Does housing counseling work?

This is a question frequently asked by many who provide funding for housing counseling programs like ours.But the other day, I was confronted with a blog that asked this in the headline.

The blog was from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) about an ongoing HUD study of homebuyer education and counseling.Because the study will not be concluded until 2018, HUD is issuing progress reports to demonstrate the study is on track, as well as offer insights into the current state of housing counseling and education.  The preliminary observation from JCHS: it works. 

We know that homeownership counseling works!   

HOME, Inc. provides homeownership readiness assessments to help people determine if they are ready to buy.  It is just as important to us that people like those quoted in the article decide to wait to buy a home.   More than 85% of the clients that we see are not ready to make that step, but they want to know how to get there.  

Our readiness assessment is often an eye-opening experience.  While our clients understand they may not be ready to buy a house right now, they often don’t fully understand what it does take.  When our clients participate in an assessment, they become aware of the role their credit scores plays in not only getting a mortgage but other issues such a loan rates, rental screenings and many consumer transactions.  Clients also receive counseling on budgeting, debt management, cleaning up their credit report, and special homebuyer programs.  As we take them through the assessmentprocess, we are preparing to send them out with a concrete plan on how to prepare for homeownership. 

It will be interesting to see what other insights the HUD study produces, but for now, it is good to know we are on the right track.

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