Get Cheap Properties by Moving out of London and Into Essex

Thinking of moving out of London to escape the pollution, crime and

move to essexhugely inflated property prices? I don’t blame you! The lure of cheap properties, which allows you to get much more for your money and therefore enjoy a lot more disposable income, as well as the pull of a cleaner and safer environment are some very good reasons to consider a move away from the big smoke.

Essex has long been one of Londoners’ favourite counties to move to either because they’ve gotten tired of the hassle and expense of London and want to start looking for affordable cheap houses, or because they simply want to live in the countryside and have a view that doesn’t include a tower block. The former is especially true for those Londoners who are thinking of starting a family and the call of lush green fields, safe places to play and more breathable air become increasingly more important.

Save Money On Low Cost Property in Essex

Moving out of London and into Essex has many advantages but the primary one from a financial perspective is the relatively low cost of property. One comparison I did the other day for another article, showed clearly that you can move just a few miles out of London and save at least 50% on a 3 bedroom property. Just imagine the difference it would make to you between having a £150K mortgage and a £300K one – it would transform your life. In fact you’d probably need a much smaller mortgage than that if you’re selling up in London and have equity in your current property.

According to recent land registry figures, the average house price in Essex is £256K, but that is pushed up by the many country residences and rich areas such as Epping and Uttlesford. Many properties in Essex are well below £200K, even in village locations and if you decided to look into properties available at house auctions you could reduce those prices even further.

One thing you’d need to factor in when thinking about moving out of London and into Essex is that you’d probably have a little further to commute to work, but all of the large towns in Essex have excellent train links into London, and if you fancy living in a picturesque village rather than a town, they are never far from a train station either, so commuting shouldn’t be a big deal. The average yearly rail cost which you might have to factor in if you did decide that moving out of London was for you, is around £4,000. Not cheap – but a lot less expensive than a huge, weighty mortgage around your neck.

There’s More to Essex Than Stilettos & Gangsters

Don’t be put off by the bad press that Essex has had in the past and that stupid TV series, “The Only Way is Essex,” which has done nothing to improve its image – it’s really not like that. Trust me I’ve lived here for 25 years and while it’s true that we talk a little strangely, what comes to mind when I think of Essex, is pretty villages with thatched roof houses, rolling fields of wheat and rapeseed and benefiting from being just 30 minutes away from the beach.

Moving out of London and into Essex is the way to go if you want to save money and buy property cheaply and if you want a better quality of life, Essex can do that for you too.

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House Repossessions And Buy To Let Rental Market

According to the Paragon Group – a mortgage buy-to-let company – the rental market is about to experience an increase in rents.

As many as 40% of landlords are about to hike up their charges by as much as 8% in various regions around the country. Is this due to the current trend related to house repossessions – or something else?

The truth is it’s related to a combination of factors: there are more students looking for rental properties, there are more and more incidents whereby people cannot secure a mortgage and the influx of migrants are all influencing the trend.

When you also add in the fact that more homes are being repossessed – it’s clear why landlords are in such a strong position – demand is rising at a faster rate than supply. Is this good news for the housing market? That depends on which side of the fence you’re on.

If you’re a landlord, or you’re about to break into the property market by way of buying at property auctions in the UK – then the answer is a resounding yes. If you’re looking to rent a property, then it’s an equally resounding no.

As a matter of fact my sons have just discovered (as they’re about to renew the lease on their jointly shared apartment) that their landlord has hiked up their rent by a whopping 10% … which of course is 2% higher than the predicted national average.

Obviously the decision is not one they want to hear – just because they’re renting does not mean that their bank accounts can cope with the potential increase. In fact – renting and being financially secure are not mutually exclusive. Often it’s quite the opposite.

This is more likely the case in the event that a prospective tenant has just gone through the house repossession process. Losing your home isn’t always cost free. Plus the reasons surrounding the loss are related to an obvious lack of financial stability in the first place. In short – it sucks.

For my son’s part, they’ve only been renting their apartment for 12 months. If their landlord keeps hiking up the rent by 10% a shot, within another two years they’re going to find it really difficult to meet with the increase.

