You may find yourself at some point getting behind on your bills and looking for relief. One route people have taken in the past is to use a consumer credit counseling company.
Many states now require people to attend consumer credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy. This means that many lenders will view a consumer credit counseling account the same as they would a bankruptcy.
If you are already in credit counseling you may still be able to purchase a home, however the lender will typically require that you have been making you payments for at least 6 months, and that all of your payments have been made on time.
Some lenders will require that you discontinue and close out your account with a credit counseling company, also known as a debt consolidation or debt relief company, in order to obtain a mortgage loan with them. Credit counseling is viewed as almost as the equivalent of bankruptcy by many lenders and just like most lenders will require bankruptcies to be discharged before providing borrowers with a mortgage loan, lenders will usually require the same for clients in credit counseling services.
Some lenders, however, ignore consumer credit counseling designations on the borrower's credit report. The loan is underwritten like normal. Some will require the borrower to get out of the CCC agreement before doing a loan. It depends on the lender's own guidelines.
While there are some legitimate credit counseling companies it remains an industry that is loosely regulated. Most advertise as non-profits but the people that run them make large amounts of money. As a smart consumer you should be sure to do research and due dilligence before entering into a contract with a consumer credit counseling organization.
It is a paradox that consumer credit counseling can help you develop good credit habits at the expense of your current credit score. Often, these good credit habits can be developed without trashing your credit profile. You should explore all opportunities prior to enrolling in CCC and sacrifice your credit scores only if there are no other reasonable alternatives.