For both first-time homebuyers and consumers who are anxiously eyeing the specter of foreclosure, housing can be a bewildering maze of regulations, jargon and paperwork. Yet there's help out there for cutting through those thickets, and not only is it often free, it comes with no hidden agenda. Consumers in both situations might find a neutral, knowledgeable resource through the hundreds of counseling agencies that have been certified through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Run by not-for-profit community groups, HUD-certified housing counseling agencies typically offer pre-purchase and mortgage counseling for first-time homebuyers, foreclosure prevention counseling and other related services, according to Lynette Briggs, a counselor for the DuPage Homeo...
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