As a process, equity release is comparable to other types of mortgages. It could take up to three months from beginning the process to receiving your tax-free cash. A lifetime mortgage is by far the most popular method of releasing equity, and is designed with ease of access and flexibility in mind. With over 200 different lifetime mortgage products available, over-55s can take advantage of their home’s wealth and boost their finances in later life.
There are five key stages of the equity release application process:
1. Eligibility calculator
For many, their first step will be using a free equity release calculator to find out if they are eligible for equity release. The calculator on the right-hand side of this page can be used to tell you if you are eligible, and give you an estimate of the amount that could be released from your home. Once you have this estimate, you might have a clearer picture of the way that equity release could help you to achieve your financial goals.
The calculator will also put you in touch with our chosen equity release partner, Responsible Equity Release. They are a market leader in equity release and can provide you with a top-class advice service.
2. Speak to Responsible Equity Release’s Information Team
It is always important that you make decisions armed with the knowledge to fully understand the choice you’re making. This is why a free, no-obligation call with the Information Team is the next step on your equity release journey.
They can answer your burning questions about lifetime mortgages and help you to understand better how equity release works. If you then want to further your enquiry and receive some personalised projections, they can book you a no-obligation appointment with your local adviser.
It’s vital you spend as much time as you need to weigh up your options, which is why your call with the Information Team is a no-pressure conversation, not a sales call. They will only progress at a pace you’re comfortable with.
3. Seek expert advice to cover the options
Once you’ve decided that a lifetime mortgage is of interest to you, the Information Team can book you a no-obligation appointment with one of Responsible Equity Release’s nationwide team of advisers. At your appointment your adviser will talk you through the process, explain more about releasing equity from your home with a lifetime mortgage, and help you to decide if it’s right for you.
They will also be able to create a personalised illustration for you. This will indicate exactly how much you might owe when the lifetime mortgage needs to be repaid, once you have either died or entered permanent long-term care. The illustration will also help you to understand how releasing equity could affect your estate’s value and your entitlement to means-tested benefits.
Your adviser will also be able to give you an indication of the different features available to you and the types of interest rate that you can expect on a lifetime mortgage.
Upon choosing the right plan for your situation, your adviser will then guide you through the paperwork. Rest assured no fees are payable unless and until you complete. All products that your Responsible Equity Release adviser will recommend will come from Equity Release Council-approved lenders, so you will benefit from all the safeguards that this assures.
4. Make the application
Your adviser will be on hand to help you fill out the paperwork and make an application. With the application under way the equity release provider will instruct an appropriate independent surveyor to carry out a valuation of your property. You will also have a meeting with a solicitor of your choosing, to sign any other legal paperwork.
Typically, the completion process takes between six and twelve weeks. Once you start to approach the completion stage, your solicitor will set a formal date on which you will complete. On that date, the lender will release funds to your solicitor and they will transfer it to your nominated bank account.
- Why not try a free equity release calculator now and see how much tax-free cash you can release?
If you chose to use some of your released equity to pay for your advice fee, then your solicitor will take this before transferring to your account, paying the adviser for you. Once the funds are in your account and any secured loans on your home are cleared, you can use them to achieve your financial goals.
By taking money out of your property now, a Lifetime Mortgage may reduce the value of your estate. A Lifetime Mortgage may also affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits, but an adviser can walk you through the impact of this before you decide to proceed.
The Telegraph Equity Release Service is provided by Responsible Equity Release. Responsible Equity Release is a trading style of Responsible Life Limited. Responsible Life Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (https://register.fca.org.uk/) under reference 610205. Only if you choose to proceed and your case completes will Responsible Life Limited charge an advice fee, currently not exceeding £1,490.
The above article was created for Telegraph Financial Solutions, a member of The Telegraph Media Group. For more information on Telegraph Financial Solutions click here.
Information correct at date of publication.