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If you are a victim of negative equity, you need help.

Not just advice, but proper hands-on help. That means the active, participatory intervention of experts who take the lead and lighten the load on your neck and shoulders by making YOUR problem THEIRS and then delivering a positive outcome on YOUR behalf. There is little point in you wasting time worrying about things you cannot change. Right now you may be deeply entrapped in negative equity and unable to move because of that fact. Understandably you are hugely stressed and wondering what fate may await you. It’s guesswork, of course. You really don’t know where you stand legally so you have no idea of what to expect.

But what you DO know is that your home is worth a lot less than when you bought it, which means that if you were to sell now the price fetched would be well short of the amount required to clear the outstanding balance on the mortgage you borrowed in order to buy it. You can spend hours, days, weeks, months worrying about this. But to what end?

The very fact that you are reading this article suggests you could be in the midst of just such a crisis right now.

You know exactly how this feels, don’t you? It’s a situation in which your heart sinks each time you see the postman or woman approach your door. It’s the same when an unknown number comes up on your phone. In other words, it’s a case of non-stop worry leading to the sort of anxiety that slowly erodes your confidence, eats away your self-respect and finally wears you down to the point where you no longer trust your own judgement on anything or believe in your ability to solve this huge problem. As you now see it, you’re a loser.

It probably doesn’t help to know that you aren’t alone. If you are in negative equity, you are one of 63,000 such householders here in Northern Ireland. That’s a whopping 41% of home-owners. So here is some very welcome good news – in the eyes of Negative Equity Northern Ireland, you are not a loser. Instead you’re an unfortunate victim of circumstances you did not create. That isn’t someone who deserves to be written off.

But rather than struggling on your own with a problem you almost certainly cannot solve, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to seek the help of results-proven experts who pride themselves on their ability to find solutions for people who are deeply ensnared in debt, hugely stressed as a result and now wondering what they can do?

Because they are experts, Negative Equity Northern Ireland know a lot of things you don’t. They are highly skilled, time-served professionals who, as well as being very well educated in these matters, have years of experience in the fields of house prices, the wide range of mortgages available, interest rates and everything else that goes with home ownership. That is the level of know-how required in your situation because this is complex – way too complex – territory for anyone who doesn’t know exactly what they are doing.

So, question: realistically, how much do YOU feel YOU know about these things? If you have answered honestly, the chances are you will have said, “Not a lot.” That’s a good answer, because it is the truth. And since it is the truth it may just be the first vital step on the way out of the negative equity maze in which you find yourself. So here’s another question: why continue to wrestle with matters of finance you do not fully understand and issues of law of which you may be totally unaware, particularly when the lenders and creditors against whom you are hoping to square up are big-money organisations backed by legal specialists?

Professional heavyweight versus an amateur featherweight? Put like that it’s a bit of a mismatch, isn’t it?

But Negative Equity Northern Ireland are in the business of levelling the playing field. Staffed by men and women with backgrounds in banking, they know how lenders think and operate. Having worked previously for the other side so to speak, they know what banks and building societies will and won’t accept. And because they know the law, too, they are conversant with what can and cannot be done by either side.

All the major lenders are aware of and respect that know-how, which is why they are willing to sit down with Negative Equity Northern Ireland’s negotiators and find a solution. Now, there are advisors who offer advice – and sometimes it is very good advice, too. But, alas, there it ends. In other words, they inform you of your options and then leave you to get on with implementing the best of those. Well. good luck with that.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland, however, don’t leave you to paddle your own figurative canoe, not least because they know metaphoric canoeists would be in real danger of drifting up that well known creek having lost their paddle on the way. Not a good place to find oneself. So Negative Equity Northern Ireland don’t just offer advice, point you in the right direction, wish you all the best and wave you goodbye as you head off upstream to encounter your waiting lenders.

Instead, armed with their in-depth knowledge of house prices, mortgages, interest rates and home ownership, and buoyed up by their years of experience in banking, THEY get into YOUR canoe and, acting on YOUR behalf, head for the negotiation rapids. These are rough waters in which novices are unlikely to survive. But experts, who have been through these waters before, know where the rocks are, know what to avoid and know how to go with the flow.

From start to finish, Negative Equity Northern Ireland’s staff put themselves in the front line for you. That means you are kept out of the battle.

They do the work for you, checking, researching and re-checking before coming up with a package that gives you a future because it is acceptable to your lenders/creditors. How and why? Because the banks respect NENI well enough to know that what is on offer is the most realistic, honest and fair outcome available.

The proof of the pudding? Well, NENI recently managed to negotiate a 90% negative equity write-off for a Belfast family. That’s a life-transforming result.

Are they glad they called us? What do you think?

Are You Dealing With Negative Equity & Property Debt?

Dealing with Negative Equity & Property Debt

Negative equity means if you were to sell your home, the price it fetches would be insufficient to clear what you owe the bank or building society.

It’s a big problem in Northern Ireland where 41% of homes – 63,000 households – fall into that category. If you are one of them, the two minutes it will take to read this article could be the difference between a happy outcome and a fresh start or on-going misery.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland’s (NENI) managing director Phil Davison gets straight to the point.

“Negative equity has caught thousands of people here, through no fault of their own, and they have no idea of how they’re going to get out of it. We see them every day. Thankfully we are in a position to give them the help they need,” he says.

