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Financial advice for tackling winter damage to your property

Spring is finally here and the sun is peeking over the horizon a little earlier each morning – but when you start clearing away the signs of winter, you may find more than you bargained for.

Cracked timber decking, broken gutters, missing roof tiles, and mold are common surprises after cold fronts have battered your home for months. Houses get walloped in winter, and as your home is probably your biggest investment, early warning signs can’t be ignored. While some winter damage can be sorted out with a good scrub and a lick of paint, other problems are far more serious if left unchecked. If a professional repair job is required, this can add up to a tidy sum that your savings may not cover.

Repairs could be funded via your home loan if you have built up resources. Alternatively, you may have to fund repairs by taking out a personal loan, which is more costly short term debt. It’s vital to shop around and be fully aware of the type, purpose, and conditions of the debt before taking it on, advises Sarah Nicholson, the Commercial Manager of personal finance website Justmoney.

Established 10 years ago, Justmoney provides busy and digitally-savvy South Africans with easy online access to financial information, money management tools, products, and services.  It partners with trusted financial brands and allows one to make informed decisions easily, safely and conveniently.

Personal loans, also known as unsecured loans, are provided by a number of financial institutions, such as banks and loan companies. Some lenders offer a simple online application process which uses your ID number to determine some of your credit information. If your credit score is satisfactory, the relevant documents are e-mailed to you, and the process is completed once the credit provider is satisfied that you can afford the loan. The loan is repaid over a set time frame, with interest and fees included in the installments.

It is vital to inform yourself and shop around for the best deal, says Nicholson.  A regulator sets the maximum fees and credit rates that lenders can charge, so before you sign a credit agreement all these rates and fees should be made available to you. “Only apply for a personal loan if you know that you can make the repayments. If you are looking at a personal loan because you are struggling to pay off other debts, then debt consolidation or debt management might be more suitable,” she says.

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