Mortgage counseling is no defeat

House on mortgage

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced homeowner, you might be insulted if a lender (or anyone else, for that matter) suggests you seek counseling before securing your home loan.

Don't be.

With record foreclosure numbers demonstrating what happens when so many of us are home loan illiterate, and rules changing as a result of the real estate crisis, you might short-change yourself if you bow out of a class if it's offered to you.

Although a recent industry group study suggested more research is needed to determine whether counseling leads to a decrease in delinquencies and foreclosures, consumer advocates say prepurchase education has been positive.

Bernell Grier, the chief executive of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, said in a New York Times story that her agency had reviewed the records of about 250 families who had gone through counseling from 2005 to 2008.

"'We did not find anyone who lost their home due to being in a bad mortgage product," Grier said. "Those who did face problems did so because their income had decreased."

Attending any kind of seminar or course that will get you better acquainted with your responsibilities is a good thing. Seek out such classes by asking your lender or looking online for local resources.

An extra bonus is that many of the groups that sponsor these classes also offer certificates of course completions that lenders take under consideration. For those applying for FHA or USDA loans, those certificates can also help knock off some of the fees associated with securing a loan.

Be sure to ask your lender.

You can also review our 7 biggest mortgage mistakes to help avoid some common pitfalls.

Then search our extensive database for the best home loan rates where you live.

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