Home Owners: Avoid Mortgage Problems by Getting Help Early

When a home owner has trouble finding the money for a mortgage payment, the worst thing to do is to ignore the problem.

A variety of counseling options are available to home owners, free of charge, including the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline, 888-995-HOPE (4673). Any home owner in America who is having trouble paying their mortgage can call the hotline to get budgeting help, a written financial plan or assistance contacting their lender.

The Homeowner's HOPE Hotline is provided by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit dedicated to preserving homeownership and preventing foreclosure. HPF’s efforts have the support of major mortgage lending and servicing organizations.

The toll-free number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week by counselors approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Counseling resources also are available through HPF's website, www.995hope.org.

Home owners who call the hotline as soon as they realize they are having problems paying their mortgage increase the likelihood that they will be able to effectively manage mortgage payments and stay in their homes. HPF can offer a greater selection of options to address home owners’ individual financial situations the earlier they call.

Some home owners may prefer more personal, face-to-face counseling or need local resources. They can call 888-995-HOPE for a referral to their local NeighborWorks office or other counseling organization. NeighborWorks America is an organization that creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership.

HUD and the Department of Justice also maintain searchable lists of approved free or low-cost credit-counseling agencies on their websites.

Homeownership brings many benefits to American families, but it also is a big responsibility. Smart planning and reaching out to the many available resources for help at the first sign of trouble will help you stay in the home you worked so hard to get.