“They can’t sell their home, even though they have outgrown it or can no longer afford the mortgage because of a change in their circumstances. They may be divorcing or moving because of work, or they simply want to downsize, but can’t.

“We can solve those problems.”

Although NENI are the local market leaders, he does not pretend that there aren’t others in the field.

“If you are in this position I would strongly advise that you review all of your options,” he urges. “We provide a service, not advice. We take the pressure off our clients and always get them the best result available.”

So who are NENI, what exactly do they do and why would you consult them rather than somebody else who, at first glance, might appear to be offering a similar service?

They are a Belfast-based company whose professionally qualified staff have backgrounds in accountancy, banking and finance. They also have an insolvency practitioner.

Director Tom Cardwell says: “It is important to our clients that we offer all the services they require. It can be a stressful enough process without having to deal with a number of different companies and we are the only local firm of our type to offer every option a client could need in-house.”

As a potential client what protection do you have? How do you know you will be treated fairly? What stops NENI simply making promises they can’t fulfil?

The answer is that all their resolution work is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and their insolvency record is monitored by CARB. This gives their clients the peace of mind they require. It’s an exacting standard so not every company can offer customers that level of scrutiny and protection. So make that your starting point before deciding to deal with any company offering help in such matters; first and foremost ensure they are FCA-licensed.

If not, stop right there.

Negative Equity NI are knowledgeable professionals accustomed to negotiating with others of comparable ability. Their experience, coupled with that level of expertise, means they are respected and treated as equals when they sit down at the table to negotiate for you.

Others offer advice, but then leave you to conduct your own negotiations. Not so with NENI.

In addition, NENI’s first consultation – at which the exact nature of your problem is assessed – is entirely free. If you decide not to proceed, there is no charge. NENI’s primary goal is to write off the maximum amount of debt on your property. To that end they have built their team and their business around their customers. People just like you. Their staff’s vast experience after years of working in banking, property and all related finance means they understand how lenders think, how they operate and, crucially, what they will – and won’t – accept.

Too good to be true? Just look at the testimonials on our website negativeequityni.com – and there’s any number of very relieved customers who are now getting on with their lives and able to confirm that there is a way out of negative equity in Northern Ireland. Contact the team today and get a free consultation, we are here to help you.

Property Debt, What Are My Options?

Property Debt, What Are My Options?

Property Debt is a massive problem in today’s world. National debt, company debt, corporate debt, property debt, personal debt on secured and unsecured loans.

In what has become a way of life, we spend more than we earn. In many cases, a lot more. Far too much more, in fact. Mortgages and property debt play a big part in what we owe.

Certainly Northern Ireland is not immune. Like every other country in the so-called free world – how ironic – there is widespread debt and a glut of the problems that flow from it. This is not new, of course. As long ago as 1732, Thomas Fuller was warning his contemporaries: “Debt is the worst poverty.”

But you can go back a lot further, far beyond Fuller to the Old Testament books of 2 Kings, David and Proverbs where you will find censures against debt as a concept. Northern Ireland debt has reached record levels with an estimated 250,000 of its citizens now in serious trouble, 62% of that total made up of families in which, in over half of cases,  both parents are working.

Figures reveal that the amount borrowed in November 2015 – for  Christmas – was the highest for any month since February 2008 when the pre-recession credit blow-out reached its peak. And now borrowing – just to make ends meet – is rising again, giving rise to fears over borrowers’ ability to repay. Low income families are particularly vulnerable. Already it is believed that 217,000 adults – about 15% of the Northern Ireland population – are in greater debt than they can handle realistically. That means that if they were businesses rather than human beings, they would be deemed ‘no longer be viable’.

Unfortunately, human nature is to put off facing up to the problem for as long as possible. Denial, pride, fear, embarrassment, a sense of the perceived hopelessness of their situation and maybe a combination of each of those play a huge part  in the process.

Kathy McKenna  of Citizens Advice, has warned: “Sometimes it’s only when the situation gets out of control – for example when a client receives a court letter or eviction notice, or cannot get access to any more credit – that they will come seeking advice. Our experience shows that people generally wait a year before seeking out debt advice. However, waiting means their financial situation can spiral even further out of control, leaving them deeper in debt.”

Everywhere you look, it seems, debt problems abound, with negative equity and other debts accrued elsewhere combining to produce a particularly toxic cocktail.

Negative equity debt – where your home now is worth less than the mortgage outstanding on it – is a huge source of concern in the overall Northern Ireland scenario.

True, house prices have begun to rise so, finally, there is some welcome growth in the market. But that must be viewed against the backdrop which saw prices in Northern Ireland plummet far more steeply and quickly than elsewhere in the UK. Even in some areas where house prices have increased, they are only half-way back to the level in those days of seemingly endless money and totally affordable mortgages.

Make no mistake; we are playing catch-up – and look likely to be doing so for a long time to come. Meanwhile life goes on and ensuring that it does remains a major problem – but nevertheless the priority – for tens of thousands. Many want and require answers to just a couple of basic questions.

The first of these is: are there negative equity solutions?

