HUD study highlights benefits of housing counseling

Two new studies by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) illustrate the positive impact housing counseling has on consumers in two distinct situations: those who are considering buying a home and those who are struggling to stay in their home.

The “Foreclosure Counseling Outcome Study” revealed that with the help of a HUD-certified counselor, nearly 70 percent of those counseled obtained a mortgage remedy to retain their home. In addition, 56 percent cured their defaults and became current on their mortgages.

Through the “Pre-Purchase Counseling Outcome Study,” HUD found that 35 percent of participants became homeowners within 18 months of pre-purchase counseling.

“These two studies underscore the need to continue supporting housing counseling programs across the country, especially during this period when so many families are struggling with mortgage issues,” said Jo Kerstetter, vice president of financial education and community relations for Money Management International (MMI). “HUD-certified pre-purchase counseling and foreclosure prevention counseling improves the likelihood that a homeowner will remain in their home.”

“Here at MMI, we see first-hand the positive impact our housing counseling services have on consumers,” said Daniel Fenton, senior director of housing for MMI. “We are pleased to see that HUD’s results validate what we already believe to be true.”

Whether a first-time homebuyer or facing foreclosure, MMI is approved by HUD to deliver a variety of housing counseling services and financial educational programs to help consumers obtain and keep their piece of the American Dream:

Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline — MMI is proud to be one of the organizations supporting the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline, providing foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation counseling services. Every day thousands of homeowners from across the nation call the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline to get help and advice for handling their past due mortgages.

Reverse Mortgage Counseling — MMI is approved by HUD to provide counseling required by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to complete an application for a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a type of loan that allows homeowners who are 62 years of age or older to convert part of the equity in their homes into tax-free income.

First-time homebuyer workshops — MMI offers community workshops designed to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about becoming a homeowner, as well as useful information to assist with correcting credit issues, obtaining a mortgage, shopping for a home and completing the inspection and appraisal process.

Housing counseling services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone and online. In-person credit counseling is also available by appointment in the local markets in which we operate.

Tanisha (Warner) Smith is a former communications manager at MMI.