How to avoid repossession of your home

While many consider it a personal dream to own a home, the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are unable to keep up with the repayments. In this article, we’re going to look at the repossession process,  and how to avoid it.

How does a house repossession work?

The term ‘house repossession’ can strike fear into the heart of the bravest of homeowners. After spending years saving for a deposit due to high housing values, it is always undeniably heart-breaking to learn that you have to start again from nothing. However, house repossession laws are there to protect the interests of the mortgage lender as a result of your inability to cover the monthly fees you agreed to pay.

To be fair to lenders, they are often more than willing to give you several opportunities to clear your arrears over several months, and will only allow the courts to get involved if it becomes obvious that you have no intention of paying, or are unable to afford the repayments at any point in the near future.

What happens when your house is repossessed?

All lenders must follow a pre-determined set of rules to before initiating court action. In normal circumstances, a lender will contact you if you miss a payment in order to learn why you have done so. More often than not, if it is simply a case that you have lost your job, or have had an unexpected payment leave your bank account high and dry, they will happily adjust the amount you pay over the proceeding months until the arrears are cleared.

If, however, you have missed multiple payments, the lender may apply for a court order to commence repossession proceedings. If a judge considers their reasoning just, then the courts will schedule a hearing during which the aforementioned judge will hear both sides of the story and decide whether you can keep your home, or if the lender has sufficient reason to repossess your home.

During the hearing, it is entirely possible that you can stop the house repossession. This is, however, up to the discretion of the judge.

How to prevent the repossession of your home?

You are always entitled to discuss the situation with a legal advisor prior to the court date in an effort to prevent repossession, and there are three possible outcomes with which the judge may help you in accordance with house repossession laws:

  • They could rule in your favour, allowing you to continue living in your home without risk of further prosecution.
  • The case could be adjourned, providing you with more time to prepare before returning to court.
  • The judge may issue a suspended possession order which allows you to stay in your home – provided you adhere to the conditions set forth within the order.

Can house repossessions be stopped?

Many people who are facing repossession will take the opportunity to sell their home as fast as possible in order to make the necessary repayments, and still recover a portion of the deposit that they originally paid the lender in order the buy the home. One of the ways to accomplish this that is growing in popularity is to utilise the services of a house-buying company such as National Homebuyers.

Since National Homebuyers are able to complete a sale in as little as two weeks from first point of contact, you can rest assured that you will be able to sell the home and repay the lender before being removed by a bailiff.

Other methods used to avoid a house repossession are as follows:

  • Renting the property out to tenants can be a godsend, as rental payments are almost always more than the monthly mortgage repayments you originally agreed upon. This means that you can move into a separate rented property yourself and cover those costs with your wages, and use all the money earnt from the tenants in the property you own to pay your mortgage, as well as begin to pay back your arrears.
  • If you have mortgage repayment insurance, and the reason for which you are unable to make the repayments are covered by the terms and conditions – for example illness, injury or loss of a job through no fault of your own – then your insurance provider will be able to continue making mortgage repayments on your behalf for however long the policy allows.
  • Consult the citizen’s advice bureau as to whether you qualify for aid from the government as a result of your situation.
  • Simply discuss your situation with the lender before a judge is involved. For many lenders, it is much simpler to work out a repayment plan than to employ house repossession laws and risk losing a case, as well as ending up spending more money in legal fees. Furthermore, in accordance with lending law, a lender must treat you fairly and provide you with ample opportunities to make the necessary repayments.

What happens after a house repossession?

If worst comes to worst, and you do face a house repossession, the following will happen:

  1. You will be given a set amount of time to vacate the property, and if you do not leave within this time then the courts will send a bailiff to forcibly remove you.
  2. The lender will take possession of your home, and list it for sale.
  3. The lender must sell the property in a reasonable amount of time, otherwise they may be seen as trying to capitalise on the situation by taking advantage of rising sold house prices. If you feel that they are doing so, then you are within your rights to complain to the Ombudsman.
  4. The price at which the property is sold will not necessarily be as much as you would have received yourself if you were to sell it, but the price that the property is sold for will be used to cover the following costs:
  • Your outstanding mortgage.
  • Any repair or maintenance fees for damage that could prevent a sale.
  • The legal costs they incurred from taking you to court.
  • The costs involved in the sale of the property such as estate agent fees, solicitor fees, or conveyancing fees.

