What is Equity Release?
Equity release mortgage schemes provide a method for releasing the cash equity (Un-mortgaged value) that has built up in your property. The term ‘equity’ means the value of your property that is not subject to a mortgage. Homeowners over the age of 55 can use the equity in their home to release cash that can be used for any purpose.
Common reasons for releasing cash equity include:
- Providing a cash lump sum or regular monthly income during retirement.
- Providing a method for taking early retirement.
- Raising cash to pay for a family wedding.
- Funding the holiday of a lifetime.
If you own your own home, with or without a mortgage and are over 55, then having the ability to raise cash by releasing equity in the form of a tax-free cash lump sum or an income for life, can provide you with an answer to your financial needs. Lenders considering your eligibility look at two main factors.
The first is your age and in nearly all situations, you must be over 55 years of age (Remortgages are available to people under the age of 55). The second is the value of your property, combined with the amount of any mortgage that is secured. Given these factors an offer of how much equity is available to you is calculated.
Generally, as you become older you can release a higher percentage of the value of your home, and this is based upon you not being expected to live as long. Although this maybe a sombre thought, in practice it is exactly what is considered by scheme providers.
What are the benefits of an equity release scheme?
The advantages of equity release.
- Having the ability to raise tax free cash for any purpose.
- Raising a cash lump sum or regular monthly income.
- You can make life decisions that are not based upon money.
The disadvantages of equity release.
- Reducing the amount that you can pass on when you die.
- Equity release schemes tend to be extremely complex and require the assistance of a specialist equity release expert to guide you.
The different types of equity release plans.
There are generally two main types of equity release plans available.
The first are know as Lifetime Mortgages.
Lifetime mortgages are a loan facility provided where a lender lends you a percentage of the value of your property and charges you interest, and the loan plus the interest being repaid at the time of you or your partner’s death.
This type of mortgage does not require you to make monthly mortgage repayments and there is no set term, the contract states that your loan, plus interest and charges are repaid upon death.
The second type is known as Home Reversion Schemes.
Home reversion schemes involve you in selling a percentage of the value of your home in exchange for a tax free lump sum or a regular monthly income.
It operates on the basis that you remain in your home until you die or decide to sell, maybe as part of a down sizing exercise. Home reversion plans dictate that you remain the primary owner of the property and are responsible for all upkeep and ongoing maintenance at all times.
The repayment of this type of scheme is made, either upon death or the sale of the property. At this time, the lender will take their percentage of the sale price as contracted, which will include an equal percentage increase in the value of the property since the date of the agreement.
Where to get the Best Equity Release Mortgage Advice?
There are many equity release scheme providers in the UK. Talking to an equity release mortgage expert is a must for anyone considering this as an option for raising cash.