Archive for November, 2017

How you can beat debt

How you can beat debt

Debt is a problem that affects millions of people all over the world. In the UK specifically, over 8.3 million families are currently living in debt, with this often causing people emotional stress and anxiety as well as financial problems. The good news is that no debt is unbeatable. Even if you’re laden with massive sums of debt that seem impossible to pay back, there are ways you can combat it and services out there which can help give you some space to breathe again. Read on for our tips on how to beat debt and get your finances back on track.

Budget

This one may seem obvious but being aware of what you’re spending and how to minimize your outgoings is the first step towards beating your debt. Sitting down with a pen and paper and determining how much of your weekly outgoings can be cut down against your total income will give you a true reflection of your finances. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be aware of how much you can begin paying back.

Tackle your most important debts first

If you’re dealing with multiple debts, then the first thing to do is work out which ones are the most urgent. Finding yourself in mortgage arrears can lead to you losing your house, and not paying debts owed from parking fines can result in bailiffs seizing goods from your home, so working out which debts need to be prioritized is imperative.

Find out what you’re entitled to

If you don’t ask you never get. You might be entitled to range of finances such as working family tax credits which can give your finances a boost. We advise that you get in touch with the Government to work out what you’re owed as this can bolster your monthly income and help you to pay off your debts quicker.

Seek professional help

Sometimes people are faced with truly insurmountable amounts of debt that are impossible to pay back with their own income alone.

That’s where we come in.

We know the laws around debt like the back of our hands and have helped hundreds of clients beat their debts since we were formed in 2011.

In fact, our settlements with mortgage companies, banks and lenders have saved our clients over £130 in debt repayments over the years.

The reality of debt is that, depending on your circumstances, you might only have to pay back a fraction of what you owe. Why not call us today on 0330 159 5820 to see if we can help get you back into the black?

 

We look back at the Belfast Business Awards

As we near the end of 2017, we reminisce about Bell & Company’s success at the Belfast Business Awards.

On Friday 26th May  2017,  Bell and Company were crowned winners of Customer Service Excellence, Professional Business Service in the Belfast Business Awards. The prestigious event was hosted by Belfast Chamber of Commerce.

The category saw fierce competition from industry leaders which further solidifies the achievement in winning. The annual, highly coveted awards ceremony is firmly established as a benchmark for excellence in today’s competitive business environment.

Director  Terry Bell states,  “The award is one that is very close to our heart as it is at the very core of the business. We pride ourselves on our relationships with clients and believe that this is what sets us apart. It is a true testament to the great team we have here at Bell & Company and we are delighted to have this recognized. The competition was so strong from fellow nominees we are humbled and thankful to be  crowned winners.”

The category was a judged by a Mystery shopper who commented on their experience with Bell & Company;

” …A comprehensive and detailed service by a professional company. Team members demonstrated great knowledge and professionalism throughout discussions with a follow-up call within two days. Face to face meeting, and many awkward questions posed and answered. This is a specialist service and this company really goes the extra mile for its clients. “

Over the last number of months, our business has gone from strength to strength, and we are determined as ever to help our client base.

Bell & Company pride themselves on their customer service and their relationships with all key stakeholders. Terry Bell states, ” some of our clients are now true friends. We become so involved in every aspect of client’s lives. Due to the length of some cases, it is impossible not to become emotionally involved.  This is what sets us apart – it is about the relationships that we build with our clients and this will continue to be the driving force behind the business. ”

We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside of the box. We can provide strategies and solutions that others wouldn’t consider.

 

Are the banks still lending too much?

The global financial crash of 2008 is widely considered to have been the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression of the 1930s.

Banks went bust, unemployment levels rose and many governments embarked upon austerity measures in an attempt to reduce enormous budget deficits the recession had laden their respective countries with. Earlier this year The Bank of England issued a stark warning that banks are still lending out too much and leaving themselves exposed to a shock in the financial system.

Perhaps the most emotive symptom of the recession, however, was the huge wave of public anger that swept across the continent. The banks, a key figure in the crash thanks to reckless lending, were to be bailed out by the taxpayer. Many people are understandably still angry about this 9 years later and now view banks as untrustworthy, unaccountable entities who are to blame for the effects of the recession that are still being felt today.