Looking to sell your home before it is repossessed? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

Can you sell a house with asbestos in the UK?

Across the country, there are a number of older properties that still contain the toxic material, and its presence can often deter potential buyers for good reason. So how do you sell a house that contains asbestos?

Asbestos is a silicate mineral has been mined for over four thousand years around the world. With a wide range of uses, it was often hailed as a ‘wonder material’ by many prominent historical figures throughout the Roman Empire and Persia.

Why is asbestos dangerous and is it illegal to sell a house with asbestos?

Categorised into six separate classifications, it’s easy to see why asbestos was heavily used in UK property construction during the 20th century – it was resistant to fire, did not conduct electricity, and was an excellent heat insulator – but most importantly, it was mined locally and therefore extremely cost effective.

While the different available forms of asbestos vary in their potential to harm those who come into contact with it, they are all linked to a condition known as asbestosis. During its manufacturing process and implementation in many types of construction, the dust that was produced contained sharp asbestos particles that often found their way into the lungs of workers, cutting and scarring the delicate tissue inside and frequently causing tuberculosis and fibrosis. In the US alone, the handling of asbestos has led to the deaths of approximately 100,000 people since records began.

In the modern era, large-scale mining in the UK started in the late 19th century, but despite the first asbestos-related death occurring in 1906, it took until 1985 for the first partial ban to be passed through parliament.

While it isn’t illegal to sell a house with asbestos, for homeowners in the process of selling a house containing the material, the number of steps required to find a buyer can be a nightmare. But what measures need to be undertaken in order to sell a house fast?

Asbestos disclosure when selling a house in the UK

Since the repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act in 2013, all sellers are obliged to disclose the presence of asbestos during a sale. Of course, owners are not expected to detect the presence of asbestos in their home by themselves, but more than likely this information will have been uncovered by a chartered surveyor before they moved in.

In a large majority of cases, a seller will also be using a surveyor to determine the value of their home prior to placing it on the market, and their estate agent of choice will likely query the presence of asbestos based on the age and construction type of the property. Generally, any home built before 1978 could contain the toxic material, and a failure to detect the presence of asbestos in these instances could open up both the surveyor and agent to prosecution.

However, in many cases a surveyor would only be liable if asbestos was detectable by reasonable means – i.e. a surveyor cannot be expected to detect its presence through a solid wall or other unreachable areas.

How can I sell a house with asbestos?

If a surveyor’s valuation or agent’s report have determined that there is asbestos in your house, then further inspection is needed by a qualified professional who will be able to establish whether or not it could endanger the lives of those living within the property. It is important to note that asbestos does not pose a threat if it is in good condition – it is only when the material has been damaged or disturbed that its removal may be warranted.

If the material is in good condition then the law merely requires the seller to disclose the information to potential buyers and it is up to the latter to decide whether or not it is worth pursuing a purchase. If the asbestos, however, is found to pose a hazard to health then the situation can become a little more complicated.

Asbestos removal can be expensive, with average prices reaching £75 + VAT per sq. m – so even a small 6m x 5m ceiling can reach £2200 + VAT. For a seller, it comes down to a choice between having the material removed themselves at great cost, or placing the house on the market at a reduced rate to encourage a sale – although the number of potential buyers is likely to be limited due to health concerns.

House buying companies, however, are always happy to offer competitive prices to owners regardless of the presence of asbestos. Those looking to move house in a short time-frame often find this to be a preferable method, with sales completed in as little as two weeks.

Finding it hard to sell? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.

Selling a hoarder’s home

While many people enjoy tuning into reality television shows that expose the nightmarish conditions within which many hoarders live, the reality behind the ratings push is often much more morbid.

Many of us know, or have known an individual who lives in a hoarder house, and are more than aware that the problem has its roots in mental illness. For older people who lived through the Second World War, the lack of available provisions and luxury items at the time led to a shift in mentality where the idea of discarding unwanted or unnecessary items could come back to haunt them if they ever faced the same situation. For others, it is an offshoot of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression – believing that an item they no longer need could be either useful in the future, or has a sentimental value that elevates its status above that of a simple ‘object’.