Like most young people their annual income won’t rise even halfway close to 10% increase – over a two year period. What then? Buy? Singularly that’s an unlikely prospect. Together, a stronger one. But – where do they turn to for a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders are growing increasingly cagey about lending. Although the current leaning is for said lenders to deny that they’re tightening up on the lending criteria, those of us on the street aren’t stupid.

Currently, unless your last name is Gates and your dad’s first name is Bill – most people are finding it extremely difficult to secure a realistic mortgage offer. But then – if Bill Gates was your dad, you wouldn’t need a mortgage anyway.

So – whilst the rental price increase may not be strictly due to the house repossessions going on around the UK – it’s certainly an important factor. Landlords are finding themselves in a very strong position – one which it would appear many are exploiting.

And we understand that. They’re running a business and businesses only exist for one reason only – and no … it’s nothing to do with supplying a great product or helping folks’ out – and everything to do with making a profit.

And let’s not forget the fact that the Government is about to start reducing housing benefit. Could things get any worse for the poor, beleaguered ex-house owner to be? I’d like to think not. However looking ahead – I think things are going to get just a little bumpier for all of us.

House repossessions are not going to flatten out anytime soon. Migration levels are unlikely to drop enough to significantly affect the market. Young people are going to continue on their quest for higher education – despite knowing what they’ve got coming re spending cuts (the EMA grant for example) and raised fees once they head into uni – because they’re entitled to want more from life.

But that’s a whole other story.

Stop Repossession – But Don’t Use Your Credit Card

If you’re facing an uncertain future and wish to stop a repossession order – don’t use your credit card. As the New Year came and went new figures were published that showed a frightening (though understandable) tendency for home owners using their credit cards as a means of keeping up with mortgage repayments.

The homeless charitable organisation Shelter found the news to be alarming enough to issue a warning that went along the lines of: don’t use alternative forms of credit as a means of supporting yourself through financial difficulty.

In a nutshell, the use of credit cards is doomed from the outset. By using a different type of available credit – you are staving off the inevitable. If you’re already experiencing financial difficulties then using a credit card will only exacerbate the issue somewhere down the line.

Most credit card arrangements require that you pay the money back at a far higher interest rate than your mortgage lenders will be charging – so it’s pure math that several months of paying your mortgage with your MasterCard is going to increase your outgoings at an exponential growth rate.

The facts – mostly related to the financial situation and/or repossessions in Yorkshire and the Yorkshire region in general:

  • More than 287,000 individuals across the region may be using their credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent
  • Of around 2 million people asked (nationwide) during the survey – of those that said ‘yes – they had been using their credit card/s’ – 7% of that figure were from the Yorkshire region
  • In the November of 2009, the same question brought back a 4% figure that were doing the same in Yorkshire
  • Across the nation, the predicted figure for this year is that it’s almost a 50% increase on the previous year (2010)

As you can see – the figures are frightening.

If you’re one of the above and you can’t see no way round keeping up with your mortgage repayments – are you certain that you haven’t explored all other options that may be available to you?

You can turn to Shelter, the Citizens Advice Bureau, your local Government to check if you’re eligible for their Mortgage Rescue program. Then there’s the mortgage lenders themselves. They are prepared to listen because the bottom line is this: they don’t want your home.

No matter how much it may feel like it, the last thing any bank or large mortgage lender needs is an ever increasing portfolio of homes that they need to deal with. Banks are not property developers – they’re banks.

They’re in the business of making money by way of lending, holding and distributing the green stuff. That’s what they do – that’s what they are. If they end up repossessing a home they are then responsible for it – and they don’t want to be.

Why do you think that there are so many bank owned properties appearing at house auction venues across the UK? They don’t have the time to maintain them, attend to all the minutiae that is part and parcel of home ownership.

It really is in your mortgage lenders best interests to keep your home in your possession – and that’s something worth thinking about. Yes – you can and do come up against jobs-worth employees that make you feel as you you’re a voice in a million but – that’s not the majority.

As an example the Yorkshire Bank has a fantastic dedicated debt solutions department that’s so far doing a great job of talking with its customers as a means of finding agreeable solutions to spiralling debt and the potential of a future house repossession.

