A certified housing counselor is a person specially trained to assist individuals and households with their financial matters. Housing counselors can assist in the areas of buying, preventing foreclosure, and refinancing homes.
Housing Counseling subject matter can include budgeting, savings, spending, debt, and credit. Unlike servicers, loan officers, brokers or other real estate professional representatives, a housing counselor offers independent advisement. Housing counseling services are generally offered with nominal or no cost to the client. Most agencies are supported by HUD and state housing finance agencies, local governments, as well a private philanthropy. Foreclosure counseling and counseling services for homeless persons are offered free of charge through HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.
Many homebuying down payment and closing cost assistance programs require a Homeownership Counseling Certificate from an approved agency before making an offer on a home. A certificate requires in-person or on-line group home buyer education and a one on one counseling session with a counselor to discuss a person’s particular circumstance. Certificates are good for one year.
"Counselors are trained to help in a variety of situations – from giving advice to someone who's exploring homeownership for the first time, to helping a future homeowner overcome past credit problems (or lack of any credit history at all)" ("Freddie Mac Encourages Homebuyers to Utilize Housing Counselors", DSNews.com, )
“Evidence indicates that housing counseling can be an effective intervention in helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.” A report by Temkin et al. (2014) sponsored by the Urban Institute reviewed outcomes associated with 240,000 loans, one-half of which received counseling under NeighborWorks® America’s National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. Counseled clients were 2.83 times more likely to receive a loan modification and were 70 percent less likely to redefault on a modified loan. Counseled clients were given modifications that saved them $732 per year compared with non-counseled borrowers. From Housing Counseling Works, Marina L. Myhre, Ph.D. Nicole Elsasser Watson Social Science Analysts U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2017
In June 2016, HUD published The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration: Early Insights report that presented 12-month findings for study participants. Three of four 12-month outcomes tested positive and statistically significant (improved mortgage literacy, greater appreciation for communication with lenders, and improved underwriting qualifications)
All HUD participating housing counseling agencies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to review the HUD Covid-19 information and resource webpage.
Housing Counseling Handbook 7610.1, Chapter 5-11, B. 3-d, requires when any aspect an agency's purpose is impaired and can no longer comply with programmatic requirements, regulations or grant agreement (e.g., not functioning due to a disaster or emergency) the agency must notify their HUD Point of Contact (POC) within 15 days. If your agency's operational status is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please place appropriate messages on your agency voicemail, email and social media.
The FDIC is working with federal and state banking agencies, as well as, financial institutions to consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers in communities affected by COVID-19.
The OCC is working cooperatively with all state and federal banking agencies and other organizations to regulated institutions and their customers in managing the impact of the outbreak.
Information on protecting consumer finances.
Joint statement from the Federal Reserve System, FDIC, and the OCC providing guidance to financial institutions on how they can receive credit on their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) activities to low- and moderate-income people and communities affected by the coronavirus.
Link downloads temporary, partial waiver of 24CFR§203.604 Servicing Responsibilities, Contact with the Mortgagor. Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland
Maryland Tenant Protections
FHFA Moves to Provide Eviction Suspension Relief for Renters in Multifamily PropertiesRunning a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.
National Housing Resource Center Covid–19 Webinars
CDN HOUSING COUNSELOR WEBINARS
September 17 Housing Counseling Webinar
Chief Judge Barbera of the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered that residential foreclosures and foreclosures of the right of redemption of residential properties pending in the circuit courts are stayed, effective immediately; residential evictions are stayed effective immediately; and new foreclosure of residential property, foreclosure of rights of redemption after a tax sale, and residential evictions are stayed upon filing. However, Circuit Courts will process land records filings.
Click here to read the 9.4.20 the Maryland Judiciary.
Click here to read from the 3.20.29 Maryland Judiciary information.