Making the Mortgage Process Easier…..

The new mortgage disclosure rule will go into effect on October 3rd. This rule is part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative that will help consumers with the often stressful task of searching for the right mortgage loan. As part of the housing counseling community, you play an important role in helping consumers throughout the home buying process.

Click here to download a toolkit for resources you can use with your clients and suggested social messaging.

The Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule makes it easier to understand these disclosures by:

  • Streamlining four disclosure forms into two – the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure
  • Standardizing the information to obtain Loan Estimates
  • Giving potential borrowers time to review and understand their mortgage terms before signing on the dotted line

Make sure to take the time to review the site and share these resources.

Underwater Atlanta March 17 at the Carter Center

In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, metro Atlanta leads the country with 35% of homeowners underwater on their mortgage loans (Haas Institute, 2014).  Housing recovery in the region has been wildly uneven.  The slow rising tide of home prices in affluent neighborhoods has bypassed large portions of metro Atlanta, particularly communities south of I-20 and along portions of the I-85 corridor.

Of the top 10 hardest-hit zip codes in the country for negative equity, nine are located in metro Atlanta. The hardest hit zip code in the country is in Clayton County where  a staggering 76% of homeowners are underwater.  In this Clayton community, 89% of homeowners are African American. The impact of negative equity is even more significant given the fact that home equity accounts for 92% of personal net worth for the typical African-American household.

SAVE THE DATE: On March 17, Piece by Piece will convene its 150+ partner organizations and more to discuss strategies for addressing the negative equity issue. Make plans to join us for a half-day discussion at The Carter Center. MORE | REGISTER

Haas Institute’s “Underwater America”

Full Report | Atlanta Overview | Georgia Overview

BestBank Helps Consumers Build Credit While Saving Money…

BestBank offers a unique program to help consumers build credit while saving money. See details from BestBank on their Credit Builder Loan program.

See details below on the Credit Builder Loan program.  Great opportunity for your clients!

What is it?

Credit Builder is a personal loan secured by a certificate of deposit (CD). This positions you to help your credit history by proving that you can reliably pay back a loan on time. Plus, all principal paid, you get to keep as savings.

No money down and no fees.

The best part of Credit Builder is how easy it is to get started. There’s no down payment or fees. You simply make your monthly loan payments on time, and we take care of the rest.

How to get started.

Visit your local branch and talk to a banker!


Homebuyer Assistance Programs Well Funded in Georgia….

Georgia is rated among the states with the greatest number of down payment programs, according to new research released from Down Payment Resource.  The states with the greatest number of down payment programs are California, Florida, Texas, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois and Colorado.

Great news for your homeownership counseling clients!

See the full data from Down Payment Resource along with a state-by-state index of programs.

Resources for Counselors from the NeighborWorks Store…

The New NeighborWorks Store: NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC) is a leading resource on pre-purchase and post-purchase homeowner education. Prospective homeowners learn the entire home-buying process, from managing money and understanding credit to securing a mortgage loan and shopping for a home in Realizing the American Dream. The manual’s teaching companion, realizing the American Dream Trainer’s Manual, provides instructors with teaching tools, activities, worksheets and visual aids. Are you counseling homeowners? Keeping the American Dream will give them the skills they need to remain secure in their new home purchase. To learn more about these publications or make a purchase, visit

Housing Counselor Training Opportunities in 2015

Atlanta Legal Aid has announced a series of trainings and roundtable events for housing counselors in 2015.  The first training is scheduled for January 14, 2015.  This first training for housing counselors will be on FHA issues, including an in-depth training on the FHA Loss Mitigation Waterfall Eligibility Calculator, an excel spreadsheet designed by Atlanta Legal Aid staff.  This will be a joint training with HUD and will take place at the HUD Atlanta regional office.   Please save the date!

Is One-on-One Counseling More Effective Than Classroom Instruction?

From the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations:

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve released a study recently that compares the relative impact of one-on-one housing counseling to classroom based counseling. In short, one-on-one counseling was found to have noticeably more positive impact. The study is notable because they were able to perform it using random assignment and control groups. Randomized control trials are considered the gold standard in assessing impact. They are commonplace in medicine, though often impractical in the social sciences. A link to the summary