Negative Equity put simply is when the value of the property you purchased
is now less that that mortgage secured against it.


Negative Equity put simply is when the value of the property you purchased is now less that that mortgage secured against it.

Negative Equity only becomes an issue if the property is sold leaving an outstanding balance for the difference between the current market value and the value of the outstanding mortgage after sale.

If you can afford the mortgage repayments, then it will not be an issue unless interest rates rise and make repayments un-affordable.

Many people find themselves trapped in Negative Equity as the fear that they cannot afford the balance prohibits them making life plans such as moving or up or downsizing. There are options for the homeowner however and Bell & Company are experienced in dealing with a wide range of issues surrounding this area.

Negative Equity issue due to relationship breakdown?

An issue that we see very often is the forced sale of a property due to a relationship breakdown. If a couple have purchased a property together and for one reason or another decide to go their separate ways then in most cases the individuals will choose to sell the property and move on with their lives. If this sale forces a ‘shortfall’ or a balance left owing after sale due to Negative Equity then this will mean a debt that adds to unwanted pressure and stress to already testing situation.

Luckily, the team at Bell & Company are experts in dealing with sensitive situations and know exactly how to approach and tackle issues like this with professionalism and empathy.

Case Study:

A couple with a marriage breakdown sought help from our specialists after their divorce as they agreed it was beneficial to sell the property they owned together which forced them into Negative Equity.

The mortgage on the property was for £204,000.

We achieved an agreement from the lender to a consensual shortfall sale. The property sold for £70,000

The couple received a letter from a debt collection agent for payment of the shortfall of £138,000. Obviously this was not an option for the client.

Effective negotiation with the agent saw the shortfall of £138,000 settled on a full and final basis for £9,000 by our team.

The couple were delighted that they could finally go their separate ways and move on with their lives after the emotional strain of being tied together by a property with large debt owing.

If you find yourself in a similar situation then please contact our team for a friendly, confidential chat to discuss your options.

Worried about the impact of an interest rate rise on affordability?

Bell & Company are advising clients concerned about future mortgage repayments to contact them today. Do not wait for rate changes to take place, you give yourself a better chance of resolving any issue if you deal with it head on and in advance.

Case Study

An example of the impact on rate increases would be a typical household with a mortgage balance of £100,000 on a variable rate of 3.6%. When the base rate begins increasing repayments will rise from £506pcm to £644pcm in 2018 according to forecasts. This is a significant rise when you consider other lines and forms of credit will likely see repayments increase also.

The big picture here is that three quarters of a million people in the UK will be unable to pay their way. The issue has been the build-up of debt during the boom as wages where not high enough. National Income grew, but this was disproportionate and only highest earners benefited and the rest fed on credit. During the subsequent bust period nothing was done to address the credit burden which was instead masked by ultra-low interest rates.

Struggling to make mortgage repayments and in arrears?

Very often clients approach Bell & Company in a situation of financial distress. We always advise that the hardest part is addressing the issue and seeking help, once this is done there are always solutions to every problem.

Case Study

A couple approached Bell & Company with three buy to let properties that were distressed . The rent acquired on the three properties was not even covering the mortgage repayments and the couple had been struggling leaving them with arrears. The lender had appointed a receiver when the couple sought help.

Bell & Company liaised with the receivers until the properties were sold.

There were substantial losses on all three properties after sale leaving a shortfall of £494,000. The couple obviously did not have these funds available and the debt was outsourced to an aggressive debt collection agency.

Again we liaised directly with the agent and successfully achieved a full and final settlement of £35,000 for what was a shortfall of just under half a million.

Obviously this was a massive relief for the client who avoided bankruptcy, moved on with life and could concentrate on maintaining the mortgage on their family home.

£494,000 settled for £35,000

Need to upsize or downsize due to a change in circumstances?

Very often Negative Equity is considered a weight on the shoulders of clients wishing to make changes to their lives but burdened with the threat of the shortfall in mortgage. Bell & Company help clients on a daily basis to move on with their lives and provide strategies to take the debt head on in order to facilitate the lifestyle changes the client wants.

