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The Department of Housing and Urban Development ( sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country to provide free or low cost advice on anything that concerns housing. The housing counselors provide the following


1. Pre-purchase Counseling - Prospective homebuyers should schedule a free Pre-Purchase counseling session or Homeownership Seminar if they are interested in buying a home and would like to find out their potential price range, as well as what assistance programs may be available to help make their home purchase more affordable. A counselor will review the homebuyer’s credit and savings situations and discuss home buying options. Please make sure to bring all required documents to your appointment.

2. Foreclosure Service - Specify that you need advice on foreclosure if you are facing foreclosure.Foreclosure prevention counseling and homeless counseling services are available free of charge through HUD's Housing Counseling Program. Housing Counseling agencies participating in HUD's Housing Counseling Program should not charge consumers for these specific housing counseling services. Counseling recipients should not pay for these services.

However, housing counseling agencies are permitted to charge reasonable and customary fees for other forms of housing counseling and education services, including pre-purchase, reverse mortgage, rental, and non-delinquency post-purchase counseling services.

3. Fair Housing - Renters, homebuyers or homeowners should schedule a free appointment to discuss fair housing issues with housing counselor if they would like to talk to a counselor about general fair housing matters orfeel they have been the victim of housing discrimination.

4. Budget & Credit - Clients should schedule a budget and credit counseling session if they need help clearing up credit issues, developing a savings plan, budgeting and/or addressing any other financial concerns. Make sure to bring all required documents to your appointment.

The other services by housing counselors are:comprehensive housing counseling, training, advocacy, technical assistance, housing opportunities for low and moderate-income homebuyers/ homeowners/ and tenants; tenancy counseling, and emergency rental assistance.

The counseling agencies must inform the clients in advance of their service fees. These fees must be commensurate with the level of services provided. If the client demonstrates that they cannot afford the fees, the counseling agency must provide free counseling.

You should contact your local HUD office if you encounter housing counseling agencies that you believe are not complying with the above requirements.Search online for a housing counseling agency near you.