‘Yes’ is the answer. From January 1 to June 30, 2015, Negative Equity NI succeeded in negotiating debt settlements which averaged 12.4%. That means that where the negative equity resulted in a £80,000 clearance shortfall at the time of selling, the average settlement was £9,920. In other words, £70,080 of property debt was written off as a result of voluntary, properly-negotiated-and-agreed-by-both-parties settlements. While selling the property to settle the property debt is pretty much inevitable, that does not mean you cannot buy another home, though that will depend on how the lender views your particular circumstances and the length of time involved in resolving your negative equity debt problem.

Your ability to buy will include such considerations as your credit rating, income, deposit funds and exposure to other debt. Here too Negative Equity NI will advise and assist you through each step of the process.

The second big question to which people need an answer is this: is there a solution to my mortgage problems and, if so, are there options, too?

Here, too, the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.

Normally there will be three options and having worked alongside you to find out your precise circumstances, difficulties and hopes, Negative Equity NI staff then will have the necessary information to arrive at the best-possible outcome for you.

Extending the term and/or changing the nature of the mortgage where, clearly, it was totally unsuitable and therefore ought not to have been sold to you are possibilities. So, too, is selling the house  in order to bring about a realistic, manageable debt settlement.

If you are in unaffordable property debt or are having problems with your mortgage it may be worth noting that the repossession rate in Northern Ireland in 2015 was four times higher than elsewhere in the UK. And it is now predicted that the number of Northern Ireland households at risk of repossession will rise from 15,000 in 2015 to 32,000 by 2018.

Negative Equity NI provide help in the form of advice and representation for homeowners in negative equity or those with mortgage problems. They have an unrivalled record when it comes to negotiating with banks and building societies on behalf of customers. If you think you may need help, it’s worth contacting us now for a free consultation.

How Can I Get Out Of Negative Equity?

How To Get Out Of Negative Equity

Before addressing the problem of how to get out of negative equity, let’s first define exactly what that is.

You are in negative equity when you owe more on your home than the price at which it is now valued. If, for example, you paid £220,000 for a home now worth £150,000 as per current market values, the negative equity on that property is £70,000. If it’s of any comfort to you, you’re not alone. Far, far from it; negative equity is commonplace in Northern Ireland.

Almost certainly, those who bought during the property price boom when attitudes towards lending and borrowing were a lot more laissez-faire than today are in negative equity. During those heady days, prices here sky-rocketed at a unprecedented rate. Conversely, they then crashed faster and more dramatically than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Thus Northern Ireland has seen the best and worst of boom and bust. It’s not an enviable record, but it is a reality with which we must now live and deal.
The fact that so much money was loaned so readily by banks and building societies contributed massively to the subsequent crash. In truth it was an inevitability, a disaster waiting to happen. All of those homes bought at those inflated prices had substantial mortgages attached to them. That’s because in the days of ‘easy money’, 100% mortgages – and even greater, in some cases – were very common place.

So when, finally, the day of reckoning came, that created huge problems for anyone needing to sell because, for whatever reason, they required something bigger. Or smaller. Or – because, of changed circumstances in terms of their marital status or income – they are no longer able to meet their mortgage repayments, even though interest levels are still at an all-time low. How much more difficult is it going to be when, as it must, the interest rate starts to rise?

Even with a recovery of sorts having started, 63,000 houses in Northern Ireland remain in negative equity. That translates as 41%.

The price of houses in the mid-2000s grew at such an inflationary rate that they were never going to be sustainable. It was a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the bubble burst.
In 2008, it didn’t so much burst as implode. And the resultant damage sucked tens of thousands of innocent people into a fiscal black hole from which they fear they cannot escape. But we have good news for them – they can!

There are solutions to negative equity. You can GET OUT of negative equity here in Northern Ireland. So, just how do you come out of negative equity intact? Basically, there are two options – renegotiate your mortgage or sell. Sell? How can you hope sell a property that is £50,000, £75,000 or £100,000-plus in negative equity? Isn’t that simply impossible? Calm down; proven, real-life negative equity HELP IS available.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland’s primary goal is to write off the maximum amount of debt on your property. To that end they have a team and a business ethos built around their customers. Their staff have years of experience in banking, property and finance. They understand how lenders think, how they operate and, crucially, what they will – and won’t – accept. Whatever your problem, experience has taught the NENI team that it probably is not insolvable. Almost certainly they can help you negotiate a positive future. Contrary to what you may believe, almost certainly your problem is not unique; rest assured that NENI will have helped others just like you to reassess, renegotiate, rebuild and recover.

Okay, you say – but what about my negative equity mortgage? Surely there is no way out of that mess? Well, actually there is. Beginning to feel a little better now? Good.

If you are serious about laying new foundations, let’s call a spade a spade; with virtually no exceptions lenders will expect the property to be sold in order to resolve/settle the debt. Here NENI  have a record second to none. Upon learning that, a second question invariably arises. It is this; after selling a property in negative equity, is it possible to settle the remainder of the debt and buy another property? The answer is yes, though exactly how quickly this can be done will depend on your lender, their attitude towards your circumstances regarding credit rating, deposit funds, exposure to other debt and income. Here, too, NENI can help and advise you start afresh.

But don’t take our word for it; see what others have to say based on their experience of inviting NENI to solve problems they had feared were beyond resolution. Below are a few real-life examples of people just like you who needed help and found it. They, too, feared  their particular difficulties were insurmountable. They, too, thought there was no future. They, too, believed they were beyond help because on-one else had a problem quite like the one they faced.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The following are three true stories, though the names and addresses of the clients NENI have been able to help have been withheld. Their tales reflect the realities not only of what can go wrong, but, more importantly, how it can be put right.

