Whether you’ve decided to buy your first home, have a hard time paying your mortgage, or want to take out a reverse mortgage in your retirement, educating yourself on the process as well as your options can ultimately help you be a more successful homeowner.
Putting your questions into a search engine may bring up many results, but they’re often confusing or just overwhelming to wade through. That’s why participating in housing counseling can be beneficial to you as you research your options—and in some cases, it’s required.
How can housing counseling help? Here’s a breakdown of when you’ll need it and how it can benefit you:
Looking to buy your first home? While exciting, the housing market across the U.S. is considered a seller’s market, which means you might be paying way above the asking price. For first-time homeowners, buying a home in such a competitive market is not an ideal situation. That’s where housing counseling comes in. Not only can a housing counselor help you decide whether now is the right time to be looking, but they can help you navigate First Time Home Buyer Programs on federal and state levels. This way you’ll know your mortgage options and which ones will work best for you—whether you have a large down payment to work with or qualify for low-income programs.
Housing counseling has proven to help people gain a greater understanding of their responsibilities as homeowners. Studies have shown that people who get housing counseling are less likely to default on their loan within the first two years. Ultimately, housing counseling can help you get a mortgage, qualify for fixed-rate loans and below-market mortgage rates, find closing cost grants, and navigate down payment assistance programs.
If you’re a homeowner 62 years or older and looking to supplement income during retirement, a reverse mortgage may be the way to go. A reverse mortgage is a loan that you borrow against your home equity that you don’t have to pay back as long as you’re living in your home. But talk to a housing counselor first, because there may be other options—and it’s also a requirement. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says you must complete housing counseling so that you understand how a reverse mortgage works, your options, and alternatives.
Missing a payment on your home can be scary if you’re worried about possible foreclosure. While housing counseling can give you a better understanding of foreclosure timelines in your state, generally, mortgage companies will get foreclosure started about three to six months after you miss a payment. Before you get to that point, talk to a housing counselor. They can give you advice and tactics to avoid foreclosure, give you a better understanding of your options for repayment and mortgage modification, and work with your mortgage servicer to advocate for you—so you can stay in your home.
Housing counselors provide services that are also broader in scope, including working with you to develop a household budget for future success, reducing debt, building savings, and increasing your credit score.
Want to learn more about housing counseling? Contact CCCS of Northeastern Iowa today: 319-234-0661.