What to Expect When Working with a Housing Counselor

Housing counselor providing assistance over the phone.

For those facing foreclosure — or who fear they may face it in the future — a call to a HUD-certified housing counselor at MMI can be extremely helpful. They can help you understand your situation, discover potential solutions, and provide you with the tools and resources you need to get through a challenging situation. Crucially, foreclosure counseling is free and available to anyone who's concerned about their mortgage situation. 

But we realize it’s a big step to take, and uncertainty can make the process seem daunting. So in order to help you better understand the housing counseling process, the following is a rundown of what you can expect from a session with one of MMI’s HUD-certified housing counselors:

MMI HUD-certified Housing Counseling Session Checklist

Prepare Financial Information Prior to Session

Prior to calling, make sure you know and/or have access to the following information, as the counselor will ask for these things in order to better assess your situation:

  • Your monthly income;
  • monthly expenses;
  • debts and assets; and
  • mortgage information – including servicer, payment amount, interest rate, amount of loan, date loan was acquired and your last contact with servicer.

The more information you have to share, the easier it will be to find the best solution for your particular challenge.

Discuss Hardship and Financial Situation with Counselor

A typical phone call lasts about an hour and begins with the privacy disclosure. Your counselor will always take time to answer any questions you may have throughout the session.

The bulk of your session will involve you and your counselor discussing your specific hardship (the reason you're having difficulty making payments). Your counselor will create a file and ask for basic budget information. All the information collected will be added to your file and used to help determine your best course of action.

Learn Options Based on Your Specific Situation

Based on the information you provide, your counselor will identify your options, explaining the potential ramifications and steps needed. Your counselor will also recommend certain resources and services, usually ones that would most benefit you and address your specific concerns. 

Review Action Plan with Counselor

You will then review an action plan, which your counselor will create based on the information covered in the session, including your personal input. You will receive a written copy of the action plan, which will be used to prepare a recommendation to your lender based on the option you choose (if you choose an option).

Opportunity for Lender Conference Call

At the conclusion of the counseling session, you will be offered the opportunity to participate in a conference call with your lender to go over the recommendation and see if your lender will be able to assist you. You should note that, while telephone contact is not required and is completely optional, it is an important part of the process in order for your lender to help you avoid foreclosure.

Optional Post-Foreclosure Counseling Session

In the event you are not able to work with the lender to keep your home, your counselor will walk you through your next steps. Depending on your circumstances, you may be offered a post-foreclosure counseling session. In this session you will learn more about what to expect after you transition out of the home.

If you are already in foreclosure, the most important thing you can do is stay in contact with your lender and seek help as soon as possible. While the foreclosure process varies by state, there a number of options that may allow you to slow or suspend the foreclosure activity — all of which your counselor can explain to you in detail.  

But it all begins by taking the first step and reaching out for help. So don’t wait any longer. Call a HUD-certified housing counselor today.

Tagged in Mortgages and foreclosure

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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