Are You Seeking Equity Release Advice? Here's How to Navigate Your Options

Independent financial advisers specialising in equity release can provide personalized advice. They assess your financial situation and goals to determine if equity release suits your needs, without bias toward any specific product.
  • Last Updated: 17 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.

Contributors:

Francis Hui
Do You Need Professional Advice for Equity Release in 2024? Discover the Truth, Where to Find an Equity Release Advisor and What Questions to Ask Them. Here Is Your Comprehensive Guide.
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Key Takeaways
  • Hunt down advisers linked to the Equity Release Council for top-tier equity release guidance in the UK, and seek advice from certified financial advisers or reputable web platforms loaded with info.
  • Make sure to grasp your financial situation, home value, and goals with the equity you unlock, and use it to potentially beef up your retirement plan and enhance your retirement income.
  • Keep an eye on risks like shrinking your estate and tweaking benefit eligibility, but remember the perks: tax-free cash and staying put in your home.

Getting the right equity release advice may be the difference between financial stability and living hand-to-mouth in your retirement. 

Many UK retirees have accessed property wealth with equity release.

Could you be next in line? 

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    Our editorial team has done extensive research into the equity release market to bring you the most up-to-date information. It is always best to obtain personalised advice. 

    Here is why:

    Who Offers the Lowest Rates in 2024?

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    • Who offers the LOWEST rates available on the market.
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    Equity Release Advice Guide

    What Is Retirement Equity Release?

    Retirement equity release is a financial option that allows retirees to access their home’s equity as a lump sum or regular income without needing to sell or move out of their property.

    The two main types, lifetime mortgages and home reversions, cater to different preferences and situations.

    Whether it’s for a major purchase, financial assistance for family members, or improving living standards, retirement equity release adapts to various personal circumstances.

    How Can You Find the Best Equity Release Advice for Your Needs?

    Finding the best equity release advice for your needs involves researching reputable advisers, considering independent reviews, and ensuring they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

    How Can You Find the Best Equity Release Advice for Seniors Over 65 in the UK?

    To find the best equity release advice for those over 65 in the UK, it’s essential to first consult with an independent financial adviser who specialises in equity release.

    They can guide you on the different types of equity release schemes, such as lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans, while considering your specific circumstances.

    Remember, opting for equity release impacts your estate’s value and could decrease your eligibility for means-tested benefits.

    Secondly, it’s beneficial to involve your family in the decision-making process, as equity release affects inheritance.

    A personal and unique piece of advice we offer is to consider alternatives before choosing equity release.

    Downsizing, for instance, could be a more cost-effective solution.

    Also, it’s crucial to only deal with firms approved by the Equity Release Council, for safeguarding your interests.

    It is not just about releasing equity; it’s about a secure and comfortable retirement, which is what we all aim for.

    How Can You Find Equity Release Advice Near You?

    Finding local equity release advice near you can be as simple as searching online for advisors in your area or checking with national bodies that regulate financial advisors for recommendations.

    Many advisors offer face-to-face meetings, which can be especially beneficial for discussing complex financial matters.

    Additionally, local community centres or councils often have information on reputable advisors who specialise in equity release, ensuring you find someone nearby who can guide you through the process.

    Why Should You Consider Seeking Professional Equity Release Advice?

    Considering professional equity release advice is crucial to understand the complexities, assess the impact on inheritance, and ensure the product aligns with your financial circumstances and goals.

    Top Five Reasons Why You Should Seek Equity Release Advice

    The five reasons you should obtain equity release advice are:

    • To help you choose the best plan and provider for you from the various plans available on the market.
    • To potentially save you money.
    • To give you realistic expectations of the costs involved.
    • To ensure that you have considered all the alternatives.
    • To discover if equity release is the right option for you. 

    More detail:

    #1. There is a Diverse Range of Equity Release Products

    With hundreds of equity release plans available on the market, finding one that suits your circumstances can be daunting. 

    You will need to decide between the two main types of equity release – a home reversion plan and a lifetime mortgage. 

    Thereafter, you can choose a provider and plan that is best for you, guided by your advisor. 

    #2. The Right Equity Release Advice Can Save You Money

    An equity release advisor will ‌suggest ways to help you save money over the term of your loan.

    Now that the industry is becoming more and more competitive, some providers offer low interest rates and others waive their early repayment charges.

    This could allow you to pay off your mortgage or downsize, penalty-free. 

    Annual interest can be available from 5.38% to 6.49% (AER)*.

    *While we regularly review interest rates, these may have changed since our last update.

    Other lenders may allow you to pay interest on your loan monthly, which will reduce the amount payable at the end of the loan term.

    Whilst some of these benefits may sound like a great idea, there may be hidden financial implications that are not immediately obvious to non-advisors. 

    #3. Equity Release Can Be Expensive

    The cost of equity release can be high if you take it out too early and if you commit to the wrong plan. 

    The crux of equity release is that you borrow money, the lender charges interest, and the total amount is repaid through the sale of your property once you have passed away or moved into long-term care. 

    Borrowing money from a member of the Equity Release Council1 will protect you from this.

    Members are obligated to offer a no-negative equity guarantee, which means your debt will never be greater than the value of your home. 

    Equity release can be costly, but an equity release advisor has the knowledge to recommend additional products that will protect you and your money.  

    #4. Explore Your Options and Equity Release Alternatives

    While equity release is a viable way to unlock funds for your retirement, it is not the only way.

    An advisor will be able to present you with the different options to consider, such as downsizing or using your savings.

    Considering alternatives suggested by an advisor could help you avoid reducing your heirs’ inheritance.

    #5. Is Equity Release the Right Choice for Your Retirement Plan?

