Insights from the Front Lines: Housing Counseling

 By: Linda Davis-Demas, Senior Director of Housing

Housing Counseling is a core competency of BALANCE. We handle pre-purchase, post-purchase, foreclosure prevention, rental, and reverse mortgage counseling. We are a HUD approved national housing counseling agency. We work with mortgage servicer partners and Freddie Mac to help borrowers with defaulted mortgages from foreclosure.

If you are impacted financially by COVID-19 and are currently struggling, or will struggle, to make your mortgage payment here are some tips to help you navigate this trying time.

COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Tips

  1. Communication is key. There are options available, first and foremost contact your mortgage servicer (where you send your payments). They are tasked with managing your loan and in times of hardship, assisting you with options.

    Most mortgage servicers are currently offering borrowers a forbearance, which is a reduction in payment or temporary suspension of payment. It is important to note, this is a temporary solution. The length of a forbearance depends on the situation; they can last for 3 months to 6 months. They rarely go past 12 months, which would necessitate a permanent loss mitigation option.  
  2. Beware. There is a lot of information out there, make sure it is from a trusted source. Unfortunately in times such as these scammers run rampant. An excellent source of information is Freddie Mac’s “My Home” webpage, You do not have to have a Freddie Mac loan to access the site. They added a section specific to those impacted by COVID-19. Here you can find useful information for both homeowners and renters. 
  3. Ask for help. If you would like additional assistance or have questions, you can also contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  HUD-certified counselors are available (by phone) and can help you understand the various options and help you navigate the process with your mortgage servicer.
  4. Stay informed. Watching the news can be stressful, but it is important to stay informed with what is happening in your area. Many states, cities and counties have taken action to suspend foreclosures and evictions (temporarily). If you have a Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or FHA loan, all foreclosures and evictions are currently suspended until May 17, 2020. This date may be extended depending on the progression of the virus in our country.

People are financially stressed and scared. When we are counseling the client, we are very aware of their emotional state and if they are “housing insecure” due to a financial crisis — it is not ideal. Our counselors are trained to “see” the whole person and respond with empathy, to meet them where they are at, and to help them move forward.

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