StepChange Equity Release: What to Know in 2024?

StepChange provides free, impartial advice on equity release, focusing on ensuring individuals understand their options, the potential impacts on finances and inheritance, and how to choose a plan responsibly. Their unique offering is a comprehensive debt advice service, incorporating equity release as one of many solutions.
  • Last Updated: 17 May 2024
  • Fact Checked Fact Checked
  • Our team recently fact checked this article for accuracy. However, things do change, so please do your own research.

Contributors:

Francis Hui
What Is StepChange and How Does It Work? Learn About StepChange's Equity Release Advice, Its Pros and Cons and Why You Should Consider It.
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Key Takeaways
  • StepChange doesn’t offer equity release but instead specialises in free debt advice and offers financial strategies for the over-55s, recommending exploring debt management or even bankruptcy before considering equity release.
  • Focused on debt relief, StepChange provides alternatives to using home equity, as well as insights into safer financial solutions to manage financial woes.
  • StepChange advocates for exploring all financial avenues, urging considering budget tweaks or government help before opting for equity release, and guiding informed decisions for older adults.

If you are retired or nearing 55, you could be in a position where you need more capital to see you through your retirement years. You can access this by receiving equity release advice from StepChange

Having a wide variety of plans to compare means you will more easily be able to select an equity release product to suit your particular needs, but the fact that there are now many leading options to choose from can make the whole process daunting.

At Every Investor, our research team has spent countless hours reviewing equity release information and putting it all together in an easy-to-use format.

In This Article, You Will Discover:

    Our trusted team has carefully looked into the advice and services offered by StepChange, so you can make an informed decision. 

    Therefore:

    Who Offers the Lowest Rates in 2024?

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    Request a FREE call back & discover:

    • Who offers the LOWEST rates available on the market.
    • Who offers the HIGHEST release amount.
    • If you qualify for equity release.
    StepChange Equity Release Advice

    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 StepChange Debt Charity. This article must not be interpreted as advice, nor is it a solicitation to conduct transactions in any financial product provided by StepChange Debt Charity.

    What Is Equity Release, and How Does StepChange Assist?

    Equity release allows homeowners to access their property’s value, and StepChange assists by providing advice and support to understand the implications and make informed decisions.

    While StepChange itself does not directly provide these financial products, its subsidiary, StepChange Financial Solutions, specialises in offering expert advice to help homeowners explore their equity release options.

    What Is StepChange and Its Role in Equity Release?

    StepChange Debt Charity is a UK-based organisation that provides debt advisory services, including guidance and support in equity release, and helps individuals navigate the process and make financially sound decisions.

    For equity release advice, its subsidiary, StepChange Financial Solutions, plays a crucial role, although it does not directly offer equity release products but guides homeowners through the process.1

    StepChange Debt Charity was previously known as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS). 2

    StepChange’s operations are funded by donations from various stakeholders, including banks, loan providers, and the government.3

    How Does Step Change Equity Release Work?

    StepChange Equity Release works by offering advice and solutions to homeowners looking to access the equity in their homes, providing a financial lifeline or supplementing retirement income.

    The process is straightforward but requires careful consideration.

    What Equity Release Services Does StepChange Offer?

    StepChange offers a wide selection of financial and debt management services linked to equity release, which include equity release and mortgage advice that guides homeowners through the process of safely accessing their property’s equity for financial relief, or alternative financial planning.

    These include, but are not limited to:

    • Debt management planning.
    • Bankruptcy advice.
    • Equity release advice.
    • Mortgage advice.
    • Debt arrangement schemes.
    • Minimal asset process.
    • Individual voluntary arrangements.
    • Debt relief orders.

    Why Should You Consider StepChange for Your Equity Release Needs?

    You should consider StepChange for equity release needs due to their expert advice, support in making informed decisions, and commitment to financial wellbeing.

    Why Consider StepChange for Your Equity Release Advice?

    Consider StepChange for equity release advice for their comprehensive guidance, commitment to ethical practices, and focus on securing the best outcomes for your financial health.

    StepChange’s equity release advice arm, StepChange Financial Solutions, is also an award-winning equity release advisor, having won Best Broker for Equity Release at the 2022 Mortgage Strategy awards.4

    StepChange also:

    • Shares knowledge of debt management at no cost.
    • Provides advice about other mortgages.
    • Seeks to encourage debt counselling solutions.
    • Actively works towards helping people gain control over their finances.

    What Are the Comprehensive Financial Solutions Provided by StepChange for Equity Release Clients?

