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Can I Sell a House with Negative Equity?

Negative equity is the term used to describe a home that is worth less than the mortgage secured on it. If you’re in this position, selling your home at a good price on the open market wouldn’t raise sufficient money to pay off your mortgage.

If you don’t have the means to pay the difference, there’s a good chance you’re stuck in your property indefinitely. That’s why we’ve put together a list of potential options. Yes, you can sell a house with negative equity — but is it the right move?

Speak to your mortgage provider

If you’re happy to remain in your home and can afford the mortgage repayments, negative equity might not be a major short-term concern for you. However, if you want to move, you might need to take a proactive approach.

Reach out to your mortgage advisor and ask about transferring your mortgage to another home. A lot of lenders will transfer the mortgage to a more expensive property if you sign up to a larger balance.

Sell a house with negative equity Sell a house with negative equity

Alternatively, you might be able to make overpayments on your mortgage without incurring penalties. This is usually the quickest way to get yourself back into positive equity. You should be allowed to pay off at least 10% of your balance early without incurring penalties. So if you can unlock savings or investments elsewhere, this is a good option.

Stay at home

The simplest and cheapest option is to ride things out. If you’re in negative equity, it’s probably because of a sudden decline in the local property market. These things tend to right themselves over time.

If you’re happy in your property and have no problem paying your mortgage, wait until the market recovers. If you don’t have to worry about repossession, you can ride out the storm and wait for local house prices to recover.

Negative equity only becomes a significant problem when you can’t afford repayments, or you need to sell your house fast.

Increase the market value of your home

Three things get you out of negative equity: debt reduction, rising house prices and an increase in the market value of the property.

Take a look at the houses for sale in your area. What do they have that your home doesn’t? In many cases, you’ll be able to improve your house without a huge cash outlay. A few enhancements or repairs might add a couple of thousand to your home’s market value.

Rent out your property

So, you can’t afford to move home, but you need to leave as soon as possible. Perhaps you’re struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments. Or maybe you need to relocate for a new job. In either case, negative equity could be holding you back.

In these circumstances, the most logical decision is to rent out your home. You can use the income to pay off your mortgage or any debts secured on your home. You might even be able to turn a profit. Renting gives you breathing space. House prices always recover eventually; you just need to be patient.

Take out a loan

Sell a house with negative equity

If the negative equity in your home is relatively modest, an unsecured loan might be enough to make up the difference. Make sure you get a good rate of interest, and that you can comfortably afford the repayments. But beware: this type of borrowing is always more expensive than securing a loan against your property.

Sell as quickly as possible

Check with your mortgage provider about the best way forward. But if you’re in serious financial difficulties, you might need to ask about selling your home as quickly as possible. Some lenders will accept repayment programmes after the property is sold.

If you need to sell a home quickly to alleviate financial problems, Flying Homes can help. We buy homes directly from owners for up to 100% of their market value. If the circumstances are right, you could have the proceeds of the sale within just a few days.

My Ex Has Stopped Paying the Mortgage — What Next?

A divorce is usually a stressful and emotional event — more so when it involves joint home ownership. If your ex has stopped paying the mortgage, it’s important to understand your legal position and your responsibilities.

We’ve put together a short guide on what to do when a joint homeowner neglects their financial obligations.

Who is liable when a partner stops paying the mortgage?

If your name is on the mortgage, you’re liable for the repayments — whether or not you’ve been responsible for them in the past. If your partner suddenly stops making payments and you fall into arrears, your credit rating will be affected. And you’ll be jointly liable for any interest charges and fees.

Couple managing the debt. Ex stopped paying the mortgage

I want to stay in the property

If you want to live in the property even though your partner has stopped making mortgage repayments, your options might be limited. Contact your lender to explain the situation. There may be the option of a payment holiday or reducing the monthly repayments somehow. As long as you’re honest and communicate regularly, your lender might respond to your requests favourably.

But this is only a short-term solution. Sooner or later, your mortgage company will demand monthly repayments in full — along with any arrears due. If you have a steady income, you have the option of taking on the mortgage repayments yourself. However, doing so without a legal agreement in place regarding ownership of the property doesn’t improve your claim to it.

The best course of action is to appoint a solicitor to deal with the issue of property ownership. If you’re determined to stay in the home, you have the option of making an offer for your ex’s share.

I want to leave the property

My ex has stopped paying the mortgage

If you can’t afford the repayments on your own, or you want to move on, you can sell the house. However, you’ll need the permission of your ex — even if they’ve stopped making repayments.

Sell your house fast, and split what’s left after the mortgage has been settled. But remember: you might have to pay an early settlement fee. And you’ll need to pay any arrears and penalty charges using the proceeds of the sale.

Exactly how the proceeds of a house sale are split depends on the circumstances of the divorce. You can either agree on percentages between you or go to court and leave the decision to a judge. If you’ve been paying the mortgage on your own for several months, you might feel you’re owed more than half the equity.

What happens to my home if we have children?

If dependent children under the age of 18 are involved, the process is a little different. In most cases, the primary caregiver will get the right to remain in the property until all of the children turn 18. A judge might decide this even if your spouse wants to sell the house. The court will usually force your partner to contribute to the mortgage during this time. Alternatively, you might be in a position to buy your partner’s share of the property outright.

Dealing with property ownership during a messy divorce is often complex and very stressful. If you’re determined to sell up and move on as quickly as possible, we can help. We buy houses fast — and for up to 100 per cent of their value.

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