Many home-owners are worried about not being able to pay their bond instalments over the next few months as they face the prospect of reduced earnings during the lockdown being put in place to combat the Covid19 epidemic, and possibly even after that as the economy will take time to recover from the disruption.
However, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, they shouldn’t panic as many new economic relief measures that will help them keep their homes are already being put in place by the public and the private sectors.
“Your first move if you are in this position should be to try to achieve a payment delay or deferment, by talking to your bank. Several banks have already announced they are ready to help customers to take a payment ‘break” of a few months on all sorts of loans, including home loans, by deferring instalments payments and extending the original period of the loan.”
After that, he says, you need to see what financial assistance you are entitled to claim to make it easier to resume your bond or rent payments (and other debt repayments) as soon as possible:
Kotzé says it is obviously going to take some time for the money to start flowing from these assistance measures, so the sooner you make a start on your applications the better.
“While the next few months will undoubtedly be financially very tough for most people, we believe it will be worth it to prevent the rapid spread of Covid19 and the economic havoc that would bring about, as it has in other countries that did not take decisive action early enough.
“Having said that, though, we want cash-strapped consumers to take action to keep the roof over their heads. This is the time to be realistic about your situation and not too proud or scared to ask for help.”
*For regular updates on the lockdown and related issues, consumers should visit the government site https://coronavirus.datafree.co/