Case A: A couple from Derry/Londonderry who purchased their home through a loan from Accord Mortgages at the peak of the property boom.

They were struggling financially after having two children. Negative Equity NI managed to write off 47% of their debt and together with a small lump sum payment and viable monthly instalments they have been able to move to a more suitable property, much better suited to their budget.

CASE B: Working parents from Bangor who had negative equity of £64k on their home which they had bought via a mortgage from Santander.

There was also additional unsecured debt. But with a second baby on the way they needed to move from their two-bedroom home. As a result of this change in the couple’s circumstances, NENI not only managed to arrange the sale of their house but also negotiated a lump sum payment plus monthly instalment payments. As a result, over £50k was written off.

CASE C: A woman with a home in Antrim came to NE NI in urgent need of help. She too had a mortgage from Santander but she and her partner were struggling to make payments on a house which was over £61k in negative equity.

The property, stuck in negative equity,  was too small for the family’s needs and she had moved to rented accommodation whilst continuing to pay the mortgage. Tough, but they were coping, if only just. But when her employment ended, she was unable to maintain those payments. And because he was receiving only a nominal amount in Child Support and Child Benefit, her partner found it impossible to pay for the property on his own. NENI were able to step in and settle over 95% of the negative equity debt with a single small lump sum payment. That enabled our client to move on with her life in a more affordable and suitable property.

So whatever your circumstances, almost certainly we will have dealt with something comparable, We should be able to help you, too. To arrange a free-of-charge interview at which we can assess your needs and decide how best to go about meeting them, lift the phone and call us now: 028 9023 6074.

We Can Help With Your Mortgage Debt Problems

Who do you turn to if your mortgage debt is piling up?

With staff working on over 300 clients in different stages of their case at any one time, we at Negative Equity NI are continually striving to do the best for those who are struggling with mortgage debt. Since the start of 2016 we’ve written off £1million in personal property debt for our clients.

A total of £1million written off for 15 cases across NI and the mainland. The average write off is £66.6k, which equals almost an 80% write off for our average client. All cases and outcomes are based on varying factors such as affordability and change in circumstance but our highest write off so far this year was a whopping 96% for a client with a Santander mortgage meaning she only paid £2,200 of an outstanding negative equity balance of £61,781. Now that’s something to boast about!

So, What is Negative Equity?

Negative equity means your home is worth less than the mortgage currently still owed on the property. In other words – say you bought the house for £150,000 in 2008 and it is now in 2016 only valued at £100,000, you would be in £50,000 of negative equity. If you were to sell your house for £100,000 you would still owe the bank £50,000.

Sound scary? You’re not alone. Currently some 41% of households in Northern Ireland are affected by negative equity. That’s the highest percentage for any region in the UK with some 68,000 Northern Ireland households caught in the trap.

Perhaps you bought at the height of the boom and now it is time to move to a larger property due to an expanding family. It could be that your work circumstances have changed, leaving mortgage repayments more of a struggle. Maybe you have divorced or are in the process of divorcing, meaning you wish to sell the property to move on. Negative equity doesn’t solely apply to single properties either – some bought a second property at the height of the boom believing it to be an excellent investment, rather than the drain it is now. On top of these woes, many have an interest only mortgage, meaning they are effectively renting the property off the bank. But what happens when the interest rates rise? Or the term comes to an end and all the capital is owed on the house?

What Can You Do?
Regardless of your circumstance we can offer help. A free no obligation consultation is available in our Belfast based office at Mount Charles to discuss your mortgage debt problems and we can take it from there.

If you want to hear about our success stories, take a look below at the testimonial from a very happy client

Larne Couple, NRAM Mortgage in £66,000 Negative Equity

We’ve recently helped a couple from Larne with an NRAM mortgage who were in £66,000 of negative equity – we were able to negotiate a 90% write off.

“We approached Negative Equity NI due to a change in our personal circumstances.

We unfortunately had bought our property at the height of the boom, and subsequently were heavily in negative equity, which meant that we were unable to switch our mortgage to a better deal, or sell the property in the usual manner. The service we received was first class, Natasha (case manager) kept us up to date with all the developments & through negotiations with our lender, secured a write off of the negative equity on the property, with a settlement of 10%. I would highly recommend this company, to anyone who has a property sitting in significant negative equity.

Many thanks to the team at Negative Equity NI”.

If you’d like to talk to somebody about your mortgage debt, contact us today or give us a call on 028 90236074.

Are You In Negative Equity? We Can Help!

Are You In Negative Equity?

Negative equity is still a harsh reality and in some parts of the country there is little reason to believe that things are going to improve to any great extent in the near future. Many of those still playing catch-up are coming from such a deficit that it is going to take a very long time for the homes they bought 10 years ago to recover their pre-crash value.

A University of Ulster report revealed that in 2012 property prices in Portadown/Lurgan had just experienced the most dramatic decline IN THE WHOLE OF THE UK. At the start of that year the average price of a home in Craigavon was £108,370. By the end of 2012 it had slumped to £91,530 – an unprecedented drop of 18.4% in 12 months. Property prices in Craigavon fell almost FIVE TIMES more than the Northern Ireland mean, with that report by the University of Ulster showing that in 2012 the average price of a home in Northern Ireland was down 3.6% to just under £139,000. Compare that with Craigavon’s drop of 18.4%.

