Study: Counseling can help those with mortgage issues in Illinois

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sought to explore what, if any, benefits counseling has for people who are struggling to pay their mortgages in Illinois and across the country. In 2012, researchers followed 824 people who were in that position and sought professional guidance. They also followed up with some participants 18 months afterward.

The study led to a number of key findings regarding foreclosure prevention, such as the following: 

  • Of the group of people who sought help from a counselor, 56 percent were able to satisfy loan requirements.
  • Of that same group, 69 percent found a solution for their mortgage situation.
  • Roughly 70 percent of people who used counseling before they became delinquent on payments were, 18 months later, living in their homes and current on payments.

That last point is especially important because by contrast, only 30 percent of people who waited until they were six months or more behind had the same results. The study illustrates the importance of taking immediate action when the threat of foreclosure first arises.

In addition to counseling, there are several other options for people trying to make mortgage payments. As the Federal Trade Commission suggests, contacting the lender to try to negotiate a plan could be beneficial. Someone may be able to secure an extension on when the funds are due or change the interest rate. The FTC also states that a reinstatement, forbearance or other program may be suitable, depending on the homeowner’s situation.

Whatever the situation may be, it is important for people who are experiencing financial struggles to consult with a professional before matters become serious.

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