Does housing counseling really work?

The housing market has changed drastically over the last few years. There is no stone that has been left unturned. Rules changes have gone in affect for mortgages, credit, appraisals, and even how a property is repaired. One of the biggest changes I have seen is the implementation of counseling services. Counseling for credit repair or first time homeowners has become much more mainstream than in the past. There is also counseling for families that can’t pay their mortgage. Today I pose this question. Is all this counseling really helping people? Do families actually end up better off by going to some form of counseling compared to a family that doesn’t get counseling?

I have been to several of these counseling programs and I have thought about becoming a counselor for different parts of the home buying process. In my opinion most families that receive counseling do end up making better decisions than those that ignore counseling efforts. The goal of counseling is not to tell you what to do. Counseling doesn’t usually fix your problem. But counseling does give you clear cut options on what will most likely help you solve your problem. People who have credit issues or are having mortgage problems often don’t know what to do next and they feel that their situation is very unique. So it’s good to get a licensed professionals opinion on what to do. I am a big advocate for unbiased counseling. Unbiased counseling is when the counselor does not financially gain directly from your situation. For example if you owe $2 to a bank and you go ask a bankruptcy attorney, unless they have very strong integrity they will tell you that you should file bankruptcy even if it may not be the best option for you. You always want to get help from someone who will not profit from either decision that you make.

After all, in all honesty your situation is unique and only you can see the whole picture of where you are and where you actually want to go. So if someone offers you free counseling, look at the angle that the counselor is coming from and if they seem unbiased then listen to their advice intently. If you are unsure if they will profit from your decision process then ask them directly, “Are you going to profit from me in any way on this decision?” It’s an honest question and it deserves an honest answer. Consider counseling to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. We all need help at some point in our lives.

Until next week…

Arthur V. Veal IV is the owner of We Buy Houses Home Services, a real estate investment company. We specialize in buying houses on terms. Find out more about our programs by visiting our site at

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