Mortgagee sales are on the increase as a result of the recession and the property market downturn. If you are struggling with your mortgage payments how can you avoid having to sell your house? Here are a few tips that could help.
One of the first things you should do is talk to your lending institution or a mortgage broker. Your lender should be willing to work with you to find solutions to your repayment problems so as to avoid a mortgagee sale.
Most lenders offer repayment holidays of up to 90 days, which may be enough to let you build up your reserves or pay off other short term debt so as to reduce your weekly outgoings. Another option may be to convert your mortgage to an ‘interest only’ mortgage. This will have the effect of reducing the amount of your repayments because you are not paying back principal. Yet another option is to extend the term of your mortgage, say from 20 years to 25 years, which will also have the effect of lowering your repayments. All of these options should be seen as short term solutions because ideally you should pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible.
A mortgage broker may be able to help you shop around for a mortgage at a lower rate of interest, however bear in mind that depending on your circumstances, there may be penalties involved in repaying your existing lender, so get this information from your lender first.
Selling your house because you can’t keep up the mortgage payments should be a last resort. Real estate agent fees, legal fees and removal costs will eat into your deposit, and there is always the uncertainty of whether property prices will move ahead by the time you can afford to buy again.
Liz Koh is a financial adviser. Her disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. Author of Your Money Personality; Unlock the Secret to a Rich and Happy Life, Awa Press, March, 2008. For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.comno