No Early Repayment Charges on Equity Release: Could It Be Possible?

Early repayment charges are calculated based on the initial loan amount and may decrease over time. We see these as deterrents to early repayment.
  • Last Updated: 16 May 2024
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  • Our team recently fact checked this article for accuracy. However, things do change, so please do your own research.

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Francis Hui
What Happens if You Want to Repay Your Equity Release Loan Early? Is It Possible to Repay Equity Release Without Early Repayment Charges? Read On…
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Key Takeaways…

  • Early repayment fees are what lenders charge if you repay your equity release loan ahead of schedule, and these charges are usually a percentage of the amount you repay early.
  • Fees are often applied if you repay more than the agreed amount within the initial five to ten years of the loan, adding a significant cost and making early repayment more expensive.
  • Selecting a plan without early repayment charges or sticking to the lender’s terms can avoid these fees.

Have you ever wondered whether equity release with no early repayment charges could be more than a hopeful homeowner’s pipe dream?

When going through the different equity release stages, it is important to consider whether repaying your equity release early is something that is important to you.

The good news is that repaying your equity release loans with no early repayment charge could indeed be possible!

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    The team at Every Investor has dedicated extensive hours to provide you with the answers. 

    Therefore…

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    Potential for No Early Repayment Charges

    What Is Home Equity Release In The UK?

    Equity release, available to homeowners over 55 in the UK, turns property equity into accessible cash without the need to sell.

    It is a financial strategy for supplementing income or funding life goals.

    By choosing to release equity from their house in the UK, the homeowner receives funds against their property, with repayment deferred until the home is sold, either in their lifetime or from their estate.

    What Are The Early Repayment Charges On Equity Release In The UK?

    Early repayment charges (ERCs) on equity release in the UK can fluctuate substantially, commonly ranging between 5% to 25% of the initial loan amount.

    Their determination is based on a myriad of factors such as the type of plan chosen, the interest rate at the time of release, and the lender’s specific terms and conditions.

    These charges act as a form of financial deterrent for those considering repaying their equity release loan ahead of it’s due date.

    However, it is important to note that some equity release plans in the UK offer ‘no negative equity guarantees’.

    This means if the sale of your property does not cover the loan, your estate will not be liable for the difference.

    Additionally, some plans may have ‘downsizing protection’, allowing early repayment without penalty if you decide to move to a smaller property.

    Can You Repay an Equity Release Loan Early?

    Yes, you can pay off an equity release loan early, and there are various ways this can be done based on industry standards set by the Equity Release Council (ERC).1 

    However

    Early repayment charges (ERCs) may apply depending on the stipulations of your equity release agreement. 

    What Is A Typical Equity Release Early Repayment Charge?

    A typical equity release early repayment charge can range from 5% to 25% of the amount being repaid early. 

    The precise amount depends on factors such as the lender’s terms, the type of equity release plan, and the duration of the loan. 

    It is essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of your equity release agreement to understand the charges you may face if you decide to repay your loan early.

    Fixed vs. Variable Early Repayment Charges

    Whether you pay fixed or variable early repayment charges will depend on what your original equity release agreement says. 

    Fixed early repayment charges remain constant throughout the loan term, providing certainty and predictability. 

    In contrast, variable early repayment charges fluctuate based on market conditions or a predetermined formula. 

    Take care

    Whilst variable charges may sometimes be lower than fixed ones, they can also increase significantly, leading to higher costs in the long term.

    Equity Release With Fixed Early Repayment Charges

    Equity release with fixed repayment charges refers to a plan where the ERCs are calculated as a predetermined percentage of the amount of capital being repaid. 

    You will discover how your fixed ERCs are structured in your Mortgage Offer2 or Key Facts Illustration.3

    Equity Release With Variable Early Repayment Charges

    Variable ERCs are based on the long-term interest rates linked to the FTSE gilt yield index.4

    Your Mortgage Offer includes a benchmark interest rate, which will be slightly higher than the index was when your mortgage was initiated.

    How does all this work?

    Basically, if the gilt yield is the same or higher than the benchmark interest rate, you will not pay any early repayment charges.

    You will, however, be liable for ERCs if the index is lower than your benchmark interest rate.

    Which Lenders Offer Fixed Early Repayment Charges?

