When considering Equity Release, one of the most crucial steps is determining whether both you and your property are viable for application. In this blog we discuss some key points of consideration.
1. Value of the property.
The value of the property is one of the two major factors of Equity Release. The amount you can borrow is based directly on the value of your property and your age on application. It is important to have a reasonable estimate of how much your property can be worth, and it may be worth requesting a local estate agent to give an estimate themselves. As part of the Equity Release process, a professional valuation of the property will be required. This is usually covered by the Lender and performed by one of the valuers on their panels.
2. Age of the Property Owner(s):
The age of the property owner(s) is the second major factor when considering Equity Release. All Equity release products have a minimum age requirement of 55 years. The older you are, the more equity you will be able to release, this will also affect the interest rates offered by the Lender.
More recently, a new hybrid product has been launched, allowing applicants as young as 50 to release Equity from their property.
3. Property Type and Condition:
The type and condition of your property are vital factors in determining its eligibility for equity release. Generally, most types of properties, including houses, flats, and bungalows, can be considered. Depending on whether the property is a Freehold or Leasehold, additional information may be required, and this could lengthen the time it takes for a completion date to be set.
The condition of the property also matters, as the Valuer will note any issues with the property, such as damages, clutter, and some considerations such as flat roof or single skin walls. Whether your property is in a flood area is also something that will be considered, and some Lenders are reluctant to lend in a high flood risk area. Minor repairs and maintenance may be necessary before proceeding with equity release.
4. Property Location:
The location of the property is important in regard to the Valuation. Some Lenders will not consider a property if there is a busy business adjacent or nearby, as it could affect their future saleability. Similarly, if a property is in an area with a high flood risk, some lenders may be reluctant to consider the property.
5. Outstanding Mortgage and Debt:
If you have an existing mortgage or outstanding debt secured against your property, it will impact your ability to proceed with Equity Release. The outstanding balance of the current mortgage or debt will have to be paid off using the funds raised by way of Equity Release, as the Equity Release Mortgage must be the first and only charge on the property. In some situations, this is ideal, as the intention is to pay off a current mortgage nearing the end of its term, or switch to a mortgage with a lower interest rate. An Equity Release Adviser, such as ourselves at Later Life Money, can assist you in navigating these challenges.
6. Future Considerations:
Consider how equity release might affect the estate of your property in future. Equity Release will allow you to raise funds and stay in the home, but making payments to service the interest, or possibly more, is purely optional. Should no payments be made, the interest will roll up and be added to the outstanding loan, which will eat into the Equity of your estate. Whether you choose to make payments or not, the remaining balance will need to be paid off by the sale of your property in the event of your passing or moving into long term permanent health care. This could affect any planned inheritance and could lower the amount you may use for future care-home fees, in the event you needed to move into one. These are considerations that must be considered and we recommend and encourage discussion with any beneficiaries of your will and close family members.
7. Eligible Equity Release Products:
There are a variety of Equity Release products on the market, and each has its own eligibility and criteria regarding clients and property considerations. Both Home Reversions and Lifetime Mortgages also have their own rules and processes that must be followed. We at Later Life Money can guide you through all possible options and help you choose the best product for your needs.
Before embarking on the equity release journey, thoroughly assessing your suitability is crucial. Consulting with an experienced equity release adviser will provide you with the insight and guidance you need to make an informed decision. We at Later Life Money specialise in providing Equity Release Advice and would be happy to assist you with your equity release journey.
By understanding the key considerations outlined in this blog post, you can confidently determine whether your home is ready for equity release and take the next steps toward unlocking the potential of your property's equity.