By Mark Rumney on December 18th, 2013
During 13 years of giving equity release advice, one of the first questions I ask new clients is whether they receive any means tested benefits or not. It’s a crucial part of the advice process as a professional adviser needs to check what impact, if any, equity release might have on vital state benefits that they receive.
It’s also really important to find out the exact income of every client to check for potential means tested benefit entitlement. I’ve interviewed equity release clients who didn’t even realise their entitlement and thereafter have subsequently made a successful claim which has led to extra available income.
How do I check to see if I’m eligible for benefits?
I would strongly recommend anyone who is about to retire, or is already retired, call the pension credit Freephone number to check for eligibility on 0800 991234 to get their situation individually assessed. You can also click on the attached link: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator to check your eligibility online.
Similarly, you should also call your local council tax benefit enquiry helpline number to check for council tax benefit. The telephone number will be on your last annual statement. Usually, if you qualify for pension credit you should also be able to get a reduction of some or all of your council tax benefit.
As a part of my recommendation process, I would fully assess your financial situation which would also include reviewing your means tested benefits during our meetings. As the initial consultation is free, I place no financial burden on you, so use my experience to the maximum & see if there are further entitlements you could claim.
Qualification rules and how much benefit can I receive?
The earliest age you can qualify for pension credit was aged 60, but this is gradually increasing to age 66 from 2020. For tax year 2013/2014 pension credit should be available if a single person’s income is less than £145.40 per week, or £222.05 for a married couple. Your savings can also impact your eligibility for pension credit and council tax benefit but the relevant agencies do ignore the first £10,000 of savings that you hold. Savings between £10,000 and £16,000 can still mean that you receive some benefits but savings in excess of £16,000 normally mean you’re not entitled to any benefits.
From age 65 you may also be entitled to savings credit of up to £18.06 for single person and £22.89 for a married couple. You might be eligible for this as long as your income is less than £190 per week for a single person or £279 per week for a married couple.
Will I lose my benefits if I take a release of equity?
With advice from a skilled adviser at Equity Release Supermarket, you shouldn’t normally lose any benefits. If you’re already receiving means tested benefits and you’re thinking of equity release it’s best to have your situation analysed by finding a qualified equity release adviser. I also suggest that you contact the pension credit and council tax benefit helplines to discuss your situation. However, the rule of thumb is that if after releasing equity your savings are less than £10,000 your benefits shouldn’t be affected. Equity Release can be carefully planned to ensure that this this remains the case.
Let’s look at recent clients I’ve met and provided lifetime mortgage advice to:
Brian was aged 65 and his home was worth £200,000. He wanted to release equity of £20,000 to buy a new car and bathroom but he was in receipt of pension credit and council tax benefit. As Brian was spending the money straight away there wasn’t any changes to his benefits, as he only kept his existing savings of £5,000 in the bank. He released £20,000 on the Aviva Lifestyle Flexi Plan and also had another £23,500 available in the reserve facility we created by recommending a drawdown equity release lifetime mortgage. Again, this money in his reserve doesn’t impact his benefits as it falls below the £10,000 limit imposed. He can thereafter take small amounts of at least £2,000 whenever it’s needed. This will mean that his savings are still kept below £10,000 and therefore not affect his benefits.
Terry & Margaret were both aged 67 and their home was worth £180,000. When they retired 2 years ago, Terry received a tax free lump sum from his pension which paid for a new car, a conservatory and they had a couple of holidays, but were left with less than £2,000 in the bank. They were in receipt of pension credit and council tax benefit. They could manage on their income but wanted funds to pay for a new kitchen costing £5,000 and wanted money for holidays over the next 10 years. Although they could release over a one off lump sum of around £50,000 from various equity release providers this would have proved catastrophic as they would have lost their entitlement to their much needed benefits. This is where careful planning by an equity release adviser can help. Instead they took out a drawdown lifetime mortgage with an initial loan of £10,000 to pay for their kitchen and for 2 holidays. They were also able to set up a reserve of capital of £41,000 with New Life and will be able to release regular withdrawals of at least £5,000 to fund their future holidays. This doesn’t have any affect on their benefits.
Additional lenders offering drawdown equity release schemes are Hodge Lifetime whom allow further withdrawals of £1,000, with Just Retirement, LV= and Aviva having a minimum of £2,000 cash reserve withdrawal limit.
Please remember that state benefits rules can change at any time. Special rules apply to making gifts with equity release. The benefit figures above relate to tax year 2013/14 & maybe subject to change.
How do I get more information on equity release and state benefits?
Whenever you consider equity release it’s important to get a fully authorised equity release adviser to carefully check your situation regarding means tested benefits, as well as checking overall suitability of the schemes.
