Equity Release Advice: Unlock Your Home's Value in 2023 (12 Top Tips to Ask Your Adviser)
Equity Release Advice: Unlock Your Home's Value in 2023 (12 Top Tips to Ask Your Adviser)
Get your free calculation...
Equity Release advice demystified
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on equity release advice.
If you’re a homeowner over 55 considering unlocking the wealth in your home, you may be wary about who to trust with making such an important decision. With seemingly more information available than ever, the choices can seem endless.
That’s why we’re here to provide expert guidance every step of the way on how to safely raise equity from your home and how to access trustworthy equity release advice. We answer some common questions our own customers have asked us, which may also help you.
At Later Life Finance we understand that the concept of equity release can be both exciting and daunting. That’s why we’ve created this resource to help you navigate through the complexities to make informed choices that align with your current and longer term financial goals.
Our team of experienced professionals provide independent advice on equity release, and have been at the forefront of the equity release industry for a collective 40 years, advising and arranging lifetime mortgages for homeowners across the UK.
With our expertise and dedication, we aim to empower you with the knowledge necessary to make the most of your home’s value, while ensuring your financial security and peace of mind.
Throughout this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about equity release. From understanding the basics to exploring the benefits and disadvantages, we leave no stone unturned. We’ll also address common misconceptions, share valuable tips, and guide you in finding a trustworthy equity release adviser who will have your best interests at heart.
But our commitment goes beyond just providing information. We genuinely care about your financial well-being, and we believe in complete transparency and trust. That’s why our advice is based on rigorous research and industry best practices. We want you to feel confident and secure as you embark on this important financial journey.
Let’s get started!
Accessing Equity Release- Our Top 12 Tips & questions to ask your adviser.
We share our tips to discuss with your adviser.
- Ask about making payments- Managing the cost of releasing equity can be most efficient if you can afford to make monthly or annual payments on a lifetime mortgage. Several providers offer solutions to manage interest through overpayments or monthly repayments.Even if you can’t afford the full interest payment, you can still cut costs by making partial repayments or overpayments.
- Discuss your plans with family or friends – While it’s not mandatory, we highly recommend discussing your equity release plans with your family.
If you choose not to involve them, it’s important to make them aware that any future inheritance could be affected. Alternatively, you could consider confiding in a close friend.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to inform the executors of your estate, as they may need to interact with the provider when the property is sold.
- Consider if any impact on means tested benefits has been fully discussed- Owning surplus savings may potentially impact your qualification for benefits, whether currently or later on.
Our experts will conduct a thorough means tested benefits evaluation.
- Explore all types of plan- for example, Interest-only lifetime mortgages and retirement interest-only mortgages have different rules around repayment plans, all of which we will discuss with you in detail.
Lifetime mortgages can offer more flexibility- and less risk than typical mortgages, as you cannot default on payments, which are voluntary. Discuss this in-depth with an expert so all schemes are fully considered.
- Discuss the downsides to releasing equity with your adviser so you understand how it may affect you and have a balanced view.
Certain drawbacks, such as the high overall cost, if no repayments are made to manage the interest, early repayment charges that can be costly, and the possibility of losing eligibility for means-tested state benefits.
- To steer clear of potential pitfalls we provide unbiased advice.
We only deal with lenders that are regulated by the FCA and members of the Equity release council, and fully research the market.
- Asking for personalised lifetime mortgage projections will help you understand how the true cost of the plans including interest. Asking whether a lump sum or a drawdown facility is better, and how each option will affect your estate and any inheritance you may leave is important.
- Understanding which plan is best for you- We will compare plans side by side to determine which provider can offer the correct solution for your needs.
A tailor-made approach is important so you receive a plan based on your specific needs.
For example, the lowest interest rate plan may not be the correct solution if you intend downsizing and repaying the lifetime mortgage in the future.
LaterLife Finance’s experts will compare these features side-by-side so the correct solution is identified for you.
- Don’t borrow more than you need- Interest is paid on the money borrowed, it makes sense to take as little as possible.
- Drawdown lifetime mortgage plans provide access to more money in the future, without being charged interest on money you’ve not yet
- Consider all the alternatives first, such as moving home, using alternative assets first, and consider whether a mainstream mortgage may be more suitable than a lifetime mortgage.
- Keep in mind that the decision to raise funds depends on your unique situation and priorities, such as your goals related to inheritance, early repayment and making payments.
We are an independent broker and will review the whole market so the most suitable solution is identified.
Before making any decisions, it’s advisable to seek independent financial advice to establish if releasing equity is a suitable solution.
