How does equity release work?
Equity release can be used to provide a tax-free cash lump sum, or to establish access to a flexible borrowing reserve. How much you can release varies between providers but usually depends on your age, health, the value of your home and the type of plan you choose.
What are the types of equity release?
There are three types of equity release: interest only lifetime mortgages, lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans.
Interest only lifetime mortgages let you borrow against the value of your home while retaining ownership. Interest can be paid monthly and the original borrowing is repaid when your home is sold.
Lifetime mortgages let you borrow against the value of your home while retaining ownership. Interest is added to the mortgage and repaid when your home is sold. Flexible lifetime mortgages allow you to access funds as required and you only pay interest on what you actually borrow.
Home reversion plans let you sell all or part of your home at a discount in exchange for a cash lump sum and rent-free lifetime tenancy.
What are the setup fees?
A survey fee is paid at the start of the process, the amount will depend on the value of your home.
An application fee is paid to the equity release provider when your application completes. This is typically £695. You will be required to obtain independent legal advice from a solicitor and this will usually cost between £400 and £500.
Most advisors will also charge an advice fee that can vary from £595 to £2,000. At StepChange Equity Release our advice is free.
Would I still own my home?
If you have a home reversion plan the deeds, and therefore the ownership, transfers to the home reversion provider. You would maintain an interest in any share of the property not sold to the provider.
If you have a lifetime mortgage or an interest only lifetime mortgage you retain ownership of your home.
Will my benefits be affected?
Depending on the amount borrowed and purpose of the release your benefits maybe affected.
Your advisor will complete a full benefits assessment before making a formal recommendation. We will discuss the impact any equity release plan may have on any means-tested benefits you receive now or are likely to receive in the future.
Will I still be able to leave an inheritance?
The amount of inheritance available will be the difference between the proceeds from the sale of the house and the amount outstanding on the plan when it’s redeemed.
We can't predict the future value of your property so we can't predict the amount that could be available as an inheritance. Property prices could be higher or lower than they are today when the property is eventually sold.
If protecting an inheritance is a priority, some plans will allow you to add a protected equity guarantee.