    Various lenders offer fixed early repayment charges, including Aviva, Legal & General, and More2Life. 

    These lenders are committed to adhering to the Equity Release Council’s standards, ensuring compliance with FCA requirements. 

    Whilst they offer predictability and stability regarding repayment costs, it is crucial to thoroughly compare interest rates, features, and other fees to determine the best option for your unique financial situation. 

    Remember to review their terms and conditions, including regulatory statements and risk warnings, to understand how fixed ERCs are calculated and how much you could be charged if you decide to repay the loan early.

    Which Lenders Offer Variable Early Repayment Charges?

    Lenders such as Hodge Lifetime, Pure Retirement, and Just offer variable early repayment charges on their equity release plans. 

    Whilst these plans can provide lower initial charges, it is essential to understand the factors that could cause the charges to increase and assess the potential risks and benefits involved.

    You should review the terms of the loan agreement carefully to understand how variable ERCs are calculated and how much you could be charged if you decide to repay the loan early.

    Can I Obtain Equity Release With Low Early Repayment Charges?

    Yes, you can obtain equity release with low early repayment charges. 

    To do so, you must shop around and compare various lenders and products. 

    Some providers may offer reduced charges or more flexible repayment terms, but these options may come with higher interest rates or other trade-offs.

    How Can You Avoid Early Repayment Charges On Equity Release?

    To avoid early repayment charges on equity release, you could consider several different strategies.

    These strategies include…

    • Selecting a plan with low or no charges
    • Opting for a drawdown lifetime mortgage with a reserve facility
    • Considering alternatives to equity release, such as downsizing or borrowing from family members 
    • Making voluntary overpayments 
    • Opting for downsizing protection
    • Benefitting from the significant life event exemption

    A closer look at some of these options…

    Voluntary Overpayments

    Many equity release products will allow you to make voluntary overpayments to reduce the effects of compound interest or the overall debt owed.

    The Equity Release Council’s fifth product standard5, introduced in 2022, also allows borrowers to make penalty-free partial repayments, meaning you can repay the interest or a portion of the capital every month without incurring any costs.

    Downsizing Protection

    Downsizing protection is another feature of many modern equity release plans that allows you to repay your loan without incurring early repayment fees if you sell your home and downsize to a smaller property.

    For example, if you downsize to a property that does not meet your lender’s criteria, five or more years after taking out your equity release plan, in that case, your lender will allow you to repay your equity release loan from the proceeds of the sale without demanding ERCs.

    Significant Life Event Exemption

    A significant life event exemption allows you to repay your equity release mortgage without incurring early repayment fees in the wake of a major change, such as the death of a spouse or a move to a care home.

    Example

    Mr. and Mrs. Brown have had a joint equity release plan on their family home for twelve years, when Mrs. Brown suffers a stroke and needs to move to a long-term care facility.

    Mr Brown does not want to stay in the home without his wife and opts to sell their property and move in with the couple’s daughter.

    In this case, the Browns will not be liable for early repayment charges, thanks to their equity release plan’s significant life event exemption. 

    * This is for indicative purposes only.

    Common Questions

    What Are Early Repayment Charges on Equity Release?

    How Are Early Repayment Charges Calculated in Equity Release?

    Can I Avoid Early Repayment Charges on Equity Release?

    What Impact Do Early Repayment Charges Have on Equity Release?

    When Do Early Repayment Charges Apply in Equity Release?

    Can I Repay My Parents’ Equity Release?

    Why Would You Repay Equity Release Early?

    How Do I Repay a Lifetime Mortgage Early?

    With Which Lenders Can You Repay Equity Release Early?

    Is It Worth Paying Early Repayment Charges?

    Are Lifetime Mortgage Early Repayment Charges the Same as With Equity Release?

    What Is the Aviva Equity Release Early Repayment Charge?

    In Conclusion

    Early repayment charges on equity release loans can be a significant financial burden. 

    However, you can potentially minimise or avoid these charges by understanding the differences between fixed and variable charges, researching various lenders and their offerings, and considering alternative strategies. 

    Always consult a professional financial adviser to ensure you make the best decision for your circumstances.

    By exploring available options for repaying your equity release loan early and following guidelines to avoid significant penalties, achieving equity release with no early repayment charges is feasible.

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