The HSBC work with customers on a client-by-client basis – and do their best to find a way forward. Barclays also use a tailored approach and the Halifax Bank – the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders – are the same.

The fact is this: if you need help, ask for it. Don’t wait until the carthorse has well and truly bolted. Using your credit card to pay of your mortgage is simply borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. It’s a fool’s errand and will only result in the worst case scenario – unless you’re incredibly lucky.

To stop house repossession in Yorkshire – or any other region across the UK – pick up the ‘phone and make the call now. You have plenty of avenues available to you providing you don’t bury your head in the sand.

The problem with head burying is this … when you lift your head back up again your world will have tilted too far the wrong way. Don’t lose your home – act now.

The Yorkshire Bank Steps In To Reduce House Repossession Numbers.

If you’re a member of the Yorkshire Bank and you’re facing potential house repossession – you’re in luck. In late December 2010, a report was published in relation to the banks stance regarding reducing the numbers of repossessions across its portfolio of borrowers.

Unlike other banks and lenders, Yorkshire Bank chooses to keep its arrears department in-house, thus avoiding the possibility of more of its borrowers falling through the net. The thinking is that by providing a dedicated section – called the Financial Solutions Unit – the bank can keep on top of those that need financial help and advice the most.

The unit was created back in 2009 and judging by the figures – the system works. As a rule, mortgage lenders tend to spread their debt services around different branches or even subcontract the work – which only works if a high standard of effective communication is in place between the lender, service and users.

In 2009, Yorkshire Bank repossessed 78 homes. In 2010 the figure had climbed to 96 – so does that illustrate that the format works? IN a word – yes. The bank has managed to work with and help in excess of 4,700 customers since the unit’s inception.

Coupled with that is the fact the bank possesses an extensive portfolio of borrowers on its books – plus there’s also the fact that two years into the recession, more and more people were feeling the pinch.

An increase of 23% is still an increase but in light of the facts – the system is working. The FSU not only tackles mortgage arrears, it’s widened its net to accommodate credit card debt, overdrafts and personal loans.

Shoring up the whole debt/financial issue is a great way to help a borrower avoid house repossessions – and the reality of it is that it benefits both the lender and the home owner. Banks don’t want/need houses – they want your money.

It works like this – if you continue to pay your mortgage over the natural course of the pre-agreed time span, the banks make more money in the long term. That’s what investing is all about. Whilst they can and do sell repossessed houses via auction property agents – that’s not the ideal situation and not what they (or you) signed up for.

If that were the case banks would stop being banks and switch to being direct property investors instead. In view of all that, what the Yorkshire Bank is offering is a very sound package of support for those that need it.

Knowing that you can halt the potential of a future repossession is far better than knowing you can’t do a thing about it. The additional stats made public by the Yorkshire Bank speak for themselves:

  • Sept 2010 – total assets that went 90 days overdue were £265 million
  • The previous year the figures were standing at £284 million – which shows that there was a 7% drop

The SFU works by way of referrals from branches around the country. If a borrower falls behind or requests a switch to an interest-only mortgage, the system flags the query or shortfall. You are then approached and offered the opportunity to discuss your finances.

If the Yorkshire cannot come up with an amenable solution, they don’t simply drop you off the deep end – they will instead refer you to an external agency that specialises in debt counselling (C.A.B. for example) and all being well a solution can be reached.

In short – what Yorkshire Bank is offering their customers is a well designed, well-rounded package of customer care. If you’re worried about your finances in any way, or can see the potential of house repossession down the line – talk to them.

It would appear that the Yorkshire Bank is the new listening bank.

Yorkshire Bank – SFU – (opens in new window) this takes you directly to the Yorkshire Bank’s SFU.

Banks Take A Bonus – While House Repossessions Continue To Rise

An interesting article appeared in yesterday’s news – banks are delivering a healthy bonus to their (already) highest paid employees … whilst house repossessions continue to rise. And who’s predominantly responsible for the recession? The banks. Let’s face it (before anyone thinks to disagree) – the economy is in the mess it’s in due to the global banking crash.

