Mortgage debt represents the largest source of consumer debt in the United States. Many consumers struggle to maintain their mortgage payments for many reasons, such as increases in interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages, unemployment, and medical issues. In response to this housing crisis, Housing Counseling agencies like Cambridge began offering services to help consumers avoid foreclosure and get their finances back on-track.
Housing counseling is a broad term used for services offered by non-profit agencies, designed to help homeowners with a variety of issues they may be facing. In order to provide these services, agencies must first get approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Housing counselors must be certified by Neighborworks America for each of the counseling services they provide. Housing counseling services range from first-time homebuyer education courses to foreclosure intervention services. So, whether you're shopping around for your first home, or if you're a homeowner who's having difficulty paying their mortgage, or a landlord or tenant who wants to understand their rights and responsibilities, our housing counseling professionals are trained and ready to help you.
For most of us, owning a home is still considered to be the “American Dream”. We all want our own little slice of America to call our own…a place that we can raise our children and build memories. But being a homeowner comes with a ton of responsibilities. Most important, unless you bought your house outright, you have to pay your mortgage every single month. In the perfect world, we’d all have 6 to 12 months of emergency savings to fall back on in case something in our lives affected our ability to keep up with our payments. After all… life does change. People change. Careers change. Incomes change. Some of these life changes are a result of our own doing, while others lay beyond our control. The question is: how many of us are prepared for the unexpected? What would you do if your company downsized tomorrow or simply closed its doors? How would you pay your mortgage?
Unfortunately, this scenario is not out of the ordinary. In fact, it happens quite often, and most of us are simply unprepared. Thankfully, there are options available for homeowners who experience temporary setbacks that affect their ability to remain current on their mortgage. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies specialize in finding solutions to these types of mortgage issues by working with you and your loan servicer to establish workout plans that are beneficial to both parties.
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It’s important to understand that lenders do not want you to go into foreclosure. It typically costs lenders more money to foreclose on a property than it does to help homeowners get back on track and stay in their homes. Unfortunately, most homeowners simply don’t understand that these options are available. Our NCHEC-certified foreclosure counselors will work with you and your lender to identify the best solution for your particular circumstances. For homeowners who have experienced temporary changes in their lives that caused their delinquency, but who are able to make their payments moving forward, lenders will typically offer mortgage modifications to bring the loans current and often make mortgage payments more affordable by reducing the interest rates. Click here for more information about mortgage modifications.
Cambridge's Foreclosure Intervention and Default Counseling services are funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so our foreclosure counseling services are offered at no cost to you!
Since these services are free, there's no risk in speaking to one of our housing counseling professionals if you are having difficulty, so please do not delay. There are many options for homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage and our housing counselors are fully trained and certified in order to give you the most professional and expert advice available.
Your home is one of the largest investments you'll ever make, so if you're planning on buying a home within the next two years, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of Cambridge's Homebuyer Education counseling. Our certified housing counselors will explain the steps you need to follow as you prepare yourself for homeownership. We'll review your current budget and credit report with you to help you determine what you can afford, not what a salesperson says you can afford. We'll also provide information on the advantages and disadvantages of the various financing options and assistance programs that may be available to you, and show you how to avoid predatory lending practices. From choosing the right home, to inspections and closing, Cambridge's counselors are here to help you learn about the home-buying process and how to make informed financial decisions for yourself and your family.
For people who prefer to rent their living space, Cambridge offers both Rental Education Workshops and personalized one-on-one Rental Counseling sessions. Whether you're already renting or preparing to do so, our counselors will show you effective budgeting and money management techniques that will help make your rental experience a success. We'll teach you how to review your credit report and make corrections when needed, and we'll provide information on the application process, available subsidies, and the difference between leasing and rental agreements. We'll also teach you how to apply for tenancy, the typical expenses that you'll incur as a renter, and how to properly communicate with your landlord. We'll discuss how you can recover your security deposit if you're looking to relocate, what you need to know about keeping up with necessary maintenance and repairs, and the importance of understanding your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
If you have any issues related to your home or if you see a problem coming in the near future, the worst thing you can do is to do nothing, or wait until it's too late. Our foreclosure counseling services are 100% free, so you lose absolutely nothing by taking a few minutes to speak with housing counselor. The call is toll-free and completely confidential.