financial benefits.
There is a vast network of housing counseling agencies serving communities across the country that is supported and approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide free or low-cost advice on buying a home, renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues or reverse mortgages.
What types of services do housing counseling agencies offer?
Housing counseling agencies are trained to provide the following services:
- Financial Management/Budget Counseling
- Financial, Budgeting, and Credit Repair Workshops
- Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
- Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
- Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
- Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops and Counseling
- Pre-Purchase Counseling
- Pre-Purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
- Predatory Lending Education Workshops
- Rental Housing Counseling and Workshops
- Resolving/Preventing Mortgage Delinquency
- Reverse Mortgage Counseling
- Services for Homeless Counseling
What are the outcomes that housing counselors help their clients achieve?
Pre-purchase housing counseling can help homebuyers become eligible for various financial benefits, including:
- Down payment assistance programs
- Closing cost grants
- Below market mortgage rates
- Fixed-rate loans
Housing counselors help their clients achieve numerous housing outcomes, including:
- Provide information on fair housing, fair lending, and accessibility rights
- Develop sustainable household budgets
- Help clients improve their financial capacity (reduce debt load, increase savings, increase credit score)
- Provide access to housing and non-housing resources
- Help homeless or potentially homeless households obtain housing
- Help tenants avoid eviction
- Help first-time homebuyers obtain mortgages
- Help homeowners obtain home equity conversion mortgages (HECM)
- Help homeowners improve their home conditions and affordability
- Help homeowners facing foreclosure to prevent or resolve a mortgage default and stay in their home
If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, seeking housing counseling can save you money and time in the process of achieving your dream of homeownership.