As hoarding itself is surprising prevalent across the country – albeit at different levels of severity – it often affects not just the hoarder, but their friends and family also. Moreover, hoarders themselves are more likely to suffer from depression, social anxiety, and various other disorders that heavily impact their mental and physical health. And sadly, as a result of these ailments they are far more likely to die earlier, leaving their nearest and dearest with the unpleasant task of selling a loved one’s hoarder home.

On the other hand, a hoarder may simply be trying to move so that they can fight the illness and make a fresh start, and in these situations, they are hoping to sell their house fast before they have a change of heart.

Obviously, a hoarder home is often unsellable as it stands, and so a number of steps must be taken to make the property seem appealing to those who are in the market to buy. But how do you go about selling a hoarder’s house?

Cleaning a hoarder’s house

An important realisation to make early on in the process is to be aware that you need more than one person to see the task through to completion. Not only is it dangerous to clean a hoarder home by yourself in case of an accident, but also because of the sheer scale of the task. While there are many companies who are happy to be sub-contracted to carry out the cleaning, they are unlikely to have known the hoarder on a personal level, and as a result they may find it hard to differentiate between the accumulated items that bare no value, and those items that are genuinely important or carry a true sentimental value to the ex-resident. By overseeing the project, you can ensure that important memories are kept safe by employing people you trust to help.

In order to put a hoarder house up for sale, it must first be habitable and safe. So, if you find yourself tasked with a hoarding clean up, there are some important rules to be followed.

1) Make the necessary safety arrangements

Due to the sheer number of objects, a hoarder house will have been hard to keep clean. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to wear the right protective clothing in case you run into any issues that could directly affect your health.

2) Hire skips for disposal

It is surprising just how many items can fit inside a home. In many cases, a small two-bedroom house can hold up to several skips worth of refuse, so be sure not to underestimate the situation.

3) Gather your cleaning supplies

Some of the key supplies needed throughout the clean-up will include: heavy-duty leak-proof refuse sacks; receptacles for items you aim to keep; both light and heavy-duty cleaning agents; disposable sponges, mops and cloths; a vacuum cleaner; and commercial carpet-cleaning equipment.

4) Empty the house

For anyone looking at buying a hoarder house, it’s much easier to see the property’s potential if they can see the layout in all its glory – so get your team to start with a single room, separating out items that need to be kept from those that can be disposed of, and start filling the skips. Once the first room is complete, move onto the next.

5) Start cleaning

Using the cleaning supplies, start sponging down walls, windows and windowsills before utilising industrial strength cleaners in rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens to remove any residual bacteria. There are likely to be many things in the house that are unsalvageable such as soiled carpets and curtains, as well as dis-coloured and damaged wallpaper – so prepare yourself for several days of elbow-grease.

It is also important to find the source of any unpleasant smells – if a hoarder has had pets, you may find that certain floorboards are soaked with urine, and they will need to be replaced.

6) Start restoring

Once cleaned, your can start making the home look habitable again. Go for neutral-colours when painting the walls and ceilings, and ensure that any out-dated equipment such as old ovens and microwaves are removed and replaced. It’s also a good idea to check the heating systems, as boilers in a hoarder’s house are unlikely to have been serviced in recent years.

Selling a hoarder’s house

Once you are ready to sell, the majority of the hard work will be behind you. Look for a local agent with prior experience with hoarder homes, but ideally, hire the photographer yourself. A true professional will always know the right angles from which to snap a shot, and through the use of a wide-angle lens make the home itself seem much more spacious.

For those who would prefer to avoid the traditional route of selling a house, you can also try hosting open days where in a preferred time slot, anyone who wants to look inside can come and show their interest.

Alternatively, you can contact National Homebuyers who will offer you a competitive price for the home, with the benefit of a fast sale within two weeks regardless of situation or location. And remember, if you would rather avoid the task of cleaning the house yourself, house buying companies will gladly offer to do the hard work for you once it is purchased.

Are you desperate to sell a hoarder home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.