We will assess and discuss the advantages and disadvantages, considering factors such as inheritance plans, health, and long-term care costs. They can also explore other means of financial support, such as grants, and explain the potential impact on beneficiaries
Understanding Equity Release: A Comprehensive Guide
When considering mortgages and exploring equity release, it’s important to understand the two main types available: lifetime mortgages and home reversion schemes.
We explain eligibility criteria and recommend suitable schemes, providing personalised expert advice. Our experts play a crucial role in providing guidance and helping homeowners search for the best option.
These schemes allow homeowners to release equity from their property, but which is best for you?
Lifetime mortgages are the most common form of equity release, and provide flexible terms for a comfortable retirement with the option to move home and ‘port’ the plans with you.
Unlike a home reversion plan, a lifetime mortgage provides the security of home ownership for life, making this a popular choice for homeowners.
Interest only lifetime mortgages are becoming popular with homeowners to enable voluntary interest payments which help reduce or avoid compound interest accruing.
This can help preserve more equity for downsizing or to preserve as an inheritance for loved ones.
Drawdown lifetime mortgages
These plans allow funds to be taken out over a longer timeframe to reduce the interest costs. Interest is only charged on the money borrowed, which makes logical financial sense when arranging a plan. The size of facility available depends on your age and property value.
Home reversion plans
With a home reversion plan, you sell a percentage of your property to a reversion company. In return, you receive a tax-free lump sum The percentage of the property you sell can vary, typically ranging from 10% to 100%. Any remaining percentage is retained by you, although you do not receive the market value for the percentage you sell, making the home reversion plans less popular.
Lifetime Tenancy: As part of the agreement, you have the right to remain in your home for the rest of your life or until you move into long-term care. This is known as a lifetime tenancy agreement.
In summary, lifetime mortgages provide homeowners a greater level of flexibility for moving home in the future. Home reversion plans do not pay you the full market value for the percentage you sell, making the home reversion plans less popular when compared with a lifetime mortgages.
What Does An Equity Release Adviser Do?
Your equity release adviser will discuss your requirements, explain the alternative options to consider, and as part of providing responsible advice, will ensure you make a balanced decision based on your current and longer term plans and objectives.
From supplementing retirement income, funding long-term care, enhancing lifestyle and increasingly to help loved ones with a ‘living inheritance’ gift, releasing equity can provide many financial benefits, but it’s also important to ensure the decision you make is the correct one. For example, you may be able to downsize to raise cash, or use other assets instead. It’s important to consider all your options .
The Advice Process Explained
Equity release advice is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority which ensures safeguards are in place to protect homeowners and maintains high standards across the industry.
The advice process involves an initial conversation to discuss your questions, concerns and to explain how releasing equity works. The overall aim of this process is to establish suitability by exploring your current and longer term plans.
Your adviser will establish whether there are any concerns of vulnerability, such as medically or financially and will also encourage a family member or friend to be involved in the process for support purposes.
Any alternative considerations will also be discussed and explained to ensure you are taking everything into account when making your decision.
Following this meeting, which can be done via telephone, video call or home visit, your adviser will determine whether equity release is suitable and then the research process begins.
The Equity Release Research Process
Your adviser will research the market based on your objectives, including how much you cash require from your home, your specific requirements such as priorities in selecting a suitable plan, and will weigh up the different options, such as interest rate criteria and exit penalty criteria to ensure the recommended solution is ‘future proof’ for your longer-term plans.
For example, if you plan to move home and downsize in the future this will override certain features and make others more of a priority to focus on. Expert advice is about understanding your individual needs and future plans.
The Application Process-how long does equity release take to get your money?
Following a period of consideration, you may choose to proceed with equity release.
Your adviser will submit your application to the selected lender and the process to raise funds will begin. You should instruct your solicitor to act for you. They can expect to receive your mortgage offer in around 2-3 weeks from the time of submitting your application.
The application process will begin with a valuation of your home by a chartered surveyor.
Your mortgage offer will be issued to you and your selected solicitor following the valuation process.
The whole process will typically take 6-8 weeks, depending on the legal process the solicitors will undertake, such as any title changes for example.
Completion Stage-your funds are released to your solicitor
When the funds are released to your solicitors and paid to you, this is known as the completion stage as the lifetime mortgage application process has been completed.
Your solicitors will arrange the payment of your funds, and their fee and the broker fee would normally be paid from the funds raised, unless you prefer to pay these separately, which is the most cost effective option as you are not paying interest on the fees if you don’t add these to the mortgage.
What Happens After Completion Takes Place?
With any mortgage your responsibilities include keeping your home in good repair and fully insured.
If you have opted to make voluntary repayments to the lifetime mortgage, you should contact the lender to arrange this process. A direct debit or standing order can normally be arranged to automate your interest payment on a regular basis. It’s important not to forget about this part of the process as you can reduce, avoid and even decrease the level of interest payable on the lifetime mortgage by making voluntary repayments.