Craigavon was the worst of the UK’s 10 most affected areas in the wake of the recession. The other nine were in the north of England or Scotland, incidentally.

Property debt continues to be a problem in Northern Ireland, despite the fact that interest rates have never been lower. Base interest rate has been 0.5% since Match 2009 – an all-time low over a record period of time. One might think that those are two major pluses for home-owners. But the truth of the matter is that even after more than seven years of a lower-than-ever interest rate, the number seeking help to get out of negative equity remains huge. And it would be even greater if more of those currently struggling with property debt in Northern Ireland were aware of the help that is available.

There can be few more energy-draining, morale-sapping, soul-destroying situations than to be trapped in a home now worth considerably less than you paid for it, particularly  if you are struggling to make monthly mortgage repayments in order to stay there. And if that is difficult at this stage, how much harder will it be when the Bank of England finally opts to increase its base interest rate? That it will do so is an inevitability. There is no case of ‘if’ that happens, it is only a matter of ‘when’.

All of the available figures and statistics confirm that negative equity is seriously impairing the Northern Ireland housing market’s recovery.

According to a report published in late February 2016 by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, while there is growth at the first-time buyers’ end of the market, there has not been any among home-movers seeking to upgrade or downsize.  To a very large extent, that is because – in view of the negative equity on the home they would have to sell in order to move to a bigger or smaller property – they fear they are trapped.


But bear in mind the fact that people sometimes HAVE TO MOVE due to a change in their circumstances. The newly-married couple who bought that two-bedroom house back in the mid-2000s have since had three children. That house is too small. But it also has £60,000 of negative equity attached to it.

Or what about the couple whose offspring have grown up, moved out and are making their own lives elsewhere, leaving mum and dad in a house which now is too big for them and is expensive to maintain and run? They need something smaller. But they, too, have negative equity.

Or take the once-happy couple who are now divorcing. They are joint-owners of the home they shared. But now they are going their separate ways, they want to sell. However they also have negative equity, or property debt.

Or the skilled tradesman who used to have a well-paid job, with plenty of overtime, but now finds himself in a situation where all of that has changed. He is in negative equity and struggling to maintain mortgage repayments.

If you need help, it has to be in the form of people who have experience in dealing with problems just like his. People who are knowledgeable – and shockproof – when it comes to dealing with debt, almost certainly having successfully handled cases much more difficult than yours and whose range of options open up a variety of choices as to how to help you out of your predicament.
They need to know the world of loans, debts, repayments, interest, small-print penalty clauses, terms/conditions and the multitude of laws relating to all of those things. ‘Know’ as in inside-out, that is.

Negative Equity Northern Ireland (NENI) have just such knowledge. Most importantly, they are FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) licensed and regulated, confirming their status as a bona fide concern.  At the outset they will sit down alongside you in order to assess your position, thoroughly and honestly. Given that this first meeting is designed to confirm whether or not they really can help you, it is totally free of charge. At that interim meeting they will examine the full extent of your debts and all of your other outgoings. Then they weigh those combined totals against your income to get the full picture. If this is to work, the thoroughness of their research much be matched by the totality of your honesty. They will analyse the nature of your mortgage with a view to discovering whether or not the advice you were given at the time of agreeing to that loan was the best for you. And they will wish to ascertain which creditor is applying most pressure and in what form that is coming, so as to provide protection there.
After that they will prepare a case which – acting on your behalf – they will then put to your creditors. In between times, they will be your buffer, ensuring that you are not subjected to harassment, final demands or anything other sort of pressure. The objective in all of this is to arrive at a negotiated settlement, the obligations of which you can meet. In other words, it is viable. In addition to being realistic for you, it must be acceptable to your creditors. This means that following completion of the recovery process you will be in a position to start living again, free of worry about your money issues.

This is NOT about shrugging your shoulders, walking away from your responsibilities and laughing all the way FROM the bank. No, no, no. Instead it is about arriving at a solution which provides the best case scenario for all concerned. If it is a matter of re-negotiating mortgage terms/repayment amounts or a property debt. NENI oversee that. If it is a matter of selling a property in negative equity, here NINE’s sister company, Aria Residential, can assist by ensuring that you get the best possible price. And if you have loans elsewhere or in other forms – overdrafts or credit card debts for example – there, too, NENI’s team of experts have a formidable record in negotiating successful outcomes for people just like you.

Note that in the first five and a half months of 2016, NENI negotiated the wipe-out of more than £2,486,825 in the form of Resolution Write-Offs and Bankruptcy Debt Write-Offs. The total write-off figure in just over three years is £5.2m. If you need advice or would like to avail of Negative Equity’s free consultation offer, please get in touch today here or speak to a member of the team by calling: 028 9023 6074

Is Negative Equity Still A Problem In N.I In 2016?

Is Negative Equity Still A Problem In N.I?

Is negative equity still an issue in Northern Ireland in 2016? In a word, yes! Negative equity is still a very real issue in Northern Ireland. It is true that house prices are rising in some areas: south and east Belfast, parts of north Down and several villages and small towns which stand an easy travel-to-work distance from Belfast. Templepatrick, Holywood, Moira and Hillsborough are prime examples.

