Equity Release

For most people their home is their largest asset and equity release allows you access to the tax-free cash in your home.

There are two main types of equity release plans:

Lifetime Mortgage

A lifetime mortgage is similar to a conventional mortgage where you retain ownership of the property and borrow a percentage of your property value.

Most people who take out equity release use a lifetime mortgage. Usually you don’t have to make any repayments while you’re alive, interest ‘rolls up’ (unpaid interest is added to the loan). This means that the debt can increase quite quickly over a period of time.

However, some lifetime mortgages do now offer you the option to pay all or some of the interest, and some let you pay off the interest and capital.

In the same way that ordinary mortgages vary from lender to lender, so do lifetime mortgages. When considering a lifetime mortgage, it’s useful to know:

  • The minimum age at which you can take out a lifetime mortgage. Usually it’s 55. We’re all living longer so the earlier you start the more it is likely to cost in the long run.
  • The maximum percentage you can borrow. You can normally borrow up to 60% of the value of your property. How much can be released is dependent on your age and the value of your property. The percentage typically increases according to your age when you take out the lifetime mortgage, while some providers may offer larger sums to those with certain past or present medical conditions.
  • Interest rates must be fixed or, if they are variable, there must be a “cap” (upper limit) which is fixed for the life of the loan (Equity Release Council standard).
  • You have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move into long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract. (Equity Release Council standard).
  • The product has a “no negative equity guarantee”. This means that when your property is sold, and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider, neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more (Equity Release Council standard).
  • You have the right to move to another property subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan (Equity Release Council standard). Different lifetime mortgage providers may have slightly different thresholds.
  • Whether you can pay none, some or all of the interest. If you can make repayments, the mortgage will be less costly. However, with a lifetime mortgage where you can make monthly payments, the amount you can repay may be based on your income. Providers will have to check that you can afford these regular payments.
  • Whether you can withdraw the equity you’re releasing in small amounts as and when you need it or whether you have to take it as one lump sum. The advantage of being able to take money out in smaller amounts is that you only pay the interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn. If you can take smaller lump sums, make sure you check if there’s a minimum amount.

Home Reversion

With a home reversion plan you sell your home, or a percentage of it, in exchange for a lump sum whilst still living in your home.

Home reversion allows you sell some or all of your home to a home reversion provider. In return you’ll get a lump sum or regular payments. You will normally get between 20% and 60% of the market value of your home (or the part that you sell).

When considering a home reversion plan, you should check:

  • The minimum age at which you can take out a home reversion plan. Some home reversion providers insist that you are at least 60 or 65 before you can apply.
  • The percentage of the market value you will receive. This will increase the older you are when you take out the plan but may vary from provider to provider.
  • Whether or not you can release equity in several payments or in one lump sum.
  • You have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move to long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract. (Equity Release Council standard).
  • You have the right to move to another property subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan (Equity Release Council standard).
  • The product has a “no negative equity guarantee”. This means that when your property is sold, and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider, neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more (Equity Release Council standard).

Independent advice is available from our carefully selected and trusted business partner Kevin Gullwell. Kevin is an experienced equity release specialist. Kevin is qualified and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct all types of equity release business.

Contact us today to find out more

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