Here at Equity Release Supermarket, we’re able to help you with this during our meetings. We do not charge for your initial consultation which can be conducted either in the comfort of your own home or over the telephone, to suit.
Please feel free to contact myself if you have any queries on equity release schemes and how they could affect your state benefits. My name is Mark Rumney & can be contacted on mobile 07957 974826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mike Vicary on October 24th, 2013
A new and rather unusual expression has recently emerged which is the term – ‘silver splitters’. It hasn’t made the Oxford Concise Dictionary yet, but I suspect it’s just a matter of time!
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the year 2011 reveal that 8% of all men divorcing in the UK were aged 60 and over. The equivalent figure for women aged 60 and over was 5%. Compare this to 2001 when these figures were 4.6% and 2.6% respectively.
While overall figures for divorce have been falling, divorce amongst the retired and elderly have been increasing significantly, resulting in financially strained circumstances for many at a time when they should be enjoying life.
This increase in the number of silver splitters appears to be the result of the ‘baby boomer’ generation reaching retirement, experiencing the empty nest syndrome with children departed, looking at each other and deciding that they have little in common. Matters take their course and separation is followed by divorce.
Next follows the murky area known to the legal profession as ‘ancillary relief’ which is quite separate from the divorce itself (or ) and is concerned with the financial settlement between the parties. In the absence of an amicable agreement the family court can dictate how the assets in the marriage are shared out, and that includes the matrimonial home irrespective of whose name is on the deeds.
This is where help from equity release can come into play to facilitate the financing of any payment between the divorced parties and to alleviate the prospect of poverty and homelessness for either ex-spouse.
Silver Splitters Case Study
Let us take an example. A couple, both aged 65, jointly own a property valued at £300,000 and they have paid off their mortgage. They decide to divorce but the wife wishes to remain in the family home and as the split is amicable the husband is willing to accommodate her wishes, but in exchange for a cash payment. By applying for a lifetime mortgage at the age of 65 the wife can raise up to 30% of the value of the home, i.e. £90,000. The property is transferred into her sole name and simultaneously the lifetime mortgage proceeds of £90,000 are paid over to the husband.
This leaves the husband with £90,000 cash which he can use as a deposit on a property for himself. Being 65 he can also raise a 30% lifetime mortgage on his new home and this enables him to buy a property for say £128,500 (i.e. cash £90,000=70% and lifetime mortgage 30%=£38,500).
Alternatively, if both parties in my example agreed to sell the matrimonial home and split the proceeds equally then prospects look brighter. With say £150,000 each as a deposit and with a 30% contribution from a lifetime mortgage, my divorced couple would each be looking to buy new homes in the region of £214,000. (These examples do not take fees into account but these would be roughly £1,800 for both parties, plus moving costs).
The husband and wife could have two options on the types of equity release schemes available. They could elect to make no further payments to make for life and opt for the roll-up lifetime mortgage which would see the balance increasing yearly.
Alternatively, they can apply to take out an interest only lifetime mortgage and repay the monthly interest which would render the lifetime mortgage balance the same throughout. This is ideal should they be considering leaving a fixed inheritance for their beneficiaries.
How is the equity release mortgage repaid?
Dependent on which type of lifetime mortgage is selected, the final balance is usually upon repayment of the loan and any accrued interest takes place on death, entry into residential care or earlier sale of the property.
And the option to avoid monthly interest payments could be very attractive to divorced ex-spouses on reduced pension incomes. This is maybe the reason why the roll-up equity release types are the most popular?
Equity release is increasingly being used to fund divorce settlements, either by the parties themselves or by concerned parents. If you find yourself in a similar situation in experiencing divorce in retirement and need financial advice on how to separate the matrimonial home then please contact Mike Vicary of Equity Release Supermarket on 07795 195302.
All discussions will be kept in strictest confidence and any initial consultation will be FREE of charge. I look forward to speaking with you.
m: 07795 195302
By Marcelle Tuckley on October 20th, 2013
With an ever increasing ageing population, more and more retired homeowners find that their properties are becoming too big to live in. In conjunction with this another significant financial burden is the ever increasing energy costs associated with heating larger properties.
This could mean that they make a choice whether to ‘eat or heat’. An old cliché yes, but a very apt and true one.
Specialist housing, or retirement apartments have been around for more than 30 years and just 1% of over 60’s are estimated to live in these types of properties. For most, moving to a retirement property can ease the pressure of excessive bills, plus give a new lease of life and community spirit.
For others though, a retirement apartment could be seen as not being financially prudent or comes with some uncertainty for a number of reasons:
- Location: Specialist retirement apartments may be more expensive than the value of your own home.
- Service charges: These are payable annually, and in line with inflation, they tend to be an increasing sum.
