Many retirees turn to equity release plans as an easier way to raise more cash to fund their retirement years. You can speak directly to an expert prior to making a firm decision, since these plans are not always the most suitable for everyone. Here are some critical points that you can consider prior to making any decision and questions that you should ask your lifetime mortgage adviser.
Discuss the alternative ways of raising the money
An equity scheme will reduce the property’s value, with a few exceptions; hence, if you are not comfortable with this then the plan may not be the best idea for you. You may consider downsizing to a smaller property; however, many people do not like moving out of the home that they are used to, and the one they have brought up children in, for the sake of downsizing.
The reason it reduces the value is that you are taking equity out of the home and will have more to pay back in the end. It may be more than your children can pay and more than is covered by any life insurance policy. It could end up in an eventual sale of the house anyway.
Selling off items that you no longer wish to keep is one way to raise some money. It might not be a lot or enough, but it is a good place to start. For instance, do you need two cars anymore now that you and your spouse/partner are retired? Do you have other property like a second home you could sell or is it smaller so you could move there instead? Do your children wish to move back home to help out? Perhaps they have a little cash they can help fund your retirement with?
Always think of the alternatives before going with equity release.
Do you have potential state benefits?
Depending on your current circumstances, you may be a qualifier for additional state help, meaning that there is no need for you to withdraw funds from your home. As you compare the different equity release schemes in the market, the adviser will bring out some of these questions and help you make a wiser decision. The last thing you want is to lose income elsewhere.
Benefits can run out, so if you can take advantage of them now you might wish to do so. On the other hand you may find that owning a home keeps you from gaining extra benefits. If this is the case you may wish to use the equity in your home until you can no longer do so. At this point you can sell your home, pay the loan back, and then gain those additional state benefits. It just depends on what is available to you and why it might be an option.
Will you qualify for equity release?
You need to understand that not all people who own a property will qualify for an equity release mortgage, hence do the comparison research and confirm that you do qualify. For one, you must be aged 55 – 95 years and own a home worth at least £70,000 or more depending on the provider. There is a further criterion each company uses hence you must always check eligibility before submitting an application, as you do not want to be wasting hard earned money on a valuation fee.
You should be aware that the above are standards. They may not apply to each company. Some companies may stop giving out lifetime mortgages when you reach 75 meaning you need to attain it before this cut off age. Other companies may be willing to offer someone 99 years of age a helpful retirement plan. Compare the age, health options, and the value needed in your home to find a solution.
Are there equity plans that fit your needs?
There are various plans that you can explore and are provided by FCA (formerly SHIP) registered companies such as Stonehaven, Just Retirement and Aviva. Such companies have access to an equity release calculator to determine how much you can release from your home. Interest rates vary depending on the lender concerned and with some companies it can be affected by age. The property value is the key determinant as to how much as a percentage of its value you can get.
If you do not understand how equity release works, you need to first research the subject which can be undertaken online and requesting a free guide to equity release. However, if you are fully aware of what equity release entails, then go ahead and find your local equity release adviser and submit an application to enable you to enjoy your retirement lifestyle.