    StepChange provides comprehensive financial solutions for equity release clients, including personalised advice, debt management, and planning services to optimise financial security and freedom.

    They take a holistic approach to your finances, ensuring every aspect of your financial health is addressed, giving you peace of mind as you navigate your retirement years.

    Does StepChange Offer Equity Release and Lifetime Mortgages?

    StepChange does not offer equity release and lifetime mortgages directly, but the organisation is one of the independent equity release advisers operating in the UK.

    StepChange provides equity release advice through StepChange Financial Solutions, its subsidiary that sources products from the whole market.5

    What Mortgage Assistance Does StepChange Offer for Managing Equity Release?

    StepChange offers tailored mortgage assistance advice, particularly through StepChange Financial Solutions, guiding homeowners on managing or restructuring mortgages as part of equity release planning.

    StepChange offers tailored mortgage assistance, guiding you through the complexities of managing or restructuring your existing mortgage as part of your equity release plan.

    They provide personalised advice to ensure your mortgage aligns with your financial goals, making the transition smoother and more manageable.

    What Features and Fees Can You Expect With Advice on Equity Release Schemes From StepChange?

    With StepChange, expect transparent advice on equity release schemes featuring clear explanations of terms, fees, and potential impacts, ensuring fully informed financial decisions.

    Although StepChange does not offer equity release schemes directly, its advisory services help you understand typical features, interest rates, and fees associated with these financial products.

    They provide information on a range of schemes available in the market, ensuring you are well informed about:

    StepChange’s Equity Release Schemes Advice

    StepChange advises on equity release schemes including interest-only lifetime mortgages, lifetime mortgages, and home reversion plans independently sourced from the market.

    StepChange’s Equity Release Scheme Features Advice

    StepChange’s equity release scheme features advice includes information about the features you would usually find in an equity release plan.

    More details:

    Interest-Only Lifetime Mortgage

    The interest-only lifetime mortgage advice from StepChange includes mention of a possible fixed interest rate for the plan’s duration.

    More features:

    • This product may allow for a fixed interest rate for the plan’s duration. This means you are not vulnerable to interest rate fluctuations.
    • Depending on your option, you may be able to retain some of your property equity.
    • A pre-approved flexible borrowing facility is an option you can explore.
    • You can switch to a lifetime mortgage if you struggle to make the monthly interest repayments.

    Lifetime Mortgage

    A lifetime mortgage includes features such as the fact that the loan amount and interest are usually payable on the sale of your home and the fact that plans are customisable.6

    More features:

    • Interest and the loan balance are payable when the home is sold.
    • You can customise your plan and repayments based on your needs and lifestyle choices.
    • You get a no negative equity guarantee, which ensures you are never left in a situation where you owe more than your home is worth.
    • Drawdown options allow you to withdraw future funds as and when needed.

    Home Reversion Plan

    A home reversion plan will allow you to receive more funds the older you are.7

    More features:

    • You could receive anything between 35% to 60% of the full market value for the portion of the house that is sold.
    • You will stand to benefit from property value increases if you do not sell all your equity in one go.
    • By selling a fixed percentage of your home, you protect your inheritance.

    What Are the Fees for StepChange Equity Release Advice?

    StepChange does not charge fees for advisory services; however, you will need to pay fees for any equity release plan you arrange through the organisation’s equity release partnership.

    Some of the applicable fees are:

    • Valuation fees
    • Legal fees
    • Application fees

    Equity release fees normally amount to between £1,500 and £3,000*.

    *While we regularly review our fee information, this may have changed since our last update.

    How Effective Are StepChange’s Equity Release Calculators and Customer Support?

    StepChange’s equity release calculator and customer support efficiently guide clients through their equity release journey.

    Does StepChange Have An Equity Release Calculator?

    Yes, StepChange has an equity release calculator. 

    This will help you estimate how much capital you can unlock from your property.

    The estimate is based on factors such as age, property value, and outstanding mortgage amount, if applicable. 

    If you want to use our simple equity release calculator for an approximation, you can try it to obtain the best deals.

    How to Utilize Advisory Tools from StepChange for Planning Your Retirement?

    Among the valuable resources offered by StepChange for those considering their retirement options is an advisory tool designed to help you understand the potential of equity release.

    While not directly offering an equity release calculator, StepChange can guide you through the process of evaluating how much equity you could potentially release from your home using available tools in the market.

    Here’s how you can make use of such tools, with StepChange’s guidance:

    How to Contact StepChange for Equity Release Queries?

