How to save your home
Budget living

How to save your home

— with financial expert Adrian Raftery If you're facing repossession, the first thing to know is that you can get help from various organisations, free. The threat of losing your home is a harrowing experience, but you have to act immediately, or the problem will only grow worse.

  • Talk to a free adviser immediately. Below is a list of places that you can contact for unbiased free advice. They won't make judgment on you; they simply want to help you. Don't suffer alone.
  • Whatever you do, don't just stop making repayments. A crucial point when dealing with banks is to show a good payment record. Banks are more likely to be accommodating if you haven't missed payments.

  • Don't try to re-finance at a higher interest rate. Interest rates are high enough already and they are probably what got you in trouble in the first place. Repossession is inevitable if you do this.
  • Avoid those willing to buy your house. There are profiteers who can sniff a distressed borrower a mile away. They are not doing you a favour.
  • As much as possible you need to try to preserve your credit rating. It is the most important part of your financial stability. Having a negative credit rating can impact on your future ability to borrow/extend credit and even negotiate things like car insurance.

“Then, two weeks before our first baby was born, Mac lost his job. We had a small savings account so we knew we would be OK for a few months, but he had trouble finding work.

“Soon we were three months behind paying the mortgage and everything snowballed. After we'd missed another two mortgage payments, we were given a notice of foreclosure. It was humiliating. We've now moved in with my mum, and Mac is working part-time for a very low wage. I've gone back to teaching. We've gone from home owners to nothing in six months.”

Financial Information Service (FIS)
Centrelink's FIS is an education and information service available to everyone in the community.

FIS helps people make informed decisions about investment and financial issues for their current and future financial needs. FIS is independent, free and confidential and provides services by phone, personal interview and through seminars.

Department of Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs
They can help you get a court order if you are experiencing financial difficulty and arrange a new repayment schedule if your lender isn't willing to negotiate a new plan.

State Financial Counsellor Associations
NSW www.financialcounsellors.asn.au
Qld www.fcqn.asn.au
WA www.financialcounsellors.org
SA www.users.bigpond.com/safca
Vic home.vicnet.net.au/~vafc/
Tas www.anglicare-tas.org.au