Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Financial Education and Counseling Services (FEC) 6: Housing Counseling and Education Services

The organization provides housing counseling and education services to inform and prepare the client for achieving and maintaining homeownership.
NA The organization does not provide any housing counseling and education services.

NA The organization provides financial education and counseling services and wishes to exclude review of their HUD approved housing counseling agency.
2020 Edition




Clients who receive Financial Education and Counseling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
Note: Organizations seeking accreditation as a Housing Counseling and Education program must complete this section in addition to all other applicable standards in this section.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Housing counseling procedures
  • Table of contents of educational program curricula
  • Sample housing education materials provided to clients
  • Educational program curricula
  • Information about individual and group counseling and education programs including program dates, subjects, number of participants, and participant evaluations
  • HUD certificate, as applicable


  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files

FEC 6.01

The organization provides clients with pre-purchase homebuying counseling and education that includes:
  1. developing a budget that identifies projected costs of homeownership to help assess readiness to purchase a home;
  2. the benefits and responsibilities of owning a home;
  3. an overview of the homebuying and mortgage loan process;
  4. how to calculate the affordability of owning a home, including the impact of debt; and
  5. the importance of setting financial goals and maintaining good credit.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counseling and education.
Examples: Regarding element (d), counselors can help clients understand the impact of debt on mortgage affordability, including, for example credit card, personal, consumer, and student loan debt.

FEC 6.02

Clients receive counseling and education regarding home financing that address:
  1. appropriate types and sources of mortgage loans;
  2. understanding how lenders evaluate credit and determine mortgage readiness;
  3. how to avoid predatory loans;
  4. resources available to assist with home purchases;
  5. what to do if the loan is denied; and
  6. loan closing costs and procedures.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counseling and education.
Examples: The organization can review the client’s credit report, when available, to provide a greater understanding of how lenders evaluate credit and determine mortgage readiness.

FEC 6.03

Education and counseling prepare clients to shop for and select a home by providing information about:
  1. the professionals involved in the real estate and homebuying process;
  2. making an offer;
  3. having a purchase contract;
  4. home inspections; and
  5. escrow funds.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counseling and education.

FEC 6.04

Housing education and counseling address home maintenance and financial management topics including:
  1. homeowner rights and responsibilities;
  2. organizations that provide resources to assist with financial issues;
  3. costs associated with utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance;
  4. energy efficiency;
  5. community involvement;
  6. refinancing, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, and home improvement loans; and
  7. calculating home equity.
NA The organization does not provide home maintenance counseling and education.

FEC 6.05

Clients receive information to prevent or resolve mortgage delinquency that addresses, as applicable:
  1. identification of the status of the client’s mortgage;
  2. a budget that includes a review of income, living expenses, and other debts;
  3. the repercussions of a defaulted mortgage and foreclosure;
  4. the client’s options to resolve the mortgage crisis; and
  5. services available that can provide assistance and relief for the client’s current crisis.
NA The organization does not provide mortgage delinquency counseling and education.

FEC 6.06

The organization provides information regarding rental options, including:
  1. HUD rental, rent subsidy programs, and other federal, state, and/or local assistance;
  2. fair housing;
  3. landlord tenant laws;
  4. lease terms;
  5. rent delinquency; and
  6. housing search resources.
NA The organization does not provide rental counseling and education.

FEC 6.07

Clients receive counseling and education regarding reverse equity mortgages that includes:
  1. the benefits and disadvantages of a reverse equity mortgage;
  2. client eligibility;
  3. payment options;
  4. the fees and associated costs of the reverse equity mortgage product;
  5. time sensitivity issues related to the mortgage; and
  6. indicators for foreclosure, such as death, sale of the property, or insurance or tax delinquency.
NA The organization does not provide reverse equity mortgage counseling.

FEC 6.08

Organizations assist homeless individuals, as needed, and provide information and services, either directly or through referral, regarding transitional housing, emergency shelters, and other emergency services.