    Equity release is not always the best solution for everyone.

    An advisor will take a careful look at your family’s circumstances and your financial situation and advise accordingly.

    Why Is Independent Advice on Equity Release Essential?

    Independent advice on equity release is essential because it ensures that the guidance you receive is unbiased and tailored to your unique financial situation.

    An independent advisor can explore a wide range of equity release products from across the market, ensuring you find the best deal that fits your needs and circumstances.

    They prioritise your interests, providing peace of mind that your decision is well-informed and suited to your long-term financial health.

    Top Ten Tips for Effective Equity Release Planning

    Our top ten tips for effective equity release planning include considering alternative options, only borrowing what you need, and involving the family in your decision-making process. 

    More‌ information: 

    Explore All Your Equity Release Options

    Explore all your equity release options available to you before signing up for a plan.

    These may include:

    • Downsizing to a smaller or cheaper home.
    • Borrowing money from loved ones.
    • Tapping into your savings or investments.
    • Checking your benefit eligibility.
    • Applying for government grants.

    #1. Downsizing

    Downsizing is an option worth considering if you do not have an emotional or sentimental attachment to your home.

    Although it often means moving into a smaller house and possibly a new area, you could free up capital and still leave the house as an inheritance for your loved ones.

    #2. Borrowing Wisely

    Borrowing more money than you need could lead to you paying more interest than necessary, so always borrow wisely. 

    As tempting as it may be to have access to a lump sum of money, it is only going to accrue interest if it is not being put to use. 

    Plan what you are going to spend the money on, and only take out enough to cover the costs. 

    You could consider a drawdown equity release plan to give you access to a cash reserve. 

    The benefit of this is that interest is only charged on the amount of money you use, not on the lump sum in your reserve. 

    #3. Consider Paying the Interest

    Regularly paying the interest on your equity release loan is a great way to manage it.

    Many providers will now allow you to make partial or full interest payments monthly or annually. 

    #4. Do not Base Your Decision on Interest Rates Alone

    Although interest rates are a significant factor when deciding on an equity release plan, there are other points to consider. 

    These include:

    • Are there any early repayment penalty fees? 
    • Can you port the plan to another property?
    • Will you retain full ownership of your property?
    • Is the provider a member of the Equity Release Council?

    #5. Include Trusted Family and Friends in Your Equity Release Decision

    Equity release is a big decision— one that you will likely want to include your loved ones in. 

    You may find that your family would prefer to lend you the money than have you take out an equity release loan that could impact their future inheritance. 

    #6. Do not Skip Professional Financial Advice

    Getting professional advice from a qualified equity release advisor will ultimately protect you from signing up for something that could negatively affect your finances in the long run. 

    Advisors are there to offer their unbiased recommendations on a plan that will help you achieve your financial goals. 

    #7. Consult an Experienced Solicitor

    Providers that are members of the Equity Release Council will require you to seek independent advice from an experienced solicitor before signing on the dotted line. 

    Finding a solicitor with equity release experience will be helpful. 

    #8. Carefully Consider Your Options Before Borrowing Money to Invest

    Releasing equity from your home to invest may not always work in your favour. 

    It is always best to seek professional equity release mortgage advice before making such a move. 

    #9. Consider How Equity Release Affects Your Benefits

    Releasing equity from your home as tax-free cash could affect your means-tested benefits, now or in the future. 

    An equity release advisor will perform a full benefits analysis to ensure you are already receiving the maximum amount available and measure how borrowing may affect your current and future entitlements.

    #10. Thoroughly Research Equity Release

    Carefully research and educate yourself on the basics before embarking on your equity release journey. 

    Having an idea of the basic concepts before contacting an equity release advisor will make it seem less daunting.

    What Role Do Financial Advisors and Expert Advice Play in Your Equity Release Planning?

    Financial advisors and expert advice play a pivotal role in equity release planning by offering personalised guidance, ensuring informed decisions, and navigating the market’s complexities.

    How Important Is a Financial Advisor for Equity Release?

    A financial advisor specialising in equity release is crucial for navigating this complex decision.

    They assess your overall financial situation, considering your retirement goals, to advise whether equity release is right for you.

    Their expertise can help you understand the impact on your estate and any state benefits you receive, ensuring you make a choice that supports your future financial security.

    Finding the Right Equity Release Advisor

    A qualified equity release advisor can be found through the following channels: 

    • Equity Release Council
    • Personal Finance Society2
    • Retirement Adviser Directory3

    Where Can You Find Free Equity Release Advice?

    Free equity release advice can be found through certain charities, government-backed services, and sometimes, initial consultations with equity release advisors.

    These free services can provide you with a basic understanding of how equity release works and whether it’s a viable option for you.

    It’s a great starting point to gain valuable insights without any upfront costs, helping you decide if you want to pursue further, more detailed advice.

    Equity Release FAQs: Your Questions Answered

    Where Can You Find the Best Equity Release Advice in the UK?

    How Do You Find Reliable Equity Release Advice?

    What Must You Know Before Seeking Equity Release Advice?

    How Can Equity Release Advice Assist in Retirement Planning?

    What Risks and Benefits Are Highlighted in Equity Release Advice?

    Why Is Seeking Equity Release Advice Important?

    How Can You Ensure Your Equity Release Advisor Is Trustworthy?

    Who Is Eligible for Equity Release?

    Which Authorities Regulate Equity Release Advice?

    Can You Get Equity Release Advice for Free?

    Wrapping Up: Navigating Your Equity Release Journey

    Equity release can be a good way to unlock funds in your later life.

    However, you should also think carefully about the downsides of this type of funding.

    When getting equity release advice, be sure that your advisor is able to answer any questions that you may have before making any decisions.

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