Equity release is a relatively new concept in the world of finance. When property prices began to soar over the last two decades, a situation arose where many people owned valuable properties, but due to rising costs of living did not have enough income to support their lifestyle during retirement. Equity release was an answer to this gap in the market.
Equity release mortgages allow you to free up some of the equity built up on your property, without the need to sell the house. It allows you to continue living in the house, but free up some of the value of the house and get it as a loan, either as a lump sum or in smaller regular installments.
The two main types of equity release mortgages are lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. A lifetime mortgage is a loan taken against the home. Interest is generated on the loan, which usually compounds and results in a debt much bigger than the original loan. However, such loans do not need to be repaid until the homeowner dies or moves into permanent care, and the house is sold.
Modern equity release mortgages have a no negative equity policy. This means that if your debt becomes larger than the sale value of the house, the negative equity does not need to be repaid and is written off by the lender. This is how lifetime mortgages are repaid. In case of a joint application, the loan is expected to be repaid only after both the applicants have either died or gone into care.
Home reversion is a way to sell a portion of the house notionally, and take the loan of that amount. The loan and interest are repaid when the house is sold. The principal amount that needs to be repaid is the same proportion borrowed of the total sale value of the house. Therefore, the amount that needs to be repaid reflects the market value when the property is sold.
When interest builds up on the principal amount, this interest is added to the principal and the next year, interest is charged on this bigger amount. This compounding interest can result in huge debts, which is one of the main risks concerning equity release mortgages. Equity release lenders now offer what are known as interest only lifetime equity release mortgages wherein unlike roll up mortgages, you only pay the interest every month and when the equity release scheme ends, the amount to be returned remains the same as the amount borrowed.
An equity release scheme works out to be the best option for many people who own a valuable property, and need additional cash but do not wish to sell the property. Equity release is fast becoming popular as a way to add to your income during retirement. Interest rates are very competitive today, and the market has some of the most flexible equity release schemes on offer. As such, this may be a good time to explore the option of an equity release loan on your property.
For those who already have an equity release scheme in place, it may still be a good idea to shop around for alternate equity release schemes for two possible reasons. One, it may be possible to get a more competitive mortgage and make significant savings by switching, and two, because you may have exhausted your existing loan and may need an additional loan.
Some lenders do offer top up loans on existing equity release plans. If you have had your existing equity release mortgage in place for more than five years, you may be eligible to apply for a top up. There are independent advisers who can give you advice on equity release top up loans, and alternate schemes.
Some equity release lenders charge early repayment penalties if you repay the loan earlier than a certain period of time. These penalties, if any, vary with each equity release scheme but may be quite high. However, more competitive terms of modern equity release schemes may mean that in spite of an ERC you could still stand to make savings by swapping your existing mortgage for a new one.
If you have had an equity release scheme and are considering shopping around for an alternate scheme, it may be advisable to seek the guidance of an independent financial expert. Independent advice is invaluable in matters such as financial loans, and many financial advisers also handle the entire process of dealing with your existing lender and setting up the new loan.
The internet has some good resources for equity release information and comparison. You can find companies that offer financial advice and information and there are equity release calculator tools available online which may help you get a rough idea of how much additional loan you are eligible to get. Online comparison sites are also useful for equity release comparison and to find the best equity release scheme available now.
Equity release is a popular way of raising money on your property without having to sell the house. There are different types of equity release mortgages, but essentially it is a loan taken against the value of the home, and is repaid when the house is sold, after the owner has died or moved into care. If you have more than one property, it may be possible to release equity on the second home as well. Buy to let equity release is now available from certain equity release lenders.
Some lenders offer equity release loans on multiple holiday homes as well as buy to let homes. Loans are usually offered only if the landlord or the landlords’ family does not rent or live in the property. Buy to let equity release rates are different from home equity release interest rates so it’s worth using an equity release calculator specially designed for buy to let equity release.
Of course, most lenders do not lend if there is an existing large mortgage on the property. The mortgage, if any, must be smaller than the equity that can be released on the property. The amount of equity that can be released on a holiday home depends on several factors, including the age of the applicant. Buy to let equity release is generally only offered if the youngest applicant is over 55 years of age. Landlords with up to 5 buy to let properties can potentially release a proportion of the equity on each property.
The amount of the loan generally varies with age. The more the age of the applicant or the age of the youngest applicant in case of joint applications, the more the proportion of equity that can be borrowed. Also, loans are generally offered in lump sums as opposed to monthly borrowing. Buy to let equity release schemes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among landlords with an extensive property portfolio, as it opens up many possibilities for them in terms of financial planning and further investment.
As with any equity release mortgages, buy to let equity release mortgages involve some setting up costs. These include professional valuation fees which are usually in proportion to the value of the property, application fees, and solicitors’ fees. In addition, if you go to an independent financial adviser, setting up costs also include any fees charged by the adviser.
Individual buy to let equity release schemes may also have additional costs such as early repayment charges. These vary with each policy and as with any financial loan, it is important to find out about all the associated costs before entering into any legally binding contract.
As property prices have risen dramatically over the past two decades, thousands of homeowners find themselves in a position where they own valuable property but require additional cash flow to support them during retirement. This has led to equity release plans becoming increasingly popular in recent times. These loans allow homeowners to continue living in their property whilst freeing up some of the value of the house in the form of a cash lump sum, or monthly payments.
There are mainly two types of equity release schemes, lifetime mortgages and home reversion mortgage. A home reversion plan is where you sell a proportion of the property in terms of value, and this loan is repaid after the house is sold. A lifetime mortgage means that you mortgage the home against the loan, and make interest payments over your lifetime. In both the loans, the balance is recovered after the house is sold. This is usually after the owner has died or moved into long term care.
As the equity release market has matured, mortgages have become more flexible in their terms. Today there is a wide variety of loans available in terms of how you repay, period of repayment etc. There are equity release comparison sites that can help you get an idea of the different types of loans on offer.
Equity release plans essentially offer loans against the property as collateral. As such, most equity release lenders require the applicant to have a valid home insurance policy on the property. This is meant to protect the property from damage due to different causes, such as fire or flooding. Home insurance in this case means buildings insurance and not just home contents insurance.
An independent financial adviser can give you objective and sound advice on equity release in general and give you information about the different equity release plans available. Too much choice can be confusing and an adviser can help you choose the right loan for you. An adviser can also provide accurate guidance on the procedure of applying for an equity release mortgage and the type of insurance you are required to get etc.
Equity release loans do not suit everyone, but could be the perfect option for many. Whether you’re looking to raise extra cash for a specific goal, or boost your regular monthly income, freeing up some of the equity in your property without selling your home could be just the option you’re looking for.