When struggling to meet mortgage or other financial obligations it can make for an unhappy and stressful life.

It’s important to maintain perspective of course and then decide what you can do to improve matters. Sometimes there will be plenty - usually your options are limited.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, here are a few ideas to consider;

  • Examine your budget, set priorities and cancel direct debits. It’s worth scanning your credit card charges and direct debits periodically in any event. It is amazing how many monthly charges we accumulate over time. Cable TV subscriptions, unused gym memberships and suchlike.
  • Reign-in unnecessary daily spending. This might range from expensive indulgences like shopping sprees to addressing expensive bad habits like smoking, drinking or that daily cappuccino at the coffee shop on the corner. The family holiday might have to be sacrificed or scaled-down.
  • Shop smart! In today’s internet-based world there’s really no excuse for not shopping around, especially for big ticket items like household goods, holidays, etc.
  • Reduce expensive debt. Credit card debt and unsecured personal loans are usually very expensive. Consider using some of your savings to reduce this debt. However, keeping a cash float for emergencies and monthly shortfalls is also critical. If you don’t have debt other than your mortgage then consider reducing the loan amount. You should take advice on this first.
  • Consider options for extending the mortgage term or remortgaging. Extending the mortgage term will probably increase the amount of interest you pay but it will reduce your monthly repayments. Alternatively, if you are over 55 you might consider lifetime mortgages which will defer payments until your death. Again, this is a specialist area that requires specialist advice.
  • Consider downsizing. It might seem an extreme option but if you are finding it hard to maintain your current lifestyle and mortgage repayments it’s certainly better to remain in control of your finances and retain options. Failure to keep up your mortgage repayments will eventually put your home at risk and damage your credit file, thus making remortgaging harder when you eventually consider it.
  • Look for overtime opportunities or a second job. Sometimes increasing income is the only solution. Also, make sure you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to. This can make quite a difference to a struggling family.

Most mortgage providers recommend constant communication with them if you are having difficulty with mortgage repayments. Some lenders will consider granting you a repayment holiday to cover short-term difficulties but this will largely depend on the lender, your personal circumstances and the loan to value ratio on your home.

Perhaps most important of all, don’t fall into the trap of not reading mail and ignoring the problem. Talk to a trusted friend or family member and take professional advice. It’s never as bad as it seems and there are always actions you can take, even if sometimes those actions are sometimes undesirable or hard to implement.

If you are having problems meeting your mortgage requirements contact Mortgage Required for an initial, no-obligation, consultation.

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Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

There will be no fee for Mortgage Advice. There may be a fee for arranging a mortgage. The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances, but we estimate it to be between £399 and £599.

Mortgage Required Ltd, Finance House, 5 Bath Road, Maidenhead, SL6 4AQ is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority reference 573718 at www.fca.org.uk.

The Financial Ombudsman Service is an agency for arbitrating on unresolved complaints between regulated firms and their clients. More detail can be found on their website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk