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CCOA observes National Homeowner Month

By: 13 June 2013 One Comment

ccoaJune is National Homeownership Month, and Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) is using this month to call attention to the opportunities consumers have to achieve sustainable homeownership through access to professional housing counseling and homebuyer education.

CCOA is a non-profit organization and HUD-approved housing counseling agency that offers services to help people get into, and stay in, affordable housing, a news release states. Although the national housing trend is improving, there are still many homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments. CCOA’s free foreclosure prevention counseling sessions help homeowners assess their options and assist them in pursuing the best course of action. These services serve a critical need because:

* Knowledgeable counselors can help you determine what workout options are available to you

* Counselors can also explain the mortgage servicer’s documentation requirements and timelines for workout applications

* There is no cost to the homeowner, as this service is paid for by different grants

* The federal Making Home Affordable (“MHA”) workout options have been extended until the end of 2015

CCOA also offers a homebuyer education class every month. An attendance certificate can allow eligible first-time homebuyers to qualify for Arkansas Development Finance Authority down payment assistance of up to $10,000. Prospective homebuyers can learn vital lessons on:

* The big picture of the overall home buying process

* The key decisions they have to make, and how to be prepared to face them

* What the roles are of the professionals working with them (mortgage lender, real estate agent), and what can be expected of them

* Some of the different loan products that are available and their advantages and disadvantages.

CCOA is committed to helping community members make good housing decisions that serve them well now, and in the future. It’s not just important to get people into homes, but to keep them there as well.

Over the last several years, CCOA has provided effective foreclosure prevention counseling to thousands of struggling homeowners. Recent studies have demonstrated that struggling homeowners who receive housing counseling are 67 percent more likely to remain current on their mortgage after receiving a loan modification than are non-counseled borrowers. These studies demonstrate the important role that CCOA can play in assisting homeowners who are delinquent or in foreclosure.

As the economy recovers and the housing market continues to improve, housing counseling can help first-time homebuyers understand the home buying process by enabling many homeowners to better manage the responsibilities of homeownership and avoid falling into default. Several studies released over the past year have shown that first-time homebuyers who receive pre-purchase housing counseling are 29 percent less likely to become seriously delinquent on their mortgage.

Sarah Gerecke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling, recognizes the importance of housing counseling: “For those of us involved in HUD housing counseling programs, every month is Homeownership Month, as our focus on helping homeowners understand all of their housing options continues year-round,” she said. “Working with partners on the ground, we can shape a housing market that is stronger and safer than before. In doing so, we continue to restore the dream of homeownership, creating a stronger middle-class and a stronger America.”

“Whether you are considering homeownership for the first time or are a homeowner who wants to maintain or improve your financial footing, CCOA can help free of charge,” said CCOA’s Executive Director, Mike Robards.

For a free home buying or mortgage delinquency counseling session, or to register to attend the free home buying class, consumers can contact CCOA at (800) 889-4916 or go online to www.CCOAcares.com. CCOA’s Debt Management Program can lower interest rates and lower monthly payments to help debtors become debt free.

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Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) is an Arkansas-based, non-profit organization and United Way agency that is supported by grants to provide free financial seminars, free and confidential counseling on budgeting, credit, home buying and mortgage delinquencies and a debt management program. Founded in 1995, CCOA’s free counseling is available in-person, by phone and online. CCOA helps over 20,000 people every year with free financial counseling and education. For free and confidential advice, consumers can call (800) 889-4916 or visit www.CCOAcares.com.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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