Some lenders, such as Aviva do not allow standing orders or direct debit payments, which means you will need to diarise to make regular telephone calls to Aviva to make these payments, at least once a year if you wish to avoid compound interest.
Remember that these payments are voluntary and you are not committed to making repayments to a lifetime mortgage.
The Pros and Cons of Equity Release
It’s important to consider the benefits and important considerations including any disadvantages to ensure a balanced view. We review the points to think about when making a decision.
Benefits of Equity Release:
Access to tax free Funds: Equity release allows homeowners to access a proportion of the value tied up in your property, providing a tax-free lump sum or regular drawdowns. This can be beneficial for various purposes such as supplementing retirement income, funding home improvements, paying off mortgages and debts, or to gift a living inheritance.
No Need to Downsize: Equity release provides an alternative to downsizing. Instead of selling your home and moving to a smaller property, you can release equity from your current home while continuing to live in it. This allows you to maintain your familiar surroundings and avoid the stress and costs associated with moving.
Financial Flexibility: Equity release can offer greater financial flexibility, giving you the freedom to enjoy your retirement years on your terms. It can help you achieve a more comfortable lifestyle, cover unexpected expenses, or provide financial support to loved ones.
No Repayments during Lifetime: With some equity release schemes, such as lifetime mortgages, there are typically no mandatory monthly repayments required during your lifetime. This eases financial pressure and can be particularly advantageous for those with limited retirement income.
Inheritance Protection: Some equity release plans now offer options for inheritance protection. This allows you to ring-fence a portion of the property’s value, ensuring that you can leave an inheritance for your loved ones.
Disadvantages of Equity Release:
Long-term Financial Impact: It’s essential to carefully consider the long-term financial implications of equity release. The amount you release, combined with the interest accrued, can significantly reduce the value of your estate and the inheritance you leave behind. Understanding the potential impact on your financial legacy is crucial. We will provide interest projections and calculations to help you understand the impact on your estate, and how to reduce the interest costs by making voluntary repayments.
Impact on Means-Tested Benefits: Releasing equity from your home may affect your eligibility for means-tested benefits such as pension credit or council tax support. It’s important to seek advice from the benefits agency to assess the potential impact on your benefits and overall financial situation.
Interest Accumulation: In the case of lifetime mortgages, interest accumulates over time. This means that the total amount owed can grow substantially, potentially reducing the amount of inheritance left for your loved ones. Understanding the compounding interest and its impact on the overall loan balance is crucial.
Equity Release Fees and Charges: Equity release schemes often involve various fees and charges, including arrangement fees, valuation fees, legal fees, and advice fees. These costs can vary between providers, so it’s important to understand all associated expenses before proceeding.
Impact on Eligibility for Care: If you require long-term care in the future, releasing equity from your home may impact your eligibility for means-tested support. It’s important to consider how equity release could affect your ability to pay for care services or qualify for local authority assistance.
Choosing The Right Equity Release Adviser For You
Later Life Finance provide independent financial advice to fully explain the benefits, considerations, and potential risks associated with equity release. This will help you make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances and financial goals.
During the application process we will discuss details about your financial situation to enable you to access personalised illustrations and recommendations.
Legal advice is also vital, and you should appoint a fully qualified solicitor who specialise in equity release to protect your interests.
Your solicitor will guide you through the necessary documentation during a home visit, ensuring compliance with regulations and addressing any concerns. Our advisers will also be on-hand throughout the entire process.
As true experts in equity release, we help homeowners calculate the minimum and maximum amount of funds you can release based on the property’s value. We explain lenders eligibility criteria and help you review the plan documentation with clarification on any terms you wish to discuss to ensure everything is clear and understood.
It’s important to note that equity release is a significant financial decision with long-term implications. We take the time to discuss questions and consider all the conditions before you sign any agreements to proceed with the solicitor when they visit you.
Engaging with an FCA authorised broker means you are dealing with a reputable organisation. Following industry standards and codes of conduct, this provides added security and peace of mind. This also provides the protection of the financial ombudsman service for further peace of mind.
LaterLife Finance provide a complete lifetime mortgage broker service so you have all the facts before deciding whether to proceed with a solution.
Depending on your personal circumstances, homeowners may choose to release equity in one lump sum or receive smaller amounts over time. These funds can supplement retirement income, cover care costs, or meet other financial needs. We will guide you and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each route.
In conclusion, taking equity release is a decision that should be made after careful consideration and professional guidance. Homeowners must fully understand the terms and conditions of lifetime mortgages and the impact on their finances and entitlements, and the responsibilities that come with it. Seeking advice from our qualified and independent financial advisers and legal professionals is crucial to make an informed decision when releasing equity from your home.