That’s all In a nutshell of course but – that’s the top and bottom of it. Tax-payers money has gone a long way to bailing out the banks as a means of trying to avoid a further deepening of the financial crisis. Too much borrowing, shady lending, the list goes on – and those that can afford it the least are left to drown.

There’s something very very wrong here. Whilst I recognise that banking bosses work at high pressure levels, that their jobs entail massive responsibility – not just for the bank they work for but also the economy – to pay themselves massive annual bonuses is morally wrong.

As an example, the Royal Bank of Scotland has just been hit with a whopping £2.8m fine in relation to their appalling customer service record. Nothing to be proud of. And neither is the fact that on the same day the fine was decided upon – the RBS boss Stephen Hester is reported as being in line for an astonishing £3m bonus.

This is over and above his exceedingly high salary. Then there’s the chap reported as being the highest earner in the banking sector – Bob Diamond – who’s in line for an even more astonishing figure … £8 million. Unbelievable.

In fact – what’s more unbelievable is the quote that appeared alongside the news report, relating to some of Bob Diamond’s uttering’s before the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday of this week, which went along the lines of:

he [Bob Diamond] felt no remorse about paying himself the incredible bonus, and that the time for apologising is over

The thing is – what is it that they’ve done that deserves such a payout? The RBS is in a mess. Of that there’s no doubt. A massive fine, share prices down, tax-payer bail-outs – the £20 billion that the RBS received as a means of keeping it buoyant when the bank crisis peaked … this warrants rewarding?

On top of that, there’s no point in those of feeling the worst effect of the financial mess hoping that our government is going to step in anytime soon:

“If they decide to pay themselves big bonuses when they should be rebuilding balance sheets, they should know we will step in, using the tax system. That is a very clear warning.” – David Cameron, October 2009

Hmmmm. The above quote doesn’t stand alone – a number of other politicians generated the same spin, not least: George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

The general feeling is that those paying themselves big bonuses when the bank is a shareholder institution and still struggling to regain its equilibrium should not be allowed to do so.

There’s no justifying the sharing of vast bonus pots in comparison to the housing market, the house repossessions, the debt and financial strain that ordinary folk are experiencing.

An interesting side note is the fact that on the Tory website there’s a short report on David Cameron’s opinion of bank bonuses, which was published on the 15th of February 2009. You can read that here (opens in new window).

The horrible truth is this: the UK government really doesn’t care about the status of those that are being hit the hardest. So … your family is experiencing debt, is under immense pressure to stay afloat, may well be facing or has already experienced a house repossession procedure … and?

The worst irony in the entire bank bonus debacle is the fact that Steven Hester’s bonus is performance related. Clearly the RBS is massively under-performing and he’s the boss so … what’s up with that?

One could assume that beneath all the shine that appears to emanate from becoming the boss of a high street bank is the fact that these guys are also experiencing financial uncertainty. Maybe their rather large and no doubt exclusive residences are under threat of property repossession?

Looking at what these guys are paying themselves who knows? If that’s the case – and in light of the fact that Gov Inc are A) not stepping up to the plate re their pre-2011 banking bonus opining and B) showing no sign of sticking to any of the promises they made then perhaps we – the guys on the shop floor – can dig a little deeper.

Why not? Many of us are under threat of losing our homes, of seeing our houses repossessed – what more could possibly go wrong just because our pockets are emptied that little bit more?

Stop Repossession – What Can I Do To Prevent A Repossession Order?

Do you want to stop repossession? Are you in a position to be able to do so? Before you start to panic about the ‘what ifs’, the best initial advice we can offer is this: stop, think – and inform yourself.

There are various options available to the home owner that has fallen behind with their mortgage repayments – and consequently find themselves in danger of an impending house repossession order. The first thing you need to do is to meet the problem head on.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained from ignoring the problem – and everything to lose. There is no shame in finding your financial situation lacking the good health it may have previously enjoyed – there are thousands and thousands of others experiencing the exact same problem at any one time.

The mortgage lenders are used to it, the banks are used to it, the advice and guidance counsellors are used to it – and there are ways and means available to you that may help prevent the loss of your home.

