There are few things in life that are more stressful and fearful than the thought of having our home repossessed and losing everything we own. Yet many homeowners are being faced with this very daunting and devastating possibility. When homeowners are threatened with losing their home because they can no longer make the bond payment each month, it’s frightening and extremely depressing.
You start getting threatening letters in the mail and it seems like your phone just won’t stop ringing from the constant debt collectors. Your first instinct is to take the phone off the hook, don’t read the mail and lie down and cry. It’s doing these things that cause many homeowners to actually lose their home when there may have been solutions to their problem.
The rate of home repossessions in South Africa has been very high in recent years and many homeowners may have been able to prevent losing their home if they would have been prepared and not chosen to ignore the problem. The unfortunate thing is that many people are not aware that there are other alternatives to allow you to stop repossession. There is help available out there. All you have to do is reach out for it. If more homeowners in South Africa were aware of some of the possible solutions, the rate of home repossessions would drop drastically.
Many of the solutions mentioned you may have already been aware of but they are extremely important. Talking to your bank is probably the most important step you can take to prevent repossession. If you contact them as soon as you realize you are not going to be able to make your payments, they will be much more willing to help you work out a solution to help you both. Because repossessing a home is so costly to the bank, they do not want to repossess it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
There are several options the bank may offer you to help you lighten your financial load and keep your home. Many banks will offer you a “holiday” or “grace” period where you won’t have to make your bond payments. This period may be from 3 to 6 months and will give you enough time to get your finances in order, pay off other debts, and find employment or whatever needs to be done to help your financial situation.
Extending the term of your bond may also be a great help. Most South African bond agreements are for 20 years. By extending your term to 30 years, you may be paying more interest but you’ll be paying a lower monthly bond payment. You can always revert back to the 20-year term when your finances are better.
Banks may even be willing to reduce the balance on your bond. While this may be the option the bank likes the least, they may still consider it because they’re still getting money, even if it’s not as much as they would like. They still consider it a better option than having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of a home repossession.
If all else fails and you can’t work something out with your bank, don’t waste any time contacting a repossession expert. They’ll not only give you good advice buy may also buy your home from the bank with cash so it is not repossessed, a process that will destroy your credit history for years to come.
Dale Purdon, director and founder of IMAGINE Properties, Easy Home Sales any many more. Prior to setting up IMAGINE, Dale set out to build his own property portfolio in South Africa where he focused on acquiring high yielding rental properties in the lower end market and gained extensive experience in stock-sourcing as well as portfolio management.