Expat Mortgages: the team support that keeps us safe as houses
The corona virus hasn’t just hit house prices for sellers and buyers – people who already have a mortgage could well be affected with worries about job security and making the payments.
This is why Expat Mortgages has partnered with Zorgeloosch, A&H Finance and Viisi to offer free advice for people with an existing mortgage, through the new website, www.helpwithyourmortgage.nl (or www.hulpmetjehypotheek.nl in Dutch).
Kenneth Leenders, chief executive and partner in Expat Mortgages, said that in times like these the company felt it was important to support everyone in the community, as well as its own staff and clients.
“Help with your mortgage was initiated by Sander de Loo from Zorgeloosch, one of our business partners” he explained. “Sander asked us if we would be willing to help and our answer immediately was ‘Yes!’ In times like these it is important to help each other, and if we can do so by using our knowledge and network, we are more than willing to do so.”
The initiative links people who are afraid that the corona situation will affect their finances with experts who offer free advice on what they can do – and it is not just for their clients but especially for people who arranged their mortgages through other independent advisors but have not yet found assistance.
“Our help consists of providing basic information on the options provided by the banks and guiding them through different steps to get the necessary information,” says Kenneth. “We always advise people to contact their existing advisor to help them further but if this is not an option, we will help them with that as well. Whether this is applying for an extension of the mortgage payment, interest mediation, a lower risk category, remortgaging or other ways to reduce the monthly costs, the partners behind www.hulpmetjehypotheek.nl are there to help.”
Many home owners are not aware that even if they have a fixed term mortgage, they may be able to do something to reduce their monthly payments. Many banks are currently offering ‘mortgage holidays’ of three months, where no payments are made and no penalty applies, and there might be a way to reduce your interest rate if it is higher than current ones on offer, if a house has reduced in value, or if the amount of debt has reduced as a percentage of the value to make a loan lower risk.
The website is in both English and Dutch, all of the experts speak both and are happy to help anyone with a mortgage in the Netherlands who needs some advice.
Expat Mortgages extends the same kind of support and care to its own team, which is working from home due to the coronavirus crisis. Adrienne Butelijn, HR manager, believes that communication is key – but also a bit of fun. The team now meets up online once a week rather than once a fortnight and it keeps its own house in order with some lighthearted tasks too.
“We started adding some ‘fun time’ to these meetings,” says Adrienne. “We did a quick game of reversed Pictionary (one person describes a simple picture and all of the others try to draw it), which was very quick but gave us all a good laugh!
We also organised an online pub quiz, and the bootcamp in the park which we used to have every other week has changed into a weekly online bootcamp, followed by an online borrel.”
At the start of the lockdown, all colleagues received a ‘message in a bottle’ from owners Kenneth and Henk Jansen in the post, birthdays are still celebrated with a colleague delivering a present personally and nobody is short of an elegant dinner either. “Our colleague Roy Schreurs decided to personally deliver fresh asparagus to each one of us!” adds Adrienne.
Just as with the www.hulpmetjehypotheek.nl (www.helpwithyour mortgage.nl) initiative, the idea is that if we don’t support one another, the whole house comes tumbling down.
“At Expat Mortgages we always say that our people are the most important and make Expat Mortgages what it is today,” adds Kenneth. “This is something I strongly believe in and therefore especially in these corona times the team has our #1 priority and we are doing everything in our power to stay positive and connected with each other.”
Challenging times are inspiring both creativity and kindness, Expat Mortgages believes, and the motto is to help one another and #StaySafeStayPositive.