Key Equity Release & Lifetime Mortgage Review in 2024

Are You Looking to Receive Equity Release Advice From Key Later Life Finance? Find Out the Pros, Cons, Fees, and What It Offers. Decide Here if Key Later Life Finance Is the Best for You…
  • Last Updated: 30 Jan 2024
  • Fact Checked
  • Our team recently fact checked this article for accuracy. However, things do change, so please do your own research.

Contributors:

Francis Hui

Key Takeaways

  • Key advises on equity release, serving as a broker for lifetime mortgages and retirement interest-only mortgages, among other later-life financial services.
  • Key Later Life Finance offers various retirement products and serves as a broker for them, but only offers lifetime mortgages directly.
  • Key provides advice on retirement repayment mortgages available to individuals aged 50 and above, resembling traditional mortgages but with tailored loan terms and a higher age limit.
  • Key Later Life Finance offers competitive rates for lifetime mortgages, with most customers receiving a fixed-for-life annual interest rate of between 5.20% to 6.30%* AER.
  • Key Equity Release, now Key Later Life Finance, sets eligibility for equity release at 55 years or older, with property value requirements and other conditions that must be met​​​​​​​​​​.

Did you know that some financial institutions specialise only in later-life lending options? Key Later Life Finance (previously called Key Equity Release) is one of them.

The company rebranded in 2022 to enhance retirees' understanding of the later-life lending market and it's benefits for retirement planning.1

The big question is, which equity release broker would be right for you, and do you want to consider a larger bank or an equity release specialist?

The Every Investor team aims to help readers plan their retirement by reviewing leading industry providers and brokers. This article offers insights into the options provided by Key Later Life Finance for later-life lending.

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    Every Investor presents findings to readers without relying on AI. Our articles prioritise integrity and helpfulness while employing SEO best practices to enhance discoverability.

    Before publishing our findings, our content is also audited in a three part process, including re-checking facts and other strict quality checks. We update our articles regularly to ensure the information presented is current.

    So what exactly does Key offer?

    Therefore:

    NOTEEvery Investor is an impartial and unconnected third-party information provider via this website, and the details replicated in this commentary represent the opinions of Every Investor only and may not reflect the views or opinions of Key Later Life Finance. This article must not be interpreted as advice, nor is it a solicitation to conduct transactions in any financial product provided by Key Later Life Finance.

    Who Is Key?

    Key, a prominent name in the UK equity release sector, specializes in offering equity release products to homeowners over 55.

    They provide tailored solutions, helping clients unlock the value in their homes for various financial needs.

    As industry leaders, Key stands out for their extensive experience and commitment to customer education.

    They focus on ensuring clients understand all aspects of equity release, reflecting their dedication to informed decision-making.

    What Exactly Are Equity Release Mortgages In The UK?

    Equity release is a plan for homeowners aged 55 and above to access their property's value without selling.

    It's a way to release funds tied up in your home, offering financial flexibility in retirement.

    The unique aspect of equity release is its loan repayment structure.

    The amount borrowed, along with interest, is repaid from the property's sale, typically after the homeowner's death or when they move into care.

    Learn More: Equity Release Mortgages In The UK

    Does Key Advise on Equity Release and Lifetime Mortgages?

    Yes, Key does advise on equity release. 

    The Key Group is a financial services company that provides products and services for the later-life lending market. 

    As such, it also serves as an equity release broker and offers advice on equity release mortgage products, including lifetime mortgages and retirement interest-only mortgages (RIOs).

    What Are Key Later Life Finance's Product Offerings?

    Key Later Life Finance offers a range of retirement products, such as equity release, mortgages, wills, lasting powers of attorney (LPAs), and estate planning.

    Although it advises on and serves as a broker for a wide range of products, Key does not offer all of these products themselves. 

    With regards to equity release, the only products it offers are lifetime mortgages.

    Alternative Retirement Financial Solutions by Key

    Apart from advising on and offering certain equity release products, Key also offers other retirement financial solutions such as advice on retirement mortgages and estate planning services. 

    A closer look:

    Retirement Mortgages

    Key provides advice on retirement repayment mortgages, which are available to individuals aged 50 and above.2

    This is like a traditional mortgage where interest and capital are repaid monthly, except that the loan term is tailored to your individual needs and typically has a higher age limit.

    Estate Planning Services

    You may think that “estate planning” and having a will are the same, but they are not. 

    Key provides comprehensive estate planning services to assist you in defining the security of your assets. Drafting a will is just one component of this multifaceted process. 

    Other estate planning services offered are:

    • Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): This allows you to delegate the power to manage your affairs to someone else in case you become unable to do so.
    • Trusts: Setting up a trust within your will ensures that your estate will be managed the way you want it after you pass away, with assets being distributed to specific people at specified times. Trusts protect beneficiaries of a will against things like divorce settlements and bankruptcy; they can also mitigate inheritance tax liability and provide for disabled or otherwise impaired beneficiaries.3
    • Living wills: This document allows you to specify what care you want in a life-or-death situation. For instance, you can detail whether you would like to receive life-sustaining treatments.

