The main disadvantage of equity release is that it does not pay you the full market value for your home. And where can I find unbiased equity release advice that I can trust? Another downside of equity release is that it will reduce the amount of inheritance your beneficiaries could otherwise receive. If you are receiving any benefits in addition to the state pension, check how these might be affected if you were to use equity release. Your financial adviser or mortgage adviser can help you decide whether an equity release scheme is appropriate, or whether you should consider other options such as downsizing instead. This is achieved either using a type of mortgage, or by selling that portion of your home on the condition that you can continue to live there as long as you wish. Because who’d willingly want to make a non-informed financial decision based on their biggest asset that takes decades to pay off? Telegraph Money asked Alan Lakey, an independent financial expert who advises on equity release, for guidance on the good and bad. With a lifetime mortgage, you run the risk of owing far more than you borrowed when the time comes for the home to be sold – up to the total value of the property (but not more than that). Some scandals in the 1980s gave the whole equity release market a bad name, but with a meticulous plan provider, there is nothing to worry about. It’s done via a loan, which is usually repaid from your home’s value once you die. Equity release is not a scandal – although it was back in the late 1980s when companies such as Fisher Prew Smith (long defunct) fleeced borrowers, and some lenders went on to … Is equity release a good idea? Some reasons to consider it include: Some reasons to choose an alternative to equity release include: The minimum age for taking out a lifetime mortgage is usually 55. Ask both a financial adviser and a solicitor to study the contract for you to ensure that it is in your best interests. Find out more, The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. ... an equity release scheme might seem like a good idea. All equity release products are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 4. It is important to check the terms and conditions before taking out the plan. This ensures that borrowers know in advance how much will be owed in the future. This way you will not be paying interest on the whole sum for the whole period of time, so the amount you end up owing will be less. Yet while equity release rates don't sound much higher than ordinary mortgages, they often cost much more. Read on to find out more about these different types of equity release. To understand how these common equity-release pitfalls might influence your situation, you should discuss any possible deals with a financial adviser. The minimum age for a home reversion scheme may be 60 or 65. 3. Unlocking the wealth in bricks and mortar can make sense, but it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Equity release is an advised financial product, which simply means that you cannot take out a plan without having taken appropriate financial advice from a suitably qualified professional. Releasing cash against the value of your home can be a way of gifting wealth to family members, free of inheritance tax. As of August, 139 equity release schemes  were available to consumers, more than double the number (58) seen two years ago, according to the Equity Release Council. This is particularly useful for those with interest-only mortgages and no repayment vehicle. However, in as much as it can be an excellent option, it has some limitations & pitfalls. See the examples below. F inding yourself house rich and cash poor? Find the right adviser fast with our matching technology. Unlocking equity from your home can be a great way to get some extra cash in retirement. The choices open to homeowners are certainly growing. 2. As an extra safeguard, have your solicitor check over the agreement you have with the equity release company before signing it. Last year, 23% of retired homeowners who took out an equity release plan said lending to their loved ones was their motivation. However, there are downsides to accessing the value of your home in this way. You may have read mixed reviews about equity release. The amount you owe will grow with interest, but you can sometimes reduce this by paying off the interest as you go, so it doesn’t compound (this is known as an ‘interest paying mortgage’). If you do take one out, you should consider checking to see if you can get a better deal once the early-repayment charge period has ended. Any equity release company that has the Equity Release Council logo on their material must ensure you can still live in your home until you die or move into permanent care. If you have paid off most or all of your existing mortgage, you can consider an equity release scheme. Whether equity release is right for you or not will depend on your circumstances. The two popular types of equity release are. Make sure the provider you use belongs to the Equity Release Council, so you are protected from pitfalls like negative equity. For more information or speak to an Equity Release mortgage adviser call us on 01628 507477 . As most schemes offer a roll-up of interest it means that no payments are made by the borrower. If you are using a lifetime mortgage, it can be more cost-effective to take out a series of smaller loans rather than one big loan, as then you will pay less interest over time. Take advice first Extracting cash could mean that any means-tested benefits – spectacles, dentistry, council tax and pension credit  could be impacted. Total lending also increased from £385.7m to £446.2m. The "facility" option allows borrowers to have access to a pot of money for the future and are not charged interest until it is drawn upon. You will receive far less money than you would from selling the property on the open market – although of course in that situation you would still have to find somewhere else to live. