If you face a major financial decision, you need advice you can trust. A HUD-approved housing counseling agency can provide the trustworthy guidance you need to make the right decision.
A housing counselor can help you:
- Decide if it’s smarter to buy or rent your home — and how much you can
- Avoid foreclosure if you’re behind on your mortgage payments.
- Prevent homelessness if you’re at risk of losing your home.
- Understand and determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you.
- Recognize and avoid scam artists.
- Get your finances under control with a budget plan.
- Manage your credit.
What does housing counseling cost?
- If the counseling is to help you avoid foreclosure or homelessness, the
service is free.
- For all other types of counseling, there may be a reasonable fee; however
fees may be waived for clients who are unable to pay.
Get started now with a housing counselor
- Find a housing counselor near you with HUD’s easy-to-use search tool.
- Choose a counselor from the options provided, and visit the counselor’s
website for instructions on how to contact them, and how to prepare for your
- Read the instructions on the counselor’s website carefully — there may be
documents you need to gather and forms to fill out before your session can be
What to bring when you meet with a housing counselor
You’ll need to bring the following items when you
meet with any type of housing counselor:
- Your driver’s license.
- Your last three years’ federal tax returns.
- 60 days worth of pay stubs and proof of other income (self-employment,
child support, etc.).
- Bank statements for the last three months.
- Documentation of your monthly expenses.
- Documentation of any paid judgments or collections.
Also bring the following if you need foreclosure
- Documentation of all communications from your mortgage servicer.
- Copy of a recent mortgage statement.
- Copy of closing documents (HUD-1 Settlement Statement, Deed of Trust, Deed
of Trust Note).
- Explanation of your inability to make mortgage payments.
What type of housing counselor do you need?
- Pre-purchase counselors can help you determine if you are
really ready to buy a home, and how much you can afford, by reviewing your
budget, spending, savings and credit.
- Post-purchase and reverse mortgage counselors are helpful
if you’ve already bought a home and need to update your spending and savings
plan, go over closing documents, manage credit or avoid foreclosure. They also
help seniors understand the requirements of reverse mortgages.
- Foreclosure and loss mitigation counselors can advise you
if your mortgage payment has become unaffordable. They will explain programs
and options that may be available, and can serve as a mediator between you and
- Rental housing counselors can help you prepare for
successful renting by advising you on the application process, security
deposits, rental assistance, moving expenses, and your finances.
- Homeless services counselors assist people in finding the
transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live.
- Financial and credit counselors will assess your current
situation including credit, spending and savings, and help you set realistic