MSU Extension Housing programs can remove the guesswork from homeownership and foreclosure

Michigan State University Extension believes there’s “no place like home”.

Do not worry about confronting housing issues alone. Michigan State University Extension is a HUD- and MSHDA-certified agency whose staff is available to assist Michigan residents with their housing questions and concerns.

MSU Extension’s certified housing counselors work directly with the community to provide Foreclosure intervention education and counseling. They meet with clients to discuss the delinquency issues being faced by the homeowner and to answer their questions. Other issues covered during these meetings are the foreclosure timeline, the foreclosure process, home retention or non-retention options, and the paperwork required to initiate foreclosure intervention. Foreclosure clients also complete a budget. The counselor and the client review the budget together and develop cost-cutting strategies. However, the counselor’s job does not end there. The counselor will submit the paperwork to the lender and begin to follow-up with the lender as the paperwork is being processed.

Often, a family’s housing issue is not their only crisis. Housing counselors may refer families to community resources where they can obtain help with utility bills, food and legal issues.

In 2013, approximately 569 families received assistance from MSU Extension’s Foreclosure Prevention program. Many were able to keep their current home and get back on track with their mortgage. Some of the families were able to sell their homes to avoid foreclosure.

MSU Extension’s homeownership program provides education to help Michigan residents become more knowledgeable about the home buying process. Buying a home is the largest single financial transaction most Americans will ever make. Michigan citizens deserve to be informed about the home buying process. Certified housing counselors offer homebuyer (pre-purchase) workshops that cover the advantages of home ownership and steps in the home buying process, understanding costs of home ownership and how to maintain the investment, mortgage loan basics, why good credit is important, and how to determine how much house one can afford. Guest speakers from the housing industry participate in the workshops to provide additional information. After successfully finishing the workshop series, participants will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate is required for state housing authority down payment assistance programs.

MSU Extension offers an online homebuyer’s course, eHomeAmerica, for residents who cannot attend the face-to-face workshops. Residents who successfully complete the online course are contacted by a housing counselor and are given the opportunity to ask questions or discuss housing and homeownership. Online participants also receive a certificate of completion.

Participants who had completed the homebuyer education workshops in 2013 were surveyed and 84 percent reported paying their mortgage on time every month, 86 percent understood predatory lending practices and 86 percent can identify the best type of mortgage for their needs.

To find out about the MSU Extension programs being offered in your area, visit MIMoneyHealth.org, or call 1-888-678-3464.

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