But even here, the rate of increase means current valuations are still some way short of the highs of 2007 when Northern Ireland’s property prices soared at a previously unimaginable rate en route to unprecedented levels. Alas, to the adjective ‘unprecedented’ can be added another, namely ‘unsustainable’. And the fact that it was unsustainable created economic carnage throughout Northern Ireland. How? Just as prices here rocketed higher and faster than anything seen anywhere else in the U.K so too the crash, when it came, resulted in a steeper nosedive than in any other region. Record-setting house-price increases were followed by record-shattering devaluations. Northern Ireland holds the unenviable top spots in terms of boom and bust.

If you were to draw a graph of what happened here, it would resemble an upside-down V. And the impact of that spectacular example of the rise and fall in house prices continues, with its effects still all-too visible across much of Northern Ireland.

The state of the property market isn’t the only problem. The loss of thousands of well-paid, highly skilled jobs in the hard-pressed manufacturing industrial sector is another, add to that the closure of retail outlets in every city, town and village. Then add the number of employees now on the minimum wage.

The combined effects of all of these blows to family viability – not least in terms of meeting monthly mortgage repayments – underlines how serious the problem of negative equity is. Negative equity – which is just another way of saying property debt – is still a very real and very live issue in Northern Ireland in 2016, with tens of thousands living in homes now worth considerably less than the price paid for them.

The price paid for a house in 2006-2008 may be twice what the same property would fetch if it were put up for sale on today’s property market. This means that a house which was sold for £200,000 in 2007 may now be worth just £100,000. In other words, after a sale there would still be £100,000 of negative equity, that being the shortfall.

The lender will still require that shortfall to be met, however, which means the unfortunate seller must continue to pay off the mortgage despite having sold the property. That means having to continue to pay for something you no longer own.

The situation is even worse for those with interest-only mortgages. As the name suggests, currently anyone in that position is paying just the interest on their mortgage.

Say it’s for £200,000. This means that at the end of their 25-year mortgage term, their repayments will have covered only the interest. The clue is in the name. Thus the £200,000 mortgage they borrowed, still has to be paid. In other words, the home they bought for £200,000 will end up having cost £400,000, that being the combined interest-plus-capital total.

If you do not have a repayment plan with which to clear that £200,000 capital loan, you are in a very unenviable place – particularly if your home is in negative equity.  It is estimated that 40% of Northern Ireland homes are in negative equity, with some of the worst affected areas being Mid-Ulster (Dungannon-Omagh), Craigavon (Portadown-Lurgan) and Banbridge-Newry where there have been price-falls in excess of 50%.

True, those areas are showing some signs of improvement. But while that sounds positive, such is the deficit from which they are recovering that prices are nowhere remotely close to what they were in 2006-2008 when they spiralled so madly. Those home-owners of whom this is true, need help in finding a solution to their negative equity property problem.

Negative equity is not a problem for anyone who is able to make repayments and does not need to sell at this stage. They are able to ride out the storm until such times as the market has made a full recovery. That, however, is going to take some time.

If you do need to sell your home, negative equity creates huge problems. Unless you have sizeable personal savings, moving may not be an option at all – and certainly not an easy one. Unless, that is, you know how and where to get expert advice and help with the problem of negative equity, ultimately leading to a solution.

Experts – like those of Negative Equity NI – are trained in all such matters and, as a result, know all of the options. They also know which of those would be best for your individual circumstances.

Re-mortgaging may be one, but it is difficult to switch to a cheaper repayment or fixed rate if you are in negative equity. Lenders are unlikely to facilitate such a switch, instead preferring a move to the standard variable rate.

A few – very few – lenders offer a negative equity mortgage under which you may transfer that negative equity to your new property. However, you will be required to pay a deposit.

A negative equity mortgage allows you to move house without having to pay off the negative equity on your mortgage.

On the down side, you may have to cough up early repayment charges on your existing mortgage and even then there could be additional fees. The interest rate on your new mortgage is likely to be higher than on your existing mortgage.

A Negative Equity NI adviser can tell if your lender and the small print of your existing mortgage permit you to make over-payments in order to reduce your negative equity. And if that is possible, it then becomes a matter of how much you are able to over-pay before incurring early repayment charges.

A Negative Equity Northern Ireland adviser can help you reach the appropriate decision with regard to moving house. If you are in negative equity, your prospects will depend on the extent of your property debt, the state of your current mortgage, the price of the home to which you are hoping to move and the size of the deposit you are able to raise.

What Negative Equity Solutions Can We Offer?

What Negative Equity Solutions Can We Offer?

THERE are tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland whose homes are in negative equity. Some 63,000 households, which is 41% of home-owners. That’s a lot.

Negative equity is the term which describes the situation where the current market-value of your property is less than the loan – mortgage – you borrowed to buy it X years ago. Example? If, back in the supposedly halcyon days of the mid-2000s, you borrowed £180,000 to buy a home now valued at £110,000, you have £70,000 of negative equity. Provided you are able to remain in your home – in other words, it continues to meet your physical requirements in that you have not outgrown it, nor, conversely, has it become too big for you, and you are able to meet your monthly mortgage commitments – the fact that you are in negative equity is neither here nor there.

But for those who NEED TO UPGRADE owing to the arrival of children, negative equity creates a real problem. THEY NEED to sell in order to move to a BIGGER HOME, but find THEY CANNOT do so.

