Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mortgage arrears: how could debt management help?

At a time like now, more and more people will be experiencing difficulties when trying to keep on top of their bills/financial commitments.

Some people may find that they can't afford their mortgage payments for a number of reasons, and they have ended up in arrears. For example:

  • Their income has dropped.
  • The cost of living has risen too much.
  • The payments they are making to their unsecured / non-priority debts are taking up too much of their monthly income.

Debt management and non-priority debts

The way a professional debt management plan works is simple: the individual asks a debt management professional to talk to their unsecured lenders on their behalf, asking them to agree to reduced monthly payments, and also asking them to lower/freeze interest and/or waive charges where possible.

Lenders understand that anyone's circumstances can change, and individuals may no longer be able to repay their debt as they had agreed - in this case, they may accept the new changes.

However, it can, in some cases, be difficult getting mortgage providers (and other secured creditors) to agree to accept lower payments.

Debt management and priority debts

There are two possible ways debt management could help an individual afford their mortgage payments:

  • Debt management can 'free up' the money someone needs for their priority debts (such as mortgage payments). Non-priority lenders understand that the individual needs somewhere to live and money to live on, and if a person can't afford the full amount laid down in their repayment agreements, then their non-priority lenders may well accept a pro rata payment - a portion of the individual's disposable income (total income minus essential expenditure, such as secured debt repayments), based on how much they owe that particular lender.
  • The debt management company may be able to contact the individual's mortgage provider and arrange an affordable way of paying off the arrears.

If you're wondering whether debt management could help you, you should contact a professional debt adviser.

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