Catching up on repayments - Mortgage stress
There may be several ways to save money and catch up on your mortgage payments.
Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to refinance, negotiate with the lender to sell, or apply for a hardship variation.
If you have unemployment, accident or sickness insurance (check your superannuation policy) you may be able to claim on that insurance. Check your policy to see if your current circumstances are covered.
Be realistic about your financial position. A financial counsellor may be able to help you work out your best option.
There is no point selling your possessions, accessing your superannuation or refinancing if you will need to sell your home anyway.
I’ve missed a repayment – what should I do?
- Keep paying as much as you can afford.
- Contact your lender to change the terms of your loan.
Pay as much as you can of your mortgage repayment on a regular basis. This is better than paying irregular lump sums.
With regular repayments, the lender can see how much you can afford and that you will keep to a regular payment amount. For example, if your repayment is $1,000 a fortnight and you can only afford $700, then keep paying $700 every fortnight. Then pay more when you can.
Contact your lender to negotiate a repayment amount you can afford, by applying for a hardship variation. You have rights under credit law when you are in financial hardship to try to negotiate a change in repayments.
A financial counsellor may be able to help work out what you can realistically afford to repay and help you apply for a hardship variation.
Beware of the dangers of exploitative lenders
If you are considering refinancing your home loan, be careful to avoid high cost lenders who might take advantage of your situation.
Things to look out for and avoid include:
- The loan is described as a business/investment loan, and you are required to sign a declaration to state that the credit law does not apply.
- The mortgage broker charges a large fee.
- The loan is for a short term.
- The loan is interest only for a term, but you cannot afford to repay principle and interest repayments once the interest only period ends.
- The interest rate is quoted 'per month' instead of 'per annum', or is otherwise very high.
- You do not have to make repayments for a set period, or for the period of the whole loan, but the whole loan amount is payable within a short time (less than 5 years).
- The repayments on the new loan will be higher than the repayments you are currently required to pay.