Finding the Right Counselor to Meet Your Housing and Financial Goals

January 8, 2016 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: Financial Education, Home Buyer Education, Housing Counseling

Whether your goal is to buy a home, improve your financial management skills, decrease your debt, or increase your savings, nonprofit housing and financial counselors can be a great resource to help you make progress toward your goal in the New Year. For this week’s blog post, we want to help you navigate the different types of counseling and find the one that's right for you.

Below are descriptions of each counseling type, as defined by the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling;  the National Foundation for Credit Counseling; and RAISE Texas, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to promoting financial education and literacy.

  • Pre-Purchase Home Buyer Education and Counseling: Pre-purchase counseling should be completed prior to shopping for a home and mortgage, and is often required to utilize down payment assistance programs, including TSAHC’s. Pre-purchase counseling may be offered one-on-one, online, or in a group setting and generally covers the following topics:
    • assessing whether you are ready to buy a home,
    • budget and credit requirements,
    • how to shop for a home, and
    • the mortgage process.
  • Post-Purchase Home Buyer Education and Counseling: Post-purchase counseling may be offered one-on-one or in a group setting, is best suited for those who already own a home, and will help you successfully navigate the ongoing aspects of homeownership, including:
    • budgeting for taxes and maintenance,
    • tips for maintaining and improving your home, and
    • the pros and cons of refinancing and home equity loans.
       
  • Mortgage Delinquency and Default Counseling: This type of one-on-one counseling focuses on helping homeowners avoid losing their home to foreclosure. Counselors will help you communicate with your lender to explore your options, fill out paperwork required by the lender, and develop a budget to get back on track.

     

  • Financial Education: Financial education is a broad term that covers several topics, including: budgeting, credit, paying off student loans and other debt, and savings.  Counseling agencies provide financial education in a variety of ways, including group classes and workshops, one-on-one counseling, and through online webinars. 

     

  • Financial Coaching: Financial coaching is provided in a one-on-one setting and focuses on helping clients reach individualized goals to improve their financial wellbeing. Coaches offer resources, encouragement and accountability to help clients establish healthy long-term financial behaviors.

     

  • Credit Counseling: Counselors will meet with you one-on-one to help you review and understand your credit report and develop a personalized plan to help you pay off your debt. 

Some nonprofits also offer counseling for specific loan types and situations, such as home equity loans, reverse mortgage loans, rental housing and bankruptcy.

Check out the resources below to find a counselor in your area:

Texas Financial Toolbox

Find a Housing Counselor (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

Full List of HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies (HUD)


On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Comments

kclaflin@tsahc.org

Hi Sarah, we recommend that you visit our Texas Financial Toolbox http://www.texasfinancialtoolbox.com. This online resource can help you find a housing and financial counselor in your community who can help you work toward improving your credit and buying a home.

Sarah Howard

I’m looking for help with paying off debt to improve my credit score to purchase a home.  I’m a retired veteran who last home ownership was 2009 when my home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  Thank you.

972 825-6840

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