A housing counselor is someone who can help you through the process of working to save your home from foreclosure. While counselors will do all that they can to assist you, the process is a two-way street with the homeowner as a critical partner in the process. Each must do their part in order to make the process work and to reach a satisfactory resolution.
Here are some of the services that a housing counselor can offer:
Determining a homeowner’s objectives and needs
A housing counselor wants to understand what you are trying to accomplish. The more information you provide to the housing counselor, the easier it will be to assess your situation. Completing a personal profile intake form and a household budget form before you contact a housing counselor will save time in the process.
Determining time constraints
The housing counselor will need to identify any deadlines you face, especially the foreclosure sale date. Call a housing counselor immediately if mail comes regarding foreclosure. If you are not aware of a sale date, your housing counselor can contact your lender.
Establishing reasons for default & preparing a hardship letter
A hardship letter includes your reasons for falling behind on your mortgage payments, how you plan to overcome those difficulties, and what accommodations you may need from the lender in order to become current on the loan. The letter must be in your own words, but a housing counselor can assist you with this process.
Preparing a spending plan and reducing debt
If you put together a spending plan, a housing counselor can help you go over it line by line to identify all debts and any surplus income. Any surplus you have can be used to start bringing your mortgage payment current. If you have a deficit, a housing counselor can help you decide what costs to cut and determine if there are ways your household can increase its income (for example, a family member can get a part time job, or you can sell assets). A housing counselor can also provide suggestions about how to manage other debts, such as credit card debt and student loans, while prioritizing your mortgage.
Making realistic choices and determining options
A housing counselor can help assess if your goals are realistic given your spending plan and how far behind you are on your mortgage payments. They will review all options available to you and answer questions you may have about how to make a decision and move forward. They will also keep you updated as things progress.
Starting paperwork if you choose to try to save your home from foreclosure
A housing counselor will help you submit any paperwork, such as income and expense documentation or bills, that your lender or servicer requires.
Requesting a delay of foreclosure sale date
A housing counselor will be an advocate for you in getting a delay on the foreclosure sale date. They will ensure that you receive it in writing and will help keep an eye on the sale process.