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Avoiding Repossession - An Overview

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most unpleasant consequences of failing to pay your mortgage is "repossession" of your property. This is a problem that is affecting an increasing number of homeowners throughout the country.

The first notification will be from the lender warning of the consequences should you not keep up your payments on the mortgage. If your mortgage payments are not being kept up to date then the lender may decide to approach the courts to apply for a repossession order.

The threat of repossession is something that a growing number of individuals are facing today. This can be put down to a number of factors that will on the most part, include borrowers who overstretch themselves financially and subsequently struggle to meet their monthly secured commitments.

Runaway property prices have too played a part as this has made homes in many areas unaffordable for first-time buyers. Many stretch their finances to get a first foot on the ladder. Some will see this as an essential means for home ownership.

Debt campaigners have highlighted in recent months that a growing number of borrowers were unable to meet their mortgage repayments, with many of them first-time buyers who only recently climbed onto the property ladder.

The Citizens Advice Bureau said that nearly a million people had missed one or more mortgage repayment in the past year. Over two million said they were concerned that their finances may not stretch to cover their monthly debts.

Missing payments on the mortgage or secured loan is a serious issue which could lead to arrears and possibly repossession if matters are not dealt with.
The repossession process will start by the lender applying to the courts for a repossession order. It is unlikely that the courts will grant this on the first hearing. They will probably grant a suspended repossession order.

This suspended repossession order means that that the individual involved must abide by the courts ruling. This will include having an agreed a payment in place with the lender to reduce the arrears balance over a period of time.

If these payments are not being met, the lender can apply for the repossession court order. In this case the courts are more likely to take the side of the lender & grant the repossession court order.

If the repossession order is granted, the lender will attempt to sell your property quickly to recover their money. They typically use auctions and estate agents to sell your property, often discounted to attract quick buyers. When the property is sold, the lender's account is cleared first.

Any surplus will be repaid to the homeowner. However, if there is any shortfall, the lender will attempt to recover it from the individual involved for a period of up to 12 years!

The important points to remember is that without taking action, these problems do not just go away. At the earliest possible stage the lender must be informed of any financial issues that may affect the monthly payments of the mortgage. Do not ignore letters, especially court papers and court hearings.

If this does happen to you, then you must contact the lender immediately and explain your situation to them. It may be possible that you able to come to an arrangement to ease the situation.

If you are having serious problems then another option to consider is remortgaging. If you have enough equity in your property then you might be able to switch lenders and start afresh.

So whatever stage of the repossession process you are, you do have options that you can explore. Just make sure you act quickly and keep your lender informed.
About the Author
James Copper is a part-time finance writer and works as a house repossession expert giving people repossession help.
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