And the same is true for those wishing to DOWNSIZE due to their children having reached adulthood and moved out to set up homes of their own. Negative equity is their undoing, too. DIVORCE is another reason for having to sell, the reason being to release both parties from the joint-ownership agreement with regard to the home they shared in happier times.

And, of course, the DEATH OF A SPOUSE often leaves the surviving wife or husband wishing to move from a home which, as well as being too big and expensive to run and maintain, just has too many painful reminders of what they have lost.

In view of all of the above, the very real need for viable negative equity solutions is self-evident.

‘How do I get out of negative equity?’ is a frequently asked question these days. So too is ‘What can I do about property debt?’ and ‘Are there negative equity solutions?’

The answers to the last of those three questions is a resounding ‘YES, there are negative equity solutions.’ Got that? This is not insurmountable!

‘Negative equity’ and ‘debt’ are words which reek of pessimism and despair. In contrast, ‘solutions’ and ‘help’ are upbeat nouns – wholly positive, in stark contrast to totally negative.

So where does one turn to find these answers?

Negative Equity Northern Ireland (NENI) have a hugely impressive track record that offers genuine positivity in the form of assistance which has extricated many individuals, couples and families from what had been seemingly impossible property debt.

How? By negotiating, on their behalf, with lenders to whom they owed money, be it in the form of negative equity, mortgage repayment difficulties, other debts and/or inability to clear the capital loan at the end of an interest-only mortgage term.

There are many in that interest-only mortgage category for whom pay-back time is looming on those loans which at one time appeared to have been such good deals.

Alas, they don’t have the money to repay the capital loan they took out, so they need help now rather than at some imaginary point ‘further down the line’.

Reality is that situations do not just improve of their own accord as a result of ignoring them or hoping/wishing that they will somehow go away. There’s rather more to it than that. Fact.

So here’s the good news. Although they exist in order to make money, lenders – banks and building societies – DO LISTEN in cases of genuine hardship. And provided the case for forbearance is put to them by professionals whose research, knowledge, monetary and legal expertise and final-settlement negotiating skills they respect, the probability is that they will do business. Again, fact.

Now, here’s some more good news. Typically, NENI  achieve 80% to 90% debt write-off for their  customers. That’s people like you, who feared  that they were beyond help.

Lenders know that NENI will have examined and assessed all of the relevant factors and details of those they represent en route to making a settlement proposal.

Ultimately it comes down to trust and respect borne of having conducted negotiations with NENI on many previous occasions.

Provided the reason(s) for debt can be shown to be legitimate rather than spurious, lenders WILL LISTEN to NENI’s negotiators. And where they see clear evidence of a genuine effort to co-operate, they are willing to examine and assess the situation in the hope of arriving at a resolution which suits both you and them.

How can that be?
Let’s put it like this; clearly selling a property on which there is negative equity creates a problem for the bank and the borrower alike. There is remaining debt; you owe them money. So what happens to that? Well, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the vast majority of banks and building societies may be prepared to write off – ‘provide debt forgiveness’ is the technical term – some or most of that shortfall.

Now why on earth would they do that?
It boils down to two things – money and time.

Any attempt to recover debt can take a lot of both, so banks and building societies do the sums in weighing up how much time and money they might end up spending when there is no guarantee that they will be able to recoup the outstanding amount. Another consideration is the borrower’s ability to repay. The lender’s options are limited if due to negative equity you will still owe £70,000 following the sale of your property, but clearly are not able to repay this now or at any time in the near future.

In addition, there are legal time constraints on banks and building societies. They can only pursue debt for a limited period after which it is deemed, by law, to be unenforceable. Also, banks have an incentive to agree to a negotiated settlement. That comes in the form of a reduced taxation bill where they successfully write off debt.

And finally, having been entrusted with ensuring that a mortgage was (a) affordable to the home buyer at the time of selling to them and (b) the version best suited to their needs and means, lenders may be wary of ending up on the wrong side of a court judgement in case they are found to have acted irresponsibly. Where that happens, banks are liable for compensation and/or a write off of the debt.

Are You Struggling With Property Debt? Is Your Mortgage Becoming Unaffordable? Get In Touch And Book Your FREE Consultation With One Of Our Experts!

How Does Negative Equity Affect My Credit Rating?

When it comes to your credit rating, clearly negative equity is not an advantage. Never. From whatever angle one views it, there are no plus points for being in possession of a property on which the amount owed is greater than its current market value.

So just how big a hindrance might negative equity be to your credit rating and where there is such a handicap, (a) are there solutions and, (b) if there are, what are they?

Let’s call a spade a spade; lenders – banks and building societies – are in the business of making money.

They do so from borrowers who repay more than was loaned to them, ideally both on time and in full. That is how the system works.

But every loan carries with it an element of risk. That, too, is a fact of life.

Borrowers seek to minimise such risk to themselves by lending to those they believe to be capable of making repayments.

In deciding who qualifies as ‘a low risk borrower’, lenders base their assessment on a credit report. This is an all-important examination of the would-be borrower’s incoming, outgoings and credentials – from the same Latin root as ‘credit’, of course.

The credit report explores your track record, examining your past performance in terms of honouring previous financial undertakings and commitments. The better your history in this respect, the more heavily this weighs in your favour.