    Expert Guidance on Key Later Life Finance's Range of Products

    The certified advisors are ready to assist you in making informed decisions about equity release and other later-life financial solutions.

    Professional Advice on Equity Release Options

    With several different equity release products available on the market, an advisor will help you consider all aspects of your personal situation to decide which, if any, of these products will best serve your needs. 

    Each product comes with inherent benefits and risks, and the advisors at Key Later Life Finance are experts in helping you weigh them up to choose the product and service that will ensure you are looked after in later life.

    Exploring Alternative Financial Solutions

    Part of considering equity release is looking at alternative ways to secure later-life finance.

    An advisor will help you do this and may suggest that you consider downsizing, help you find out if there are any state benefits you are eligible to claim, consider whether you have got any other assets you can sell to fund your later-life needs, and more.

    Customised Recommendations Based on Client Needs

    Each person's (or couple’s) situation is unique, and what works in some circumstances will not work in others. 

    Key advisors are cognisant of this. They will evaluate your financial circumstances, take into account your health and future financial goals, and guide you in making decisions that align with your best interests.

    Key Equity Release Advice Costs

    Apart from paying interest on equity release loans, other fees are also involved.

    The details:

    Key Equity Release Interest Rates

    Based on the latest data from Key4, it may be possible to access an annual interest rate from 5.20% to 6.30% AER* on a lifetime mortgage, fixed for life. 

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

    Key Equity Release Fees

    The average fee for obtaining equity release with Key totals approximately £1,850. However, application costs can differ.5

    If Key brokers your deal with another provider, the provider could waive some fees.

    The following fees are typical with equity release applications:

    • Surveyor’s valuation: This is the fee you pay to have your home valued by an independent surveyor. The value of your home will dictate how much equity you can release, if any. This fee is usually paid together with your equity release application fee.
    • Solicitor’s fee: Once you have agreed on a product with your financial advisor, the solicitor will carry out all legal paperwork on your behalf and check that everything is in order. You will typically pay the solicitor once you receive the cash from your equity release loan.
    • Lender’s application fee: This fee covers the costs incurred by your chosen provider to set up the equity release loan. You will typically pay this fee once your equity release plan begins.
    • Advice fee: You only pay an advice fee to Key once you decide to take out a lifetime mortgage with them.

    What Is Key Later Life Finance’s Commitment to Customer Satisfaction?

    Key confirms it's commitment to serving it's customers with excellence and integrity in various ways.

    More information:

    Transparent and Fair Practices

    Key Later Life Finance communicates clearly and transparently with customers at every stage of the equity release process, from initial consultations to the completion of the loan. 

    It ensures that customers fully understand the Terms and Conditions of the loan, including but not limited to:

    • Cost implications
    • Tax implications
    • How changes in your house value may affect your plan
    • What the implications are if you wish to move to another property, and how it wll work
    • Any potential risks associated with equity release

    In partnership with MorganAsh in 2022, Key developed a tool that makes it easier for advisors to assess potential customers' vulnerability. This enables them to effectively tailor solutions where customers are protected while meeting their individual needs.6

    This is especially significant with the current cost-of-living crisis and Key's finding that divorced women use equity release three times more than men.7

    Award-Winning Customer Service

    The advisors at Key Later Life Finance provide exceptional service to customers. 

    The company and it's qualified advisors have been voted for over eighty industry awards, including:8

    • Best Later Life Broker by the Financial Reporter in 2022
    • Best Equity Release Adviser by the Personal Finance Awards in 2022
    • Best Equity Release Broker by Money Age in 2021

    Key Equity Release Reviews

    Key Equity Release has received an impressive score on Trustpilot,8 which is testimony to the quality of service and products it offers.

    Of the few customers who have submitted grievances on Trustpilot, examples of complaints include a lack of clarity concerning the reasons for property valuations and a lengthy application process.9

    Positive Customer Testimonials

    Thousands of customers have written positive testimonials confirming that Key offers excellent products and services. 

    Impressive start-to-finish experiences with expert case managers, quick turnaround times, and clear explanations of their products and services are just some examples of the reasons customers have said they like working with Key.10

    Key Equity Release Complaints

    If you are unhappy with your experience, the most straightforward approach to making a complaint is following the instructions provided on their website.

    Key is concerned about clients' needs and will refer you to the appropriate department.

    Alternatively, you can submit a review on sites like Trustpilot11 or Feefo12, and it will swiftly contact you to assist.

    Is Key Equity Release Safe and Regulated?

    Yes, Key equity release products are safe and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Equity Release Council (ERC). 

    So:

    Is Key Authorised and Regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?

    Yes, Key is authorised and regulated in the UK by the FCA, and it's reference number is 224987 which can be confirmed on the FCA’s website.13

    The FCA is a regulatory body overseeing financial services companies to ensure they operate fairly and transparently.