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection. This is a good reason to be cautious of lifetime mortgages if you hope to leave a good inheritance for your family. So, to get a better idea if equity release is for you, we’d suggest you have a friendly chat with one of the equity release experts we work with. Whether a lifetime mortgage or a home reversion scheme is best for you will depend on a wide range of circumstances, such as how much you hope to leave your family as an inheritance. You may have read mixed reviews about equity release. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Be sure also to check out sovereignboss and see how much equity you can release with the equity release calculator. Another good reason to do this is that your money is better off invested in your home (where it is likely to grow) than in a cash bank account. You need to be a subscriber to join the conversation. While rates are the cheapest they've been in years, equity release itself is still an expensive and risky way to raise cash. Unlike residential mortgages, where a borrower pays off the interest charges each month, the interest on equity release loans is usually added to the overall debt. This is known as equity release. The Top 3 … A few enterprising individuals have tried their own version of the French viager system, by selling their home privately at a discount in exchange for lifelong tenancy rights. If you want to move home, you can keep your scheme running as normal. But…isn’t Equity Release a bad idea? The amount of equity you can release depends on your property value and any outstanding mortgage or debt. This is the most popular type of equity release. These challenges could be causing some advisers to shy away from equity release. Of course, it helps that the sums released are tax-free. The early repayment penalties can be as high as 25pc of the initial borrowing. This may sometimes offer better value, but isn’t easy and requires in-depth legal and financial advice. 1. The money can be paid to you either as a lump sum or as a regular income, whichever you prefer. The percentage of the property’s value a borrower is looking to release would have the biggest impact on rates. You also need to make sure that your home reversion contract allows you to move home, if necessary, and that there are no elements of the contract that could cause you unwanted problems or expenses further down the line. This can be a large additional stress on your family, having to sort through your things and clear out the property in addition to arranging your funeral. Older homeowners warned over equity release advice costs, Overhaul for equity release after ‘lazy’ advisers accused of selling unsuitable loans, Equity release giant forced to ditch misleading ads after 'free advice' claim, Older homeowners are being failed by poor equity release advice, warns City watchdog, ‘Cocktail of dangers’ for older homeowners using equity release to help struggling families, 'Cheapest ever' equity release loans as demand for using houses like cash machines soars, The secret trick that can save retirees thousands, Age UK quits equity release after Telegraph investigation, Homeowners cash in as equity release rates fall below 5pc for first time, ‘My wife was 20 years my junior. Is equity release a bad idea? Her death left me on the verge of being homeless’, 'We thought it was organised by Age UK': customer confusion over charity's equity release tie-up, Equity release goes mainstream as first high street lender enters market, 'We paid £10k to escape our sky-high equity release rate': how to switch plans and save thousands, Sledgehammer exit penalties still lurking in many equity release plans, ‘My lender wants £161k in penalties’: the 'astonishing' rates of equity release interest. You also have the right to ask a solicitor to check all the documents before signing up to a scheme. We will look at all the financial solutions that are available to you, not just Equity Release. Equity release schemes are designed to be a lifelong commitment, so, if you change your mind, need to move house or want your equity for something else later, you could find yourself seriously restricted. Equity release is often the only method available for older people to extract funds from their property without downsizing or selling. You can choose to end your lifetime mortgage early, but this can cost you. The specific risks vary with the type of scheme you choose. As you enter later life, you may find you need additional sources of income. We’re not saying equity release is a bad idea, it’s a viable option if you need the funds, but just like any debt it needs to be manageable, and you need to … The value of your home is not included in any means test as long as you are living there – but cash in the bank certainly will be. Things you need to know about equity release. Try our calculator to find out", "See how much cash you could release from your home". In recent