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Reducing your winter bills

Posted on June 15, 2018 by admin

When the winter season commences, you might notice a spike in your bills. Although, it is no surprise that additional heating and hot water adds up, you may be surprised at how you can reduce these costs with minimal effort.

Consider the following tips to reduce your winter bills and lessen your environmental impact:

Heating and electricity
Instead of turning up the dial on your heating, look to other ways of heating up without using gas or electricity. Simple changes such as dressing warmly, closing the doors of the rooms you are not using and using a door snake can help to avoid the use of unnecessary heating.

Water
You don’t need to make big changes to make a difference. Some small changes you can easily implement include taking shorter showers, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and installing a dual flush for your toilet. Fixing your dripping taps and leaking toilets will also lower your water bill.

Appliances
Before purchasing new appliances, be sure to check the energy efficiency rating. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs can also reduce your electricity bills. Installing a water efficient shower head and only using the dishwasher and washing machine when full can help to save water. Switching off and unplugging appliances when they are not in use is a good habit to form.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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