Feeling the mortgage pinch?

Steady interest rates may be helping those paying a mortgage but the increase in other household bills can make it difficult to balance your budget. If you’re having difficulty making repayments on your mortgage, then there is help available.

When struggling to keep up with household bills, mortgage repayments are usually the first to be paid. While this may keep a roof over your head, it’s the other debts, such as credit cards, which can become too much to manage. If you’re concerned about interest rates rising or regularly skip paying bills, then it’s time to have a mortgage health check.

Contacting your lender may seem daunting, but keep in mind that financial institutions have specialist teams to help those in financial difficulty. It is worth noting:

  • credit providers have a responsibility to consider and respond to a customer within 21 days
  • the more you can help your financial institution understand your problems, the more they can do to help
  • lenders are often able to reduce payments, extend the life of the loan to make payments more affordable or grant payment holidays
  • if lenders are unwilling to help you with a hardship application, they have to explain why. If you disagree, you can contact the relevant ombudsman.
  • be wary of refinancing offers as these often mean you are borrowing more and paying for the privilege. If your bank is unable to help you, then this may not be the best option.

If you’re uncomfortable contacting your lender, then you could first visit a financial counsellor who can help you put in place a plan of action. Independent financial  counsellors are available in most areas and their services are free of charge. To find a counsellor in your area, visit Financial Counselling Australia.