    • +44 808 1686 719
    • info@stepchange.org
    • StepChange Debt Charity, 123, Albion Street, Leeds, LS2 8ER.

    What Are the Pros and Cons of Using StepChange for Equity Release?

    Using StepChange for equity release offers informed advice and solutions but requires careful consideration of service specifics and fees.

    What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using StepChange?

    The advantages of using StepChange include that it offers free, independent advice on equity release. The disadvantages of any equity release plan include the fact that you will reduce your inheritance by releasing equity.

    More information:

    StepChange Pros

    The pros of StepChange include that its advisers are independent, and that it is an award-winning charity.

    More information:

    • StepChange offers free advice.
    • It’s qualified advisors provide independent and impartial advice.
    • With years of experience in the equity release industry, it is a reputable service provider that you can trust.
    • It is an award-winning entity and won “Best Broker for Equity Release” at the 2022 Mortgage Strategy Awards.

    StepChange Cons

    The cons of Step Change are the same as the cons of taking out equity release using any advisor i.e., your eligibility for means-tested benefits could be affected by equity release, and you could face early repayment charges should you settle your loan.

    More information:

    • Equity release can reduce the value of the inheritance you leave behind.
    • You could face early repayment charges if you settle your mortgage early.
    • Your home could be repossessed if you do not make your monthly repayments on an interest-only mortgage.
    • Equity release could affect your eligibility for means-tested benefits. 

    StepChange Advisory Services Reviews: What Do Customers Say?

    StepChange, known for its comprehensive debt advice and financial guidance, receives a range of feedback from those who have sought their help.

    Reviews online present a mix of experiences, reflecting the diverse needs and outcomes of individuals seeking assistance.

    StepChange Complaints

    If you want to complain about StepChange, you can do so in several ways, such as by emailing the organisation.

    You can use the following channels to complain:

    • Via email – Send an email to customerrelations@stepchange.org
    • Phone – 0800 138 1111
    • In writing – Address a letter to:
      StepChange Debt Charity, 123, Albion Street, Leeds, LS2 8ER.

    Once your complaint has been received, you will receive an acknowledgment within five working days.

    A final response to your complaint will follow within four weeks from receipt thereof.

    How Does StepChange Compare to Other Equity Release Providers in the UK?

    StepChange stands out for its commitment to transparent, client-focused services.

    Unlike some providers, they emphasize personalized advice and tailor their solutions to your unique needs.

    Their reputation for ethical practices and comprehensive support places them among the top choices for equity release in the UK.

    StepChange FCA Details and Equity Release Authorization

    StepChange is authorised by the FCA, ensuring their equity release services meet strict regulatory standards for client protection.

    Trading Names: 

    Step Change is currently trading as:

    • StepChange Voluntary Arrangements
    • Foundation for Credit Counselling
    • StepChange
    • StepChange Debt Charity
    • StepChange Debt Charity Scotland
    • StepChange Debt Remedy
    • StepChange Money Aware
    • StepChange NI
    • StepChange Northern Ireland
    • StepChange VA
    • StepChange Wales
    • www.stepchange.org

    FCA Permitted Services:

    • Insurance
    • Investment and other related services 

    Regulators: 

    • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)8

    Registration Numbers

    • FCA Ref Number: 517674
    • Companies House Number: 06741879

    FCA and Companies House Link

    Common Questions

    What Is StepChange's Role in Equity Release Advice in the UK?

    How Does StepChange's Advice on Equity Release Work?

    What Are the Costs Involved Around StepChange's Services?

    What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of StepChange?

    Who Owns StepChange and How Does It Impact Equity Release Services?

    Are There Career Opportunities at StepChange?

    Does StepChange Offer Equity Release?

    Is StepChange Equity Release Advice Reliable for Homeowners?

    Concluding Thoughts on Consulting with StepChange

    Considering advice from StepChange Financial Solutions represents a beneficial step for homeowners looking to navigate their equity release options wisely.

    As a regulated advisor, it ensures your financial well-being, emphasizing that while StepChange does not directly offer equity release products, its expert advisory services are crucial in making informed decisions.

    As a regulated advisor in the equity release domain, StepChange ensures that your financial well-being is prioritized, offering peace of mind that your interests are safeguarded.

    Exploring the equity release guidance provided by StepChange might reveal an appropriate financial strategy for your needs.

    Alternatively, discussing your options with a personal financial advisor can also help you make an informed decision.

    With StepChange Financial Solutions, you gain access to impartial, expert advice tailored to help you make informed decisions about equity release, ensuring your financial needs and goals are met with the utmost care and consideration.

    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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