An equity release is a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration. A lifetime mortgage reduces the value of your estate, will not be suitable for everyone, and may affect your entitlement to state benefits.
Lifetime mortgages are a popular means for homeowners over 55 to unlock some of the value in their homes. Thousands of people in the UK already choose this method to supplement their retirement income.
A lifetime mortgage is a way of borrowing a set amount of money against the value of your home, in the form of a long-term loan, and without the need to move. You continue to own your own home, for the duration of the plan, and as long as you are living in it - you'll also be responsible for keeping your home in good repair. The loan is paid back using the proceeds from the eventual sale of your property. This is usually when you die or have moved into permanent long-term care.
The money released can be used for whatever you wish (so long as any outstanding mortgage has been paid off). You should be aware that taking out a lifetime mortgage could reduce your eligibility to means-tested benefits and could affect your tax position.
Also, as the interest is added to the loan, there may be no value left in your home at the end of the plan. Taking out a lifetime mortgage may also reduce the options that you have for moving or selling your home. You should talk to your financial advisor and/or solicitor about this if you're at all unsure.
Before you think about equity release, you should also consider your other options. Moving to a smaller property or one of a lower value will give you the maximum value from your home. You may also have other savings and assets that could help fund your retirement.
Equity Release Schemes may affect your eligibility to means tested benefits. Equity release products involve borrowing against or selling all or part of your home. There may be more suitable methods of raising the funds you need.
Equity release schemes may work out more expensive in the long term than downsizing to a smaller property.