MONEY CLINIC | I bought a house worth R1.7m but lost my job within 3 months of moving in

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A Fin24 reader who bought a home last year has lost her job and only has R3 500 in income from a rental property. Struggling to find a job and unsure of what to do next, she writes:

I bought a house on a mortgage worth R1 750 000. It was a dream come true. The amount I'm paying for the bond is R14 300, and about R6 000 for rates, water and lights. Little did I know that I would be out of work within three months of moving in. I only had savings that could last me six months; sadly, even six months was an over-estimate, because I had to take care of some emergencies.

The last time I got a salary was in April, and the end of October was a hard slap of reality for me. I also have a fully paid apartment, and I profit about R3 500 on it, which is my only income source. For the past few months, I have managed to downgrade my lifestyle tremendously and the income I get of R3 500 covers my basic needs (food, fuel, etc). I don't know what to do with myself right now. 

I'm trying to find work desperately, but it is challenging. I've wanted to start a business and ended up losing money. Please advise me on what I should do.

Benay Sager, Head of DebtBusters responds: 

Disclaimer: we do not give financial advice. The comments below cannot be construed as financial advice. 

This consumer has seen real financial hardship. Owning multiple properties is not always a good idea, even at the best of times, because of unanticipated expenses. In this particular case, it appears the consumer may have overstretched themselves financially by owning two properties.

It may be in the consumer's best interest to explore the sale of one of the two properties they own, as their financial situation appears not to be sustainable.

To do so, they could get in touch with the bank(s) they have bond(s) with and ask for assistance – most banks offer "quick sell" options and may be able to help.

Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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