    The FCA's regulation of Key Later Life Finance has far-reaching implications, subjecting them to rigorous rules and regulations governing their business practices, all aimed at safeguarding customers.

    These regulations encompass clear and transparent communication with customers, fair pricing practices, and proper handling of customer complaints and disputes.

    Considering the Consumer Duty regulation recently implemented by the FCA14, there will be more scrutiny of financial institutions to ensure they do not exploit vulnerable customers. 

    As previously mentioned, Key has proactively responded to this challenge with it's innovative tool that enables advisors to precisely and consistently assess customer vulnerability.

    Is Key a Member of the Equity Release Council (ERC)?

    Yes, Key is also a member of the ERC. You can confirm this on the ERC’s website.

    The Equity Release Council is a trade body for the equity release industry, which sets standards and guidelines15 for member companies to follow.

    The Council's standards include measures like a no-negative-equity guarantee16, which ensures that borrowers will never owe more than the value of their property, even if the property's value falls below the loan amount.

    Pros and Cons of Equity Release with Key Later Life Finance

    Releasing equity with Key Later Life Finance has some unique advantages and disadvantages.

    Therefore:

    Advantages of Key Later Life Finance's Range of Products and Services

    There are a few distinct advantages when you obtain equity release with Key.

    For example:

    • It has been offering equity release for over twenty years and could possibly be regarded as one of the best equity release companies in the UK. While it has experience, it is essential to assess if it's offerings match your individual needs.
    • Key’s equity release products can offer you some of the industry’s most affordable interest rates. However, it is essential to compare these rates with other providers to ensure your are obtaining the best deal.

    Further advantages worth noting are:

    • The money you secure through equity release is tax-free. However, what you do with the money once you have it may result in a tax liability, so consult your advisor.
    • A lifetime mortgage allows you to retain home ownership and allows you to move subject to the lender’s criteria.
    • Equity release plans for providers registered with the ERC include a no-negative equity guarantee so that your loan total will never exceed the value of your home.

    Potential Drawbacks or Limitations to Consider

    The drawbacks of equity release should always be compared to the advantages. 

    Some drawbacks to equity release applying particularly to Key:

    • Unlike other providers, Key does not waive fees related to it's equity release products. The only instance where fees may be waived is when it acts as your broker and the product provider opts not to charge advice fees.
    • Although Key is required to provide impartial financial advice when you engage it's services and will broker a deal with a different provider if it's products do not suit your needs, it currently only offers lifetime mortgages when it comes to equity release. Home reversion plans are not an available option.

    Other disadvantages of equity release include:

    • Equity Release can be a considerably high-cost form of borrowing if interest accrues due to compounding. However, all new plans allow you to make repayments to control the interest accrual.17
    • Once you have taken out an equity release plan, it is not possible to secure any additional borrowing using your home as collateral.
    • You may want to discuss the equity release option with your loved ones as it has the potential to impact the inheritance you intend to pass on.

    Is There an Available Key Equity Release Calculator?

    Yes, Key’s website features an equity release calculator you can access here.

    Where Is Key Later Life Finance Located?

    Areas Serviced

    Key remotely serves customers all over the UK, although some areas may have exceptions.

    It is best to consult them directly to confirm if their services are offered in your area.

    Branches

    Key does not have branches, and it's head office is in Preston, England. Its advisors are located all over the UK.

    Key Equity Release Address (Head Office)

    Baines House, 4, Midgery Court, Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 9ZH, United Kingdom

    Contact Key

    You can contact someone at Key using the following information:

    Email Address

    info@krgroup.co.uk

    Customer Support Services

    The fastest way to obtain customer support is by phoning Key between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday on 0800 2943 144.

    Common Questions

    How Long Has Key Equity Release Been in Operation?

    What Types of Equity Release Products Does Key Equity Release Advise On?

    What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Equity Release with Key?

    Can I Still Live In My Home If I Release Equity with Key Equity Release?

    What Happens to My Property When I Release Equity with Key?

    How Can I Use the Funds Released through Key Equity Release?

    What Fees or Costs Are Involved with Equity Release through Key?

    How Does Key Equity Release Ensure Customer Satisfaction?

    Can I Move House after Taking Out an Equity Release Plan with Key Equity Release?

    In Conclusion

    Key Later Life Finance is one of the leading providers of later-life finance products and services, including equity release products and advice, in the UK.

    If you are in the market for equity release, Key offers competitive rates and flexible options for lifetime mortgages. However, remember it does not offer home reversion plans.

    With regulation by the FCA and ERC, you can trust Key (formerly Key Equity Release) to act impartially and in your best interests, even if that involves collaborating with another provider or advising against equity release.

    The features mentioned and the amounts raised, are subject to the lender’s criteria, terms and conditions. These may take into account age, health, and lifestyle factors to provide an enhanced amount.

    The features mentioned and the amounts raised, are subject to the lender’s criteria, terms and conditions. These may take into account the age, health and lifestyle factors in order to provide an enhanced amount. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

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