As a basic insight into what may be – available according to your circumstances, there are some Government schemes and financial aid available:

The above three are all based on specific criteria and the best forward is to fully explore what each one is – and who can access it. Are you eligible? Is the help available in your area? If you’re entitled to access the help – is it appropriate for your needs?

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you find yourself bogged down with reams of useless information or, worse – missing out on the right advice, the right facts and ultimately missing out on a key source of assistance.

The links are listed below and all the advice you’ll find detailed on each website is clearly set out and free of confusing jargon. If you do find that no matter how simple it all sounds, you’re still confused, you’re next best option is to enlist the help of a professional counsellor.

Every town has a Citizens Advice Bureau, others have region based charitable organisations available – in short there are ways and means of sourcing free advice from those that work closely with others in the same situation, and those that are connected both with and behind house repossessions.

What Are Your Rights About Being Repossessed?

Despite finding yourself in a poor financial situation – do you know what your rights are about being repossessed? If the answer is no – then the following information will prove useful to know.

Step One: Your mortgage lender will contact you in writing as a means of addressing the shortfall in your mortgage payments. This is the best time to act in order to secure an effective mortgage rescue remedy.

Step Two: Notice of Intended Prosecution. This is a letter that informs you of your lender’s intention to seek legal redress. This will only be sent if you A) fail to respond to their initial contact or B) don’t come to a satisfactory agreement. Again, this is another chance for you to negotiate in order to bring your account back to rights.

Step Three: Possession Order. You won’t jump from Step Two to this right away – what you will get is a notice from the local court that informs you of your lenders intentions and the date set for the hearing. This is your third chance to address you mortgage issue.

The paperwork will include a form for you to complete that relates to your current position – finances and so on. This is also a good time to inform the courts if you’re about to complete on the sale of your home.

Closer to the date of the hearing, you will also receive an Affidavit – which relates to what you owe, the interest rates, the lenders full details, the specifics of your repayment plan.

Step Four: At this stage – you’re at the hearing. It will involve (usually) the Judge, yourselves (and any legal representative you may be using), your lender and their legal representative. Again this is a stage whereby you can propose an agreeable mortgage rescue plan and stop repossession.

Step Five: As a rule, the court will adjourn, usually for a four week period. This gives you a four week delay on the actual decision. Use the time to try and sell your home. Sounds impossible but there are ways and means of selling your home asap. Or – if you’re in the process of selling, the adjournment may be enough of a time span for you to close the deal/sale.

Step Six: If you have proposed an satisfactory mortgage rescue plan of action, you may now find that the courts suspends repossession, pending your bringing the arrears up to date. Providing you comply fully, you’re home will not go on to become repossessed.

However, if you default on the payments the court will set a date for the Possession Order to be carried out. Once this stage has been reached, you will receive a date to vacate your home. If you refuse, the lenders then have the right to apply for a bailiff’s warrant. You will (again) be informed of the date they will arrive to evict you from their home. Unfortunately – you cannot negotiate with the bailiff.

So – the above steps detail when you have the occasion to stop repossession but – it’s up to you to take every chance possible in order to keep possession of your home.

In the event that you’re finances are in such a state that you never have the chance it’s wise to look beyond the eviction (which will eventually happen) and plan ahead. Visit the Citizens Advice Bureaux, check what help and advice is available to you in your area – and make sure that you can secure at least a rental property that you can afford.

If you’re about to become homeless you can apply to your local housing authority as a means of renting a home from them. This simply involves the need for you to fill out the appropriate forms – which will then allow you to become eligible to rent form them.

Whatever you do – do not bury your head in the sand. You will eventually end with no home and no other form of housing. Acting at the earliest opportunity will effect a more realistic outcome.

House Repossession Help And Advice Links

Citizens Advice Bureau – find out what your rights are, what’s available.

HMCS – Court Services – fully inform yourself of how the court process works.

Money Saving Expert – a great website detailing a myriad of ways to save money – plus lots of help and advice.

Mortgage Rescue Scheme – government funded scheme – check to see if you’re eligible.