Seek only HUD-approved agencies. HUD makes it easy:

  • Call HUD’s foreclosure counseling hotline at 800-569-4287.
  • Call HUD’s foreclosure prevention hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673).

HUD-approved agencies are all nonprofit, community-based organizations that have administered a housing counseling program for at least a year.

HUD-approved agencies also are required to:

  • Employ counselors who are knowledgeable about federal housing programs.
  • Have a staff of counselors of which at least half must have two or more years of counseling experience. At least half must also have received housing counseling training in the past two years.
  • Provide you with certain documents, such as a privacy agreement explaining how your personal information will be handled.

In addition, at the agency you work with, see if you can find a foreclosure counselor who has certification through the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC), which has a Foreclosure Intervention and Default Certification Program. Certified counselors must follow NeighborWorks counseling standards and code of ethics and conduct. They also are required to:

  • Have at least one year of experience in foreclosure counseling
  • Attend three foreclosure prevention courses.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has seen the sad effects of foreclosure on friends and neighbors. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.