The Benefits of Personalised Expert Advice
Older homeowners may have specific concerns about retirement income, care costs, or debt problems. Our experts address these concerns and offer personalised advice on using equity release as a potential solution.
We will help you explore the plans to generate additional income or provide guidance on managing and reducing debt, collaborating with organisations like debt charity’s when necessary.
Ultimately, seeking professional guidance from our expert, independent mortgage advisers and solicitors who specialise in equity release is crucial for older homeowners. Our experts offer personalised advice, compliance with FCA regulations, protection from the financial ombudsman service, and empowers homeowners over 55 to make informed decisions about your mortgages and financial future.
Advice On All Your Options
When older homeowners are seeking guidance on mortgages and considering equity release as a solution, there are several important factors to consider.
LaterLife Finance’s advisers specialise in equity release lifetime mortgages and can provide expert assistance in navigating the complexities of these financial products.
One crucial aspect is understanding the impact of house prices on mortgage decisions. Our knowledgeable experts can assess the current market conditions and provide insights into how property values affect mortgages, whether it’s for downsizing, releasing equity, or purchasing a new home.
Interest rates play a significant role in mortgage planning. Our experts can help older homeowners secure favourable rates that align with their financial goals, for example offering plans with more manageable voluntary repayments.
We can explain the implications of fixed or variable rates. Typical mortgage borrowers must consider how their mortgage repayments may fluctuate over time. Lifetime mortgages have fixed interest rates for life; removing this uncertainty and providing stability in later life when it really matters.
This level of certainty and security in your home provides a great deal of peace of mind in retirement, making lifetime mortgages a popular solution for homeowners.
In addition to mortgages, our financial advisers can provide guidance on home improvements. For older homeowners looking to enhance their living environment or make necessary modifications to accommodate changing needs, we can recommend cost-effective solutions, financing strategies, and potential grants or schemes available for funding home improvements.
When exploring equity release, it is essential to to discuss your plans with an independent financial adviser. Our reputable and regulated financial advisers are approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will explain the various equity release schemes available, such as lifetime mortgages. Our experts will help homeowners understand the risks, obligations, and potential impact on inheritance and means-tested benefits.
Considering legal aspects, solicitors experienced in property transactions and equity release can provide independent legal advice. They will explain the legal implications of equity release, help secure first legal charges against the property, and arrange for any existing mortgages to be repaid. Solicitors’ fees associated with equity release transactions can also be discussed and clarified.
Points To Consider When Considering Equity Release Plans
It’s essential to gather further advice and information to fully understand the implications of taking equity release. This includes considering the impact on inheritance, the total value of your property, any outstanding mortgages, and how equity release might affect your tax position.
Seeking guidance from LaterLife Finance will provide a useful insight into raising equity from your home. For any debt advice, debt management plans can be beneficial for managing any existing debt problems. Understanding the longer-term financial effects of debt consolidation is an area will also discuss to ensure you understand the implications.
When considering equity release, it’s important to consult with a professional who can provide personalised advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We will assess whether equity release is suitable for your needs, explain the potential risks and rewards, and guide you through the entire process.
Remember, releasing equity from your main residence is a significant financial decision, and getting advice from fully qualified and impartial financial advisers is crucial to ensure you make an informed choice.
Speak With An Expert Today
In order to release equity from your property, our qualified equity release advisers at the specialist broker Later Life Finance will ensure you can access all types of equity release and a full range of plans available, including lifetime mortgages and will explain the alternatives, such as the home reversion plan.
When looking for equity release advisers near you, advice can now be provided by telephone, video call, or in person. Finding expert advice near you is no longer a problem with Later Life Finance.
Request an equity release calculation and book a free consultation to discuss your options to help you decide if equity release is suitable for your requirements, or simply read our free guide.
Sourcing Expert Advice on Equity Release Schemes-Which Is The Best Solution?
As specialists in equity release as an independent broker, we provide clarity and explain how to access free equity advice without any commitment, and how to proceed if you decide to raise money from your home.
If you have discussed equity release with your financial adviser and are looking for expert advice, we can help.
Dealing with the specialist broker Later Life Finance ensures you receive qualified, independent advice with the experts. There’s no pressure, just honest, clear advice from many years specialising in later life equity release plans.
We discuss all the alternatives and explain the correct way to arrange a lifetime mortgage (with interest payments if you wish to preserve your equity for inheritance purposes, or for downsizing in the future, for example).
Later Life Finance provide a whole of market, independent broker service for equity release lifetime mortgages. We are directly FCA authorised and specialise in lifetime and retirement mortgage lending from the best equity release companies available.