Don’t labor over the complex foreclosure process, work with a pro

Foreclosure is hard to handle alone so getting help from a certified Housing Counselor can help.

What can a certified housing counselor do to help save a home from foreclosure? They can explain how the process works, the timelines and what paperwork is necessary. A housing counselor can help complete and submit paperwork to your lender. They can speak to the lender on your behalf and explain to the lender what happened to cause the mortgage delinquency. They can speak to attorneys, if necessary, and generally run interference between you and your lender. And they will not charge you for their services! 

Falling far enough behind on your mortgage payments so that the mortgage company starts foreclosure causes stress and anxiety. Handling the complicated process alone makes it harder still. Asking a professional for assistance can help you navigate the process and hopefully avoid losing your home. So, how do you find a certified professional housing counselor

When the Recession first hit in 2008, many homeowners faced foreclosure. There weren’t enough housing counselors to handle the volume of clients facing financial distress. Though there certainly were those who had been dutifully serving the public for years, the reality of the Housing Crisis was that more certified housing counselors were needed. The result was that both on a federal level, through HUD, and at the state level, through state housing authorities, housing counselors were recruited and trained to assist troubled homeowners navigate the often difficult process of working with a mortgage lender.

At the same time, there were others who advertised as guaranteeing help for struggling homeowners. They charged fees, often extremely high fees, and made guarantees of saving a home from foreclosure. These entities were not trained or certified as housing counselors and were making promises they could not keep. There is no guarantee of a successful outcome when working with a mortgage lender. Also, any agency recognized by HUD does not charge for housing counseling services.

In 2010, the Making Home Affordable program came into being to establish policies and procedures for both mortgage lenders and homeowners. It set parameters for lenders and standardized paperwork requirements for homeowners. Though the program officially ended 12/31/2016, the programs are still in place to assist struggling homeowners. Even though the Recession has been declared officially over, many homeowners still struggle with mortgage payments. Asking a certified housing counselor for assistance is the best way to face the struggle and help avoid foreclosure. 

Michigan State University Extension has released a new toolkit for homeowners who are experiencing or have previously experienced foreclosure. This toolkit will equip these individuals and families with tools to help them recover their financial stability, in the case that a recovery of their home is not possible. The toolkit is available to download free at MIMoneyHealth.org.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, go to either MSU Extension events or www.mimoneyhealth.org. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health.

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