Housing help shouldn't cost a boatload

Get homeownership, foreclosure counseling from HUD-certified agencies

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.