Choosing a mortgage that is right for a particular borrower's needs isn't a simple task. With many different types of mortgage products on the market, borrowers need to be armed with as much information as possible in order to make the right decision.
To that end, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has launched a tool to help consumers locate housing counselors within or near their local neighborhoods.
In addition, the CFPB is reminding lenders that they must provide mortgage applicants with a list of counseling organizations each time an applicant is approved for a loan.
‘Consumers need and deserve the best guidance when making the decision to purchase a home,’ Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, says in a statement. ‘Buying a home may easily be the largest investment a consumer makes, and we want to make it easier for them to find a housing counselor that is a good fit for them.’
By contacting a housing counselor, a borrower can gain access to important advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures and credit issues. Very often this advice is offered at little or no cost.
The CFPB's new Web-based tool sports a mapping function that helps consumers locate the counseling firms that are closest. In addition, it provides contact information for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselors.
The tool also details the specific services offered by each housing counselor – including rental housing counseling, pre-purchase counseling or default resolution counseling – as well as the languages supported by each counselor.
The CFPB's 2013 final rule on the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act implemented a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that lenders provide consumers with a list of homeownership counseling organizations. Consumers should receive the list shortly after they apply for a mortgage so they know where to get help when deciding what loan is best for them.
To access the new tool, click here.