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    Losing your home can be one of the most despairing situations a family goes through. It ranks up there with losing a loved one and divorce because it combines two things we find stressful: changing homes and financial difficulties. If you are at risk of losing your home it is important you act now. Texan residents can apply for free legal and financial help.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides up-to-date lists of approved agencies in Texas you can contact either for free for a nominal (i.e. very cheap) fee. Unfortunately, many of us delay asking for help till it is too late.

    Why call a counselor?

    Mortgages and foreclosure proceedings are not always easy to understand. They often require a good understanding of financial and legal matters most of us simply do not have. A qualified professional understands the financial and legal implications of mortgages and foreclosures and can provide you with practical help. For instance, a professional counselor can help you prepare a budget, explain what refinancing or mortgage modification options you have, and put you in touch with local housing programs and resources.

    And you can get all that for free. Call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit HUD’s current list of approved counseling agencies in Texas to find which one is closest to you.

    Why call a lawyer?

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    Foreclosure and bankruptcy law can be complicated and difficult to understand. Each state has its own laws and even counties can have varying rules on how foreclosures are carried out. It pays (especially if it’s free) to contact a lawyer who will be able to provide personalized help on your legal situation. Sometimes the best option for your particular financial situation might not be obvious. For instance in some cases foreclosure might be unavoidable and filing for bankruptcy could be your best option. You will have to decide under which chapter to file bankruptcy. A good bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with advice on the best way to do it and maybe even help you keep your home.

    The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development provides a list of Texan organizations and attorneys that offer free legal services to low income residents. Although you should hire a specialized bankruptcy lawyer if you think bankruptcy is an option for you, these organizations can provide help or put you in contact with a lawyer that can help. These organizations might charge a nominal fee but nothing compared to the hourly rates of a for-profit lawyer.

    Other options

    The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has programs for low to moderate income residents to help them improve, keep or buy a home. For more information on the housing programs available to you in Texas read this article.

    Asking for help and having someone dig into your private financial matters may be the last thing you want. However, if you are going through financial difficulties and you cannot afford your mortgage payments, you do need help. The good thing is that help is available and free, you just need to ask for it.

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