Finding a Homeownership Counselor

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 28 September 2016 05:29


If you are in the market for your home, it will please you to know that right now is a great time to buy a home. Why? Because of three main reasons:

  • Compared to historical averages, mortgage rates are very low-and even if you are being late on your mortgage, foreclosure is not the only solution, because there are companies which prevent foreclosure and help you save your home. So, you don’t have to worry about the mortgage process.

  • House prices have stopped falling

  • In terms of credit availability, mortgage lenders are slowing but surely coming to a more equitable position


Still, despite all this positive news, fewer people are buying homes than ever before, especially first time home buyers. In fact, based on a survey performed by The National Association of Realtors in 2014,  only 33% of home buyers were first-time buyers, this is compared to the historical average of 40%. And since then, the numbers have gone down even more. This begs the question, why aren’t people buying homes anymore?


The answer to this question isn’t simple, there are a ton of factors. But, the biggest three include:

  • The complexity of the homebuying process

  • Uncertainty surrounding fixer uppers

  • Lack of funds closing costs, down payments, etc.


Although these three reasons seem problematic, the truth is, it's not as bad as may think. You simply need to employ some tactics (like seeking the help of a homeownership counselor) to help you prepare for and easily handle any rough patches.


What is A Homeownership Counselor?

A homeownership counselor is a housing expert whose main focus is to help you prepare your finances so that you can buy the best home for your needs and budget. He or she will work closely with to you help you:

  • Create and implement a budget

  • Strengthen your credit so you get the lowest mortgage rate possible

  • Set a realistic timeline for buying your home

  • Connect you to other experts like home inspectors and real estate agents

Furthermore, homeownership counselors don’t stop working with you once the purchase of your home is complete, they also provide post-purchase information to ensure your long term success.


Finding a Homeownership Counselor

You should seriously consider getting counseling if you are:

  • A first-time homebuyer

  • A buyer who needs a homeowner education certificate to qualify for a loan

  • Interested in learning more about homeownership

Ok, so you fit one of the above criteria. How do you go about finding a reputable counselor to help you make your dreams of homeownership come true? Thankfully, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes it relatively simple for you. They have a number of homeownership counseling agencies all over the country who will avail their services to you for free. You can gain access to these agencies in one of two ways:

  • Directory of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies on its website.  

  • Call the HUD on the toll-free hotline at 800-569-4287


It's also important to note that there are some companies who offer these services for a fee. If you are interested in learning the difference between their services, simply do an internet search for homeownership counselors in the Las Vegas area.


Important Considerations

When it's time for your appointment, it would be helpful if you had some basic information on hand. This includes:

  • Your income details, like income tax returns and paystubs

  • Monthly debt payments, like credit card payments, student loans, etc.

  • Complete bank statements

  • Recent utility bills


Also, to make sure that you get the most out of your meeting, consider asking your counselor the following questions:

  • Does a fixed or adjustable interest rate make more sense for my situation?

  • Which fees will I have to pay in advance?

  • Should I buy an existing home or a fixer upper?

  • What kind of mortgage is right for me?

  • What can I afford?

  • Is buying a home a smart investment for me?

  • How can I fix my credit?

  • Are there any discounted mortgages or special grants that I can take advantage of?

  • Do I qualify for any type down payment assistance?


The journey to being a proud homeowner isn't as rough as you may think. A homeownership counselor will provide you with the expert guidance you need to make a sustainable and affordable housing choice. Happy House Hunting!

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