years, there have been a number of changes to many equity release products to provide greater Your state of health is also taken into account – being in poor health usually means getting a larger share of the value of your home. You could lose your entitlement to them. Whether or not it’s the right tactic for you will depend on your plans for your cash and your financial situation. It is possible to cut out the middle-man and set up your own equity release arrangement. Retirees gift £500m to help relatives through Covid cash crisis, Retirement plans in jeopardy: equity release could be blocked if house prices crash, Cashing in on house price boom? As with all financial situations, everything is personal making equity release a potentially good idea for some people. People considering equity release must get professional financial advice beforehand. Equity release interest charges: how much will my loan really cost me? And in the first six months of this year that rose to 31%. That’s where financial tools like equity release come into play. Look at alternative sources of income, such as downsizing or renting out a room. We are a firm of Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s). For example, borrow £20,000 aged 65 at 6.5% on a £120,000 home and live 25 … Only by considering all your available options will you know that equity release is the best one for your circumstances. Martin Lewis explains what equity release is and how it might help your finances. So, it’s not a bad thing anymore, but it might not be suitable for everyone. With a home reversion scheme, you sell all or part of your property, but with a legal right to continue living in it until you die or move into long-term care. How we can help you with your Equity Release. Your adviser can also find the best one for you from the whole of the market and set it up for you. Finding yourself house rich and cash poor? Just 13% of those who supported a client with a lifetime mortgage purchase in the last year say they presented the idea to their clients, whereas nearly two thirds (64%) said their clients came to them with the idea. Generally, the older you are when you take out the scheme, the more money you’ll get. The idea of having to do that in the days after a death, with the funeral quite rightly the top priority, beggars belief. What does it cost to set up equity release? Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. You may qualify for an enhanced lifetime mortgage if you have a serious health condition or an unhealthy habit, like smoking. To explore the possibilities of whether it’s right for you, you need to think in the long-term and much farther than a five, ten or even 15-year financial plan. The equity release industry is represented by a trade body called the Equity Release Council (ERC). Let us match you to your perfect financial adviser. Additionally, mortgage rates are at a historic low which means that Equity Release rates will also be low. This is because a lifetime mortgage (like a regular mortgage) charges compound interest. Almost 39,000 homeowners aged 55 and over used equity release to unlock housing wealth in the first half of 2018. 5. They can give you unbiased advice on whether it really is the best option for you, and find you the best deal if so. The main disadvantage of equity release is that it does not pay you the full market value for your home. Interest rates can be as low as 3.4pc and are usually fixed for the life of the loan. They must also ensure that you will never owe them more than the total sale price of your home, even if its value drops. Borrow in stages Most providers now offer a ‘no-negative-equity guarantee’, which means the debt will never be more than the sale value of the property. Equity release squares the circle, by turning all that spare equity into cash that they can spend today. Use an accredited provider An equity release provider will provide you with either a lump sum or an income in exchange for part of the value of your home. The easy solution, according to the adverts at least, is to equity release. Read our community guidelines in full. There are numerous up-front costs involved in setting up an equity release scheme, so make sure you’re clear on all of these before you proceed. Many of the mortgage advisers and financial advisers listed with Unbiased offer high quality independent equity release advice. Equity release is a way of spending your home’s value whilst you’re still living there. The amount you can borrow is usually between 18 per cent and 50 per cent of the property’s total value – typically the older you are, the more you can release. Some providers of home reversion schemes require you to be over 60. The simple answer is that it depends on your personal circumstances; all the more reason why you should take professional advice before you make a decision. The question then becomes, is equity release a good idea? This can enable you to borrow more, or to pay lower interest. Selling the house for a lump sum with a right to continue living in it is equity reversion which justifiably has had a bad press over many years with lots of horror stories. The most common form of equity release is a lifetime mortgage that isn’t paid off until you die or go into long-term care. If you choose not to pay off the interest as you go, you will have an ‘interest roll-up mortgage’. The reverse mortgage is a form of equity release that is available in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The language