The question is, have the banks learned their lesson from the recession?

The evidence would suggest not. The recession was essentially caused by careless and impulsive lending on the behalf of bankers to people who had little hope of paying back what they owed. Every time a new loan was authorised, this created money that needed to be paid back, with the total of money owed eventually spiraling out of control to a point where it was impossible to reclaim what had been loaned out. British taxpayers alone have spent over £1.1 trillion to bail out the banks since the recession happened, and there are ominous signs that the banks may be repeating the same mistakes that caused the financial meltdown of 2008.

Earlier this year The Bank of England issued a stark warning that banks are still lending out too much and leaving themselves exposed to a shock in the financial system. Recent figures show that consumer credit in the UK has risen at a rate of 9.8% because of a boom in credit card and other unsecured loans, with the risk of this being a potential loss of £30bn if loans are unable to be repaid. Banks have consequently begun to set aside excess capital in the event of another economic shock, but such a rise in lending is a worrying sign considering the calamitous repercussions of the recession.

How can we protect ourselves?

To protect yourself and your assets at a time such as this, it’s vital that you carefully consider loans banks may offer you before entering into an agreement with them. Is there a reasonable amount of interest on what you’re being offered? Are the repayments they’re requesting likely to be paid on time? Do you really need the loan? Asking yourself such questions is critical to your financial well-being in a time where it seems the banks haven’t fully learned their lesson.

However, if you have already found yourself in difficult circumstances due to issues such as property debt, or owe a large amount which is putting your assets at risk, it is worth taking a no obligation, impartial, free consultation here at Bell & Company. Call us today – 02895217373

Will property costs in the UK continue to rise?

Property costs in the UK

For many of us, property prices are simply too high. A sizeable majority of us are priced out of living in our capital where, along with higher living costs, you’ll find the average house price to be a whopping £481,556. Perhaps soaring prices are to be expected in Britain’s capital, but even outside of London you’re likely to encounter high prices; the average cost of a house in Britain is an eye-watering £211,000. This represents a massive increase in average costs at the beginning of the new millennium, with the average spend on a UK home being less than half of the current amount at only £75,000 in 2000.

The problem for many prospective first-time-buyers is not only that house prices are too high as they are either; it’s the fact that they’re going to continue rising for the foreseeable future. Property costs in the UK are set to soar by 30% over the course of the next five years, pricing out millions more buyers in the process. The reasons for this are varied. Many argue that a lack of houses being built are to blame for the subsequent rise in prices across the UK, whilst others contest that stagnating wages haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living in Britain, making it impossible for homeowners to save enough.

Having said all of this, however, it is still possible for you to finance your property. Even in face of the fact that house prices may continue to rise for the next 50 years, obtaining the right financial package with sensible repayment options means that you’ll still be able to afford the house of your dreams.

Packages such as Help To Buy ISAs are a fantastic option for first-time buyers.

These work by having the Government top-up everything you save by 25%, so if you save £200 the Government will give you an additional £50. You can receive a total of £3000 from a Help To Buy ISA, which will give you a deposit total of £15,000 towards your first property.

Many young first-time buyers have used this scheme in order to pay for their first home and it’s a great choice if you’re looking to do the same. Even if you don’t choose this option, a critical rule to bear in mind is to be shrewd and shop around when choosing your mortgage. Always add together the final repayments you’ll be paying before entering agreements with banks, and don’t be enticed by initially attractive options such as interest-only loans which may not require paying back immediately. These can work out more expensive in the long run and will have to be paid back eventually.

However, if you have already found yourself in difficult circumstances due to issues such as property debt, or owe a large amount which is putting your assets at risk, it is worth taking a no obligation, impartial, free consultation here at Bell & Company. Call us today – 02895217373

First-time investor left with large shortfall

Bell & Company were contacted by a first time investor who had been left in negative equity on his home.

This was the gentleman’s first time investing in property, and unfortunately, just took out a mortgage at simply the wrong time, and had the possibility of insolvency looming over him.

