Overcoming housing obstacles
Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is a proud HUD-approved housing counseling agency, providing guidance on buying a home, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues for current Pierce County residents who either own a home or aspire to homeownership.
Our staff includes three housing counselors who, in addition to being HUD-certified, bring an abundance of experience to our clients. One team member has 20+ years’ experience as a closing specialist, another specializes in foreclosure prevention and a third holds additional certification by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). This well-rounded team offers counseling in a host of areas at no cost to current Pierce County residents. (See below.)
What to expect from housing counseling:
During your first meeting, we will discuss your current situation and objectives, and help to prepare a viable plan of action to close the gap.
- All counseling clients complete an intake form prior to service.
- Counselors meet with clients to complete a budget, review their credit report, discuss client’s objectives, and help create a plan of action.
- Counselors will check in once a month (minimum) for updates.
- Customer service surveys will be provided at the end of each in-person counseling session.
Types of counseling available:
Please note that services are open to current Pierce County residents only.
Pre-purchase counseling guides aspiring homeowners through the purchase of their first home. Counselors help families identify and overcome barriers to homeownership (i.e. creditworthiness, debt to income ratio, ability to save) and provide referrals to a variety of programs to assist or overcome housing challenges.
Homeowner readiness is assessed by:
- Completing a financial analysis of income and expenses
- Reviewing credit history
- Calculating debt to income ratios and housing affordability
- Determining eligibility and comparison analysis for down payment assistance programs and other loan products.
- Reviewing spending habits and bank statements to assess ability to save for down payment and to meet post-purchase, homeownership obligations
- Identifying demonstrated savings
A plan of action is developed outlining actions steps and strategies to overcome obstacles or barriers.
First-time homebuyer workshops are provided as a community service and as a supplement, but not a replacement, for one-on-one counseling. Classes are free of charge and open to the public. Participants receive workbooks at no charge and upon completion; a certificate from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission that meets industry standards for participation in a variety of affordable down payment assistance programs is issued.
The five-hour class covers the following:
- Advantages and disadvantages of homeownership
- Steps to homeownership, the purchase contract and the purchase process
- Loan pre-qualification, pre-approval and affordability
- How to track spending, budgeting and saving for a down payment
- How down payment and past credit affect loan choices
- Financing options
- Property and income taxes, homeowner’s insurance and risk management
- The loan closing process
- Planning for additional expenses, meeting financial obligations as a homeowner.
Our HUD-certified housing counselors will provide 1:1 coaching on the following:
- Different payment assistance programs for homeowners who’ve landed on hard times
- Creation of an emergency budget
- Help to facilitate options with loan servicers
- Lead client through the necessary forms and documentation required
- Work with client on creating an updated budget and plan of action moving forward once a workout plan has been approved by the loan servicer
Non-delinquent, post-purchase requests for counseling will be provided by any of our three HUD certified housing counselors. Homeowners will obtain information on property tax exemptions. Referral and resources to help with maintenance, weatherization, accessibility modification, budgeting, utility assistance will be given, as necessary.
Ready for next steps?
If you’re a current Pierce County resident and ready to begin your journey, please click here to complete our interest form. One of our counselors will contact you shortly.
You can also visit our Event Calendar to view upcoming workshops.
Materials to gather before your first session:
- Copy of last 2 years tax returns, including all schedules and W2s
- Copy of last 2 months pay stubs or benefits statements (i.e. Social Security, disability, unemployment, retirement, public assistance). Or, if self-employed, a copy of your current year-to-date profit and loss statement.
- Copy of last 2 months bank statements (all pages)
- Copy of your most recent utility bills (electric, water, sewer, garbage)
- Copy of your most current mortgage statement (if applicable)
- Copy of property tax statements and homeowner’s insurance (if applicable)
We look forward to partnering with you and your family on your housing goals.