The Office of Housing Counseling, a specific branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was created to provide guidance, support, and information to individuals in the subsidized American housing program. Housing Counseling was developed to provide them with the education and facts to stay informed with smart housing financing, maintenance, and savings.
HUD provides support to a nationwide network of Housing Counseling Agencies (HCA) and counselors. These HCA’s are trained and approved to provide tools to current and prospective homeowners and renters so they can make responsible choices to address their specific housing needs in light of their financial situations. Essentially, HCA is in place to prevent disastrous and avoidable financial meltdowns with regards to renting, owning, and managing a property, house, and apartment.
HUD sponsors HCAs throughout the country, and these HCAs contain specifically trained and qualified counselors who are available to meet, discuss, and formulate and long-term financial plan for housing maintenance. Most of these counselors provide their advice for free, though some do come with a very low cost. To locate the HCAs, applicants need to visit the HUD website and find the Housing Counseling map with zip codes marked for HCA locations.
Specific areas of expertise for HUD-approved housing counselors include foreclosure prevention, home buying, home selling, credit protection, and other home related issues. They are experienced professionals who have been vetted and approved by HUD to meet and implement education on home buying and selling. Unlike a broker, servicer, or another representative of a mortgage loan company, a housing counselor can offer his or her own, independent advice. For that reason, their services, as mentioned above, typically come with no price tag, but are assured to help individuals make informed decisions.