Housing counselors offer assistance to homeowners, buyers as market heats up

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 21:48:39-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Housing counselors are available to help homeowners and buyers navigate the competitive market.

Housing counselors can give home buyers a leg up in the real estate search. "They’re out there ready to serve," said Eileen Fitzgerald, the housing affordability philanthropy head at Wells Fargo.

She explained that housing counselors have been slammed during the pandemic. "So, a housing counselor is really your coach and advocate to help you find the best housing solution for you and your family," Fitzgerald said.

According to the White House, during the pandemic roughly ten million homeowners were behind on their mortgage payments. Housing counselors help those people know what resources are being offered. Homeowners have until June 30 to apply for forbearance.

"If you need a forbearance, you just don’t have to pay for a while, make sure you’re applying for that today. But also, there are other solutions,” Fitzgerald said. “Now there’s federal assistance for homeowners available to be implemented through each state."

They also assist renters as one in five have struggled to pay recently. "Work with creditors on debt repayment,” Fitzgerald said. “Work with landlords on rent repayment schedules."

If you're in a tough financial situation. the worst thing you can do is nothing. "Housing counselors provide information on the financial assistance that’s currently out there, help with your budget and other debt, because sometimes restructuring that debt can make a difference, and help you avoid foreclosure," Fitzgerald said.

In a crisis, a housing counselor is free or only costs a small amount. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a list of housing counselors here.