While this system is not complex, the conclusions to which it leads are crucial in determining what lies ahead for those under the potential lender’s microscope.

Lenders analyse such credit reports closely, allocating points en route to a decision on the likelihood of the applicant either honouring or defaulting on a credit agreement.

The higher the score, the better the prospects for those hoping to borrow. They have improved options as a result of having more choice. And, vitally, they tend to qualify for cheaper credit, too.

Your credit score is seen as providing a good overall measure of your credit standing. The better your standing, the more enhanced your prospects of getting a keenly priced loan.

Conversely, the poorer your standing…. well, let’s just say there’s a real ring of truth to the old adage that beggars can’t be choosers.

Put bluntly, your present and your future depend very much on your past. Now, you can’t undo your past. But while it’s true that no-one gets to re-write history, it is equally the case that history’s influence on our future can be managed.

In the circumstances, it makes total sense to consult with those who know how the system works and who, by virtue of that knowledge, are best able to protect and project all your credit rating plus points whist simultaneously minimising anything which might undermine your cause or detract from your position when it comes to any future financial contracts or undertakings, be they mortgages or loans for any other purpose.

Remember, safeguarding your credit rating as far as that can be done is all-important at this stage. That is particularly true of anyone living with negative equity. And there are many thousands of them in Northern Ireland.

Negative equity is an unfortunate reality for which few, if any, of those suffering from it are responsible. It is not something any of them chose, for which reason they are victims, not perpetrators. Not only do they require help – they deserve it.

If you are one of the thousands in Northern Ireland dealing with negative equity, get in touch with a member of the team today for help!

Trapped In Property Debt? Need To Relocate?

There are thousands of people in Northern Ireland who are trapped on the property ladder.

The reasons for their plight are straightforward enough; in almost every case they bought at a time when property prices were skyhigh.

Those prices duly nosedived in the wake of the 2008 crash so their value now is less – in many cases, very much less – than was the case at the time they were purchased. Anyone unfortunate enough to have bought when prices were at a record high has been left to pick up the pieces.

Right now their primary objective is to move on the property ladder. In some cases, they may wish – or for purely practical reasons, need – to move to a bigger home. Conversely, there are many whose goal is to downsize.

Circumstances vary from family to family, couple to couple, individual to individual.

In some cases, a couple in their 20s or early 30s may have bought a two or three-bedroom home in 2005, 2006 or 2007. But since then they have had children. Now, as a result, they have outgrown what, ten, nine or eight years ago, was their dream starter house.

The problem is that back then they may have paid £200,000 for it. Today it is worth half of that.

How do they begin to climb the property ladder? Is that a totally unrealistic hope, a fantasy, an unattainable aspiration? Will they ever be able to buy that bigger home or is this simply an impossibility which condemns them to having to just make do?

On the other side of the coin are older home owners – a couple who were in their late 30s, 40s or 50s and who had teenage children when they bought a decade ago.

Now their offspring have grown up, moved on, flown the nest. Consequently, mum and dad are left occupying a home which is bigger than they require and a lot more expensive to run and maintain than makes sense.

When they bought during those property-price boom years, they saw their home as being their nest egg. It all added up at the time – buy a big house in the belief that when the time to downsize came, they would reap the rewards in the form of a handsome resale windfall.

Instead they find themselves in a house which has big rates, big heating costs and big maintenance bills.

In the case of older couples or individuals, mobility may have become an issue. Stairs are a problem, the garden is too big to manage. Or the husband or wife may have died.

Not unreasonably, such people are keen to downsize at this stage. Alas, they too have negative equity. So the same question arises; is it possible for them to move on the property ladder and buy a house much better suited to their requirements or are they, too, condemned to continue living in circumstances not of their making and most certainly not of their choosing?

In their situation, ‘moving up’ the property ladder actually translates best as ‘moving down’ in terms of the square-footage of their would-be home. That, most assuredly, would be an ‘upward’ move in the sense of getting to where they want to be and restored to living in a situation which best suits them. For them, clearly smaller is better.

Others similarly entrapped include a number who opted for the self-build option at a time when that appeared to be a ‘can’t lose’ route. Prices were soaring so it seemed that when it came time to sell, that investment would provide a handsome profit. Guaranteed money, it once seemed. Ah, the benefit of hindsight and all that….

Most of those who are trapped on the property ladder belong in one or other of two camps: they are in a house which is either too big or too small. They need to move because their property no longer works for them.

But their home also has negative equity and therein lies their problem.

Can it be solved?

Oh yes. And encouragingly, those who have vast experience in presenting such cases to lenders know they can expect a sympathetic hearing. Their track record shows that those on whose behalf they intervene – decent, honest people trapped in negative equity due to hitherto-unforeseen and now-unmanageable changes in their circumstances rather than some underhand attempt to escape or avoid their responsibilities – usually emerge intact when it comes to moving on.

At Negative Equity Northern Ireland, we major in dealing with just such cases, and we believe that every such case can be resolved, not least because being Financial Conduct Authority -licenced we enjoys a first-class relationship with the province’s lenders who know we can be trusted.

With staff, who as well as being fully trained in the complexities of mortgages and the law, are wholly sensitive to clients’ needs, anyone requiring help and advice as a result of being trapped on the property ladder can get in touch with us.

If you find yourself trapped on the property ladder get in touch with a member of the team today.