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How Do I Become a Housing Counselor?

By K. Kinsella
Updated May 17, 2024
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A housing counselor provides financial advice to homeowners who are faced with foreclosure, and provides prospective buyers with information about the home purchasing process. Someone wishing to become a housing counselor may need prior experience in the lending or real estate field while many employers require people working in these roles to have completed undergraduate college degree programs. Additionally, many counselors are employed by municipal governments; applicants for these jobs may have to meet certain residency requirements.

Many homeowners find themselves unable to manage their debt due to an imbalance between their income level and their debt obligations.Counselors review financial information including pay slips, bank statements, and help distressed borrowers create a budget that enables them to cover their mortgage payments by reducing other discretionary expenses. Lenders use a similar process when underwriting mortgages which means that many employers prefer to hire people who have several years of experience as loan originators. Additionally, those who are familiar with loan products are better able to explain these products to clients and these professionals may even be able to make recommendations about alternative refinancing options.

Aside from lenders, some employers like to fill these roles with real estate agents since these professionals are aware of local laws pertaining to homeowners rights and foreclosure. As with lenders, real estate agents in many areas have to pass a licensing examination which means that someone wishing to become a housing counselor may benefit from going through this process. Some agencies require individuals to have spent a certain number of years working in this field while others employ people who have a broad knowledge of real estate.

Rather than hiring real estate professionals, some employers prefer to hire college graduates. Someone wishing to become a housing counselor may need to complete a bachelor’s degree program in finance, mathematics, economics or a related topic. In some regions, regulatory agencies organize training sessions for counselors to learn about debt collection practices, legal alternatives to foreclosure and different types of financing options. Someone wishing to become a housing counselor may have to attend one of these sessions and pass a licensing examination before being able to seek employment in this field.

In addition to professional and academic credentials, someone wishing to become a housing counselor must possess certain character attributes. These individuals must have good interpersonal skills since people in these roles deal with larger numbers of clients on a daily basis. Additionally, counselors must have good organizational skills and current knowledge of real estate as well as lending laws and practices.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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