Tell me more about equity release
What can equity release be used for?
The money that you release from your home's value can be used in any way you want. The most common purposes are:
- Home improvements;
- Improving lifestyle;
- Private medical care;
- Helping family members.
What else should I consider?
Equity release products involve borrowing against, or selling your home. It is a long-term financial commitment. You need to be absolutely sure this is your best option. As impartial specialists, we can help you consider other ways of generating cash or income before recommending an equity release plan. This could include:
- Cashing in existing savings or investments;
- Moving to a smaller home;
- Utilising local authority grants;
- Making sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to;
- Family loans.
You should also consider the ways that equity release might actually reduce the benefits you are entitled to. Means tested benefits such as the Pension Credit, and Age Allowance may reduce if you increase your income.
Equity release plans will reduce the value of your estate on your death and in some cases, using equity release might mean that none of your property's value is left to your heirs. In the case of Lifetime Mortgages that add the loan interest to the amount you owe there are usually guarantees to ensure you never owe more than the property is worth. Without this guarantee it is possible to end up owing more than your house is worth.
We strongly recommend discussing your intentions with your family before making a decision.
Am I eligible for equity release?
- Are you a homeowner?
- Are you (or you and your partner) over 55?
- Is the property your main private residence?
- Is your home worth at least £40,000?
Answering yes to any of the above means you are almost certainly eligible for an equity release plan. Several factors can influence providers' decisions. The younger you start an equity release plan, the higher value your property will need to be. Neither your income nor state of health has any bearing on eligibility. However, if you are in poor health, equity release may not be the most suitable option.
Are there additional costs involved?
Yes, the equity release lender will want to know how much your property is worth on application and will charge to administer and set up the scheme. In most cases you'll have to pay:
- Provider arrangement or application fees, usually between £300 and £800.
- A valuation property fee, to check your property provides enough security for the loan. For a £100,000 property, this is likely to be between £300 and £600.
- Legal fees, usually between £300 and £600. You should ask solicitors for a fee breakdown before proceeding.
Some lenders and reversion companies may refund some or all of these fees when the loan has been set up. In addition, you'll still need to take out building insurance for all the time the plan is in place. Lenders may make a charge if you decide to repay the loan early.
'Equity Release' includes home reversion plans and lifetime mortgages. To understand the features and risks ask for a personalised illustration.