According to a recent survey by the AFM Dutch financial services authority, one in seven people have worries about whether they can pay their mortgage because of the corona crisis. Meanwhile, mortgage providers such as Woonfonds have reported that a lot of clients are phoning them with questions about these concerns.
So Expat Mortgages has joined an initiative to give advice and practical help to anyone who wants to investigate whether there is something they can do to reduce or postpone monthly payments to help them get through these difficult months.
Help with your Mortgage (www.helpwithyourmortgage.nl) is a charitable initiative uniting a team of experts behind a free-of-charge telephone helpline: 088-1661455. It was started by Sander de Loo from the Zorgeloosch foundation to help people in need with financial issues related to their mortgage in these uncertain times, and Expat Mortgages was keen to help.
Henk Jansen, owner of Expat Mortgages, explains that this is a wholly social initiative for people who are not clients. ‘A lot of people don’t have a broker or don’t get help offered from the bank to reduce their monthly mortgage payments,’ he said. ‘Together with Zorgeloosch, Viisi and A&H Finance we’ve decided to start helping these people in times of (corona) crisis.’
There can be very simple steps to reduce monthly payments on an existing mortgage, particularly if the house value has gone up or you have been making repayments for a few years – and these can often be organised through your current bank or broker, he points out.
‘Most people have already heard of the three (or maybe six) month payment pause banks offer because of corona but this is only a temporary measure (and you still need to repay it in the upcoming one and a half years),’ he says. ‘But other structural options are also available.’
- Lower LTV (loan to value): Over the past years the value of your property has probably gone up and your amount of mortgage reduced (because of repayment). This might make you eligible for a lower LTV band and a lower interest rate for the same mortgage.
- Interest mediation: Many people have a relatively high interest rate with a short remaining fixed period. Some banks offer interest mediation to lower this rate.
- Re-mortgaging: Sometimes it’s smart to check if re-mortgaging is an option. This means paying a penalty and some other costs and remortgaging using the low rates on offer right now.
- Changing the kind of mortgage: It might be to your advantage to switch from, for example, a savings or life insurance type of mortgage to an annuity mortgage.
How does it work?
People should collect relevant information about their mortgage, such as the amount still owing, remaining term, interest rate and mortgage type. They should then simply call 088 1661 455.
Expat Mortgages and other experts will review their financial situation with them – speaking in English or in Dutch – to come up with tips and a simple plan.These personal tips will be emailed to them within 10 minutes. They can then take immediate action to lower their monthly payments!
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