Case Study

A young couple with a growing family appointed Bell & Company to proactively negotiate in respect of a shortfall on their home mortgage. Their mortgage was for £162,000.

The main breadwinner was an Architect but was suffering the effects of the downturn in the market and so found mortgage repayments a strain.

The family wanted to upgrade to a larger rented home to accommodate their growing family but unfortunately felt tied down due to the Negative equity on their home. They were worried that they could not afford to repay the difference so felt trapped like many others in Northern Ireland, UK and ROI currently.

The property was placed on the open market under the reassurance that our dedicated advisors would be able to negotiate on the shortfall on behalf of the client.

A purchaser was found and the property was sold for £120,000 leaving a shortfall of £42,000.

Laboured negotiations with the lender ensured that the negative equity shortfall was settled for £4000. The couple were able to settle the debt with the lender in Full and Final settlement and move home to a larger property.

Negative Equity on problem property abroad?

A large proportion of our clients who own distressed property in the UK and Ireland had also purchased property at the peak of the market further afield across Europe in specific, Spain, France, Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria. We have been involved in property debt negotiations for our clients under our sister company EU Property Solutions and have achieved some excellent results for our clients. You can view some of our success stories here.

We have a division in Spain and a legal team that we work directly alongside in striving to reclaim lost deposits on off plan or unfinished properties in Spain as a further strand to our services.

Case Study

A family from South England purchased a property in the Costa Del Sol when the property market was at its peak, paying over €200,000. The complex was built and finished and shortly after the property market collapsed. The property was rented in the immediate term but the long- term promises on lettings did not materialise. The mortgage repayments ceased thus entering into arrears including community fees and IBI taxes.

Our expert team entered into an agreement with the bank and the property was sold at an auction. A shortfall of €70,000 arose, but the bank then agreed to cancel all outstanding debt for €9,000 including all fees. They also agreed to clear the family’s outstanding community fees and IBI taxes, totalling €16,000.

A SAVING OF €86,000


There are positive options, we are experts in assisting borrowers to move out of Negative Equity and on with their lives whatever their circumstances.

Negative Equity is a problem rife throughout Northern Ireland, ROI and the UK. When the property bubble burst, many people who bought at the peak of the market between 2006 and 2009 saw the value of their home or buy to let decrease significantly. Prices in Northern Ireland have fallen by approximately 55% from the market’s peak. Whilst the property market is recovering slightly it will take decades for it to come back to where it was pre-recession leaving homeowners and investors in limbo. If you need to or want to sell your property for whatever reason, we offer a free consultation and can quickly assess your situation whilst detailing the options available to you, allowing you to make an informed decision on your future armed with expert advice.

Contact us today to organise your free consultation or to discuss confidentially in more detail.


When a client with property debt issues calls Bell & Company  assess the client’s case in it’s entirety. Our skilled team have experience in Legal, Financial and Property issues so can very quickly analyse your position and provide initial advice. We offer a free consultation to meet the team and discuss your requirements in further depth where we will detail all the options available so that you can make an informed decision. A tailored strategy will be implemented to ensure your needs and objectives are met should you decide to appoint Bell & Company. Some of the strategies that Bell & Company employ are:

Consensual Sale

Liaising with the client’s lender to ensure that they agree to the sale of the property whilst there is Negative Equity. Some lenders will not allow this knowing that the sale will create a debt however we represent clients to demonstrate their situation in order to get the lender to agree to this. This is the first step to resolving the issue.

Liaison with Foreign Creditors

This includes liaising with lenders across the world regardless where the property is. We have helped clients as far as Canada.

Help with the sale and marketing of the property

We work alongside a panel of expert estate agents and valuers to ensure that your property is fairly priced and sold.

Full and Final Settlement

Once the property is sold we will enter into negotiations with the lender to settle the outstanding debt on a full and final basis for a minimal amount. Our main aim is to ensure the best result for both parties is achieved.


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