used by equity release firms in television adverts is inviting: "Access the value of your home, tax-free", "How much tax-free cash could you release? Am I protected when using equity release? The Equity Release Council was set up to protect people from losing out from these schemes. If you do want to leave your property, then there may be alternative ways to raise the money you require. Equity release is often the only method available for older people to extract funds from their property without downsizing or selling. Equity release is often the only method available for older people to extract funds from their property without downsizing or selling. If your home has increased in value over the years, equity release enables you to get at some of that money to supplement your retirement income – instead of leaving it all to your beneficiaries, or to cover your long-term care costs. These can make it very expensive to switch to a new, cheaper deal which leaves you a prisoner to your current provider. Equity release is a way of freeing up the money in your home without having to move. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO. You could also consider paying off the interest as you go, so it doesn't compound. Find the right adviser fast with our matching technology. Some borrowers who took out plans in the 2000s, with rates often upwards of 7pc, are now paying five-figure sums in interest charges each year. Thus begging the question, is equity release good or bad? Consider alternatives What are the risks and pitfalls of equity release? At heart, equity release is actually a clever idea. They’ll be able to give you an unbiased, no-obligation insight into equity release, and help you to see if its right for you. If you do want or need some extra money around the place and you don’t want to leave your property intact to your beneficiaries, then equity release is a good idea. Choose the right form of equity release for you and your family … Is equity release a good or bad idea? The obvious advantage of equity release is that it gives you money to spend now, rather than leaving it locked away in your home. Is equity release a good idea or safe? Is equity release a bad idea? Whether it’s a good idea or not, depends on a number of factors, so the most suitable answer is – it depends. Most lenders are members of the Equity Release Council and abide by their rules, which includes the no negative equity guarantee. Yet another is that having lots of money in your account may reduce the benefits you are entitled to, including help with the cost of care. The effect of compounding interest means that the outstanding balance owed can rise quite quickly. Just 24 product options existed in 2007. You will receive far less money than you would from selling the property on the open market – although of course in that situation you would still have to find somewhere else to live. Most equity release schemes now have a No Negative Equity Guarantee (NNEG). With a typical 4.5pc rate the debt will have doubled within 16 years. The pros and cons. EQUITY release schemes were today labelled 'the lifestyle dream that can turn into a nightmare'. Here's our guide on the pros and cons, risks and pitfalls, to help you answer the vital questions, is equity release a good idea or even safe? This means that if the worst happened and the property value dipped below the amount owed, there is no loss to the borrower as the lender absorbs this risk and will not ask the borrower or their estate to meet any shortfall. One thing to consider is: if your mum is only on state pension, releasing equity might affect any means-tested benefits, pension credit for instance. Latest news December 2020: Equity release interest rates are at their lowest ever & will be fixed for the rest of your life - LATEST OFFER 2.22% AER through Age Partnership when you use our calculator Best quote guaranteed or receive £500. What are the alternatives to equity release. In this case you will end up repaying more overall, as the interest will compound over time. This means that the advice we offer is unbiased. The home will also have to be vacated very quickly after your death, often within a month. Your equity is the total market value of your home, minus any mortgage you haven’t yet paid off. Advisers must have taken special qualifications to become equity release advisers. Then no doubt someone has already mentioned equity release to you as a way of redressing the imbalance. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Equity release won’t necessarily be a good idea for everyone, but for some people, it can be an effective way to unlock cash they have tied up in their property. It might be that the above equity-release problems don’t apply to your situation and that equity release is a viable alternative for you. selling their home privately at a discount in exchange for lifelong tenancy rights, Your other savings and/or sources of income will not be enough to meet your needs in, An independent financial adviser has told you this option is best for you, You can meet your income needs in retirement from other sources, You have the opportunity to release money from your home by downsizing, You want to preserve as much of your estate as possible for your family to inherit, An independent financial adviser has told you this option is not the best one for you. Your solicitor check over the years to equity release to you, not equity! 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