Equity release can be confusing and often difficult to wrap your head around. Put simply, equity release relates to the process of taking a tax-free, lump-sum from the equity (cash value) of your home, in a similar way to a mortgage.
When researching whether equity release is a suitable option for your circumstance, you may question how safe it actually is. This guide will aim to explain exactly what equity release is, and highlight some of the potential advantages and disadvantages it could have for you.
In this guide, we will answer some of the following questions:
Equity release can allow you to unlock money from the value of your property while you live there. This can be done by taking out a policy/ mortgage that permits you to access the cash value of your home, and you can then use these funds as you wish. This article by the Financial Times provides more information about equity release.
Equity release is an attractive financial option to over 55’s who wish to use the equity tied up in their property to enjoy retirement or provide enough income to cover any future care needs.
A homeowner will borrow either a lump sum or regular monthly income in return for a portion of their home. The borrowed money equates to a value less than your property’s market value, with interest accruing on the borrowed amount.
Here is a short video on how equity release works
You can also watch this video on how does equity release work on youtube.
There are two main types of equity release; these are:
For those aged 55+, under a lifetime mortgage policy, you will borrow a fraction of your property’s value at a fixed interest rate. In contrast to a normal mortgage, under this policy you don’t make any repayments and interest can quickly accrue on the borrowed amount, increasing the amount you owe.
It is worth noting however that some versions of lifetime mortgage offer a drawdown option, which gives you the chance to pay back some of the owed interest, reducing the overall cost of the borrowed amount.
For those aged 65+, under a home reversion policy, your provider will make a tax-free lump sum payment to you, as a portion of your home’s value below market. This can allow you to remain in your home rent-free until you die.
Upon your passing, the proceeds from the sale of the property will be divided based on the percentage owned by yourself and the lender. As a result, if the value of your property increases during your time living there, so will the amount received upon selling.
This YouTube video featuring Martin Lewis gives an insight to equity release schemes.
Designed to be a commitment for life, you may become restricted by an equity release scheme should you:
– change your mind
– want or need to move house ; or
– wish to use your equity for another purpose later in life.
Below we have highlighted some of the pros and cons associated with equity release.
Here is a video on the pros and cons of equity release.
You can also see this video on the pros and cons of equity release on youtube.
Equity release is considered safe since it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition to this, the majority of equity release providers are part of the Equity Release Council, which ensures you will never enter negative equity.
In order to be certain that your equity release scheme is safe and you are protected, just check that the provider you choose is part of the Equity Release Council.
This BBC article highlights how home equity release schemes could end up costing pension firms billions of pounds.
Use this equity release calculator below to see how much money you could be entitled to. It takes about 30 seconds to do.
There are plenty of websites that can provide reviews of equity release schemes, such as Over 50 Choices and Age Partnership. Here you can find advice and information from people who have taken out equity release schemes themselves.
As always, we recommend that you seek financial advice from an expert, to ensure you understand the implications surrounding equity release.
If you wish to gain more information and advice regarding equity release, you can contact us here at UK Care Guide, and we’ll be more than welcome to help you with any questions you may have. Our article on equity release can provide more information on where to get advice, including information on the best equity interest rates and providers in 2019.
Ultimately, if you wish to explore equity release further, you should weigh up the pros and cons, while taking into account expert advice which could help you better manage your finances later in life.
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