At Bell and Company, over our years in business we have been able to build a strong relationship not only with clients but a good business relationship with different lenders.

The lender in this case was able to agree on a full and final settlement of £5000, which was fantastic. Although the end result was a great success, the negotiation was not easy. The team at Bell & Company had to develop new strategies to generate the best outcome for the client.

We pride ourselves on our ability to think outside of the box. We can provide strategies and solutions that others wouldn’t consider. Contact us today if you would like to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation on 02895 217 373.

‘Buy-to-Let’ property stress

Bell & Company finalise successful negotiations on a buy-to-let property.

An older couple based in England approached our company regarding a property they had bought to rent as a holiday home in the south of the country. The lender was known to be notoriously difficult to deal with, so this was an ongoing battle between the lender and Bell & Company’s strategists.

When liaising with the client initially it was a mutual decision to put the house on the market, and the couple were left with a shortfall of just over £60000.

Although a substantial amount of money, these “average” shortfalls may be tricky to settle, especially at a low percentage. However, this was not a manageable debt for the couple in question, who were desperate to move on with their lives.

Negotiating with a difficult lender, or one whom may be reluctant to make “deals” can be an extremely lengthy process.  In this instance, however, our clients were in a position to offer £8000 in full and final settlement, just short 10% of the debt.

The couple couldn’t have been any more complimentary of Bell & Company’s professional, yet warm approach, and have now been able to enjoy their retirement without the burden of property debt.

If you find yourself facing issues surrounding property debt, feel free to contact us.

Our team will endeavor to answer your queries within a few hours of receiving your inquiry.  If your query is of an urgent nature you can call our office directly on  02895 217 373 or speak to a member of our team via live chat. We offer a free consultation and full financial review.

Have a read of another example of a buy-to-let case settled by the strategists at Bell & Company.

The debt hotspots of the UK

Debt hotspots

Debt is a problem that’s plaguing the whole of the UK. In fact, household debt across the country has increased by 7% in the last five years alone. New figures suggest that half of British adults could be financially vulnerable. Not all areas of the UK are equal in their debt problems, however. Whilst the problems which are causing debt rises in the UK are largely the same, some parts of the country fare worse than others in terms of how many people are in debt there. Read on to find out more about Britain’s debt hotspots and why the people who live in them are falling into financial difficulties.

Newham

Topping the list of debt hotspots in Britain is Newham in London. For a borough with a population of 308,000, Newham has some 60,000 people in debt. This shocking statistic is borne of a variety of reasons, one of which being the startlingly low average household income of just £15,704. This is a far cry from the national average of £22,204 and, when coupled with the higher cost of living in London, has resulted in many of Newham’s residents turning to credit cards simply to get by.

Lenders seem to have forgotten the causes of the recession in this respect; it was through careless lending by banks to people who had little chance of paying back what they owed that the global financial crash of 2008 occurred.

Another factor which accounts for the high level of debtors in Newham is the low employment rate; only 68.7% of people in Newham have a job, as opposed to the London average of 73.8%. Again, this points to the reasons that so many are looking to use credit cards and loans to alleviate their debt troubles, but it only adds to the vicious circle of debt that so many of Newham’s inhabitants find themselves in.

Stoke-on-Trent

Another one of the UK’s debt hotspots can be found north of Newham in Stoke-on-Trent. Consumer lending in Stoke ballooned by 10% in 2016, a sign of the times that lenders may indeed be becoming trigger-happy in agreeing to loans once more. The Stoke Citizens Advice bureau points to the fact that, similarly to Newham, people are borrowing to pay day-to-day bills for things such as rent or council tax. Stoke has one of the highest insolvency rates in Britain too; 43 people in every 10,000 are insolvent in the city, proving once again that a high cost of living is fuelling the need to borrow unsustainably, with this phenomenon  being facilitated by careless lending on behalf of banks.

Bell & Company are debt strategists who negotiate on your behalf. If you are going insolvent or experiencing severe debt issues, in particular mortgage debt or commercial loans, call us today.

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