- Pension income: May suddenly be reduced upon the demise of an occupier.
If you already live in a retirement apartment, you may have the concern that with increasing costs and service charges, you may not be able to maintain your cost of living, and have the worry of potentially needing to sell.
Did you know however, that there could be a solution?
As an Equity Release Specialist, I have over the last 12 years been able to provide homeowners with an alternate way of being able to purchase a retirement apartment or to raise funds to cover on-going costs and services if you already reside in one.
Firstly, if you are looking to purchase a retirement apartment, by releasing equity, you could raise the shortfall between the sale of your current home and the purchase price of your proposed new property. The equity release could be raised on your new property and would complete at the same time as your sale and purchase. The equity release application could also be on a roll-up, or even interest only lifetime mortgage basis to fit in with one’s inheritance requirements, or household budget.
Secondly, if you are already residing in a retirement apartment, you could have the option of releasing equity to cover your annual service charges. This could be by way of a lump sum lifetime mortgage which additionally has the option of a cash drawdown facility. This would particularly suit those looking to take annual withdrawals to supplement their income & cover the costs of maintaining residence in their retirement home. The drawdown facilities with many equity release schemes can allow as little as £1000 withdrawals at a time to suit those not wishing to withdraw too much.
Case study 1
Mr & Mrs F lived in the West Midlands, but had always dreamed of retiring to the coast and live out their remaining years in the peace and tranquility of a property with a sea view. Their 3 bedroom house was worth £175,000.00 and they wanted to downsize. Mr F was not in particularly good health and he wanted to make sure that Mrs F didn’t have the financial worry or burden that their large home would have if he pre-deceased her. Downsizing though didn’t necessarily mean down-pricing. The purchase price of their dream apartment by the sea was £200,000.00, meaning a shortfall of £25,000.00 plus the associated moving costs.
By giving Mr & Mrs F full impartial equity release advice and recommendation, I was able to offer them a Lifetime Mortgage lump sum through a specialist interest only lifetime mortgage lender for £35,000.00. This allowed them to cover both the £25,000.00 shortfall to facilitate the purchase, plus £10,000.00 for moving costs. Overall, this not only assisted with the purchase of their retirement apartment by the sea, but also enabled them to live there in financial comfort.
Case study 2
Mrs S was already living in her retirement apartment when there was the untimely demise of her husband. Now just in receipt of her own pension, Mrs S was concerned that she would not be able to cover the on-going living expenses.
The service charges amounted to £2,704.00 per annum (£52.00 per week) and being on a reduced pension, Mrs S would struggle to maintain her standard of living plus pay her normal household expenses. Being a specialist in equity release, I was able to advise Mrs S of her options, including a full benefits check.
Mrs S was just over the threshold for benefits, therefore I could look at the option of a drawdown lifetime mortgage. Mrs S released an initial amount of £10,800.00 to cover four years’ service charges, leaving her with a remaining cash reserve of £21,600.00. The drawdown facility allowed Mrs S to release sufficient funds each year thereafter to pay her service charges on an annual basis.
How Equity Release Supermarket can help…
Over the years, I have helped many clients in the same or similar situation and have such pride in doing the job I love and being able to assist purchasers and homeowners alike. Being independent lifetime mortgage advisers Equity Release Supermarket have vast experience in assisting its clients with retirement apartment purchases or releasing equity on them.
In addition we have access to the best equity release deals including cashback, free valuations and specially reduced interest rates. We always offer a free initial consultation, to see whether we can assist the over 55′s with retirement mortgages and financial help.
If you would like more information on how these equity release plans work, please contact Marcelle on 07971 468460. Alternatively, email email@example.com
By Mark Rumney on October 18th, 2013
When meeting new clients who are interested in releasing equity from their home, I’m often asked whether equity release companies will accept leasehold properties. The answer is more often than not…yes, however with certain caveats.
Around 2 million properties are currently owned on a leasehold basis in the UK. These leases are often originally set to 99 years or 999 years from the date the lease was set up. Older properties in the UK tend to have leases arranged to expire in 999 years, whilst new builds or retirement developments are usually shorter and can be typically around 99 years+. Typically flats tend to be leasehold, as freehold flats do incur issues with ownership, particularly when there is more than one floor.
Equity release providers usually require a minimum of 75 unexpired lease years in order to qualify for an equity release scheme. Just Retirement and more2life insist on a minimum of 75 years. Likewise LV= and Aviva equity release like to see 80 years left on a lease while Hodge prefer 90 years of unexpired lease years.
For properties built with a 999 years lease, these don’t usually cause any problems at all as they are unlikely to expire within one’s lifetime! However, for properties arranged on a 99 year lease, it may mean that the lease has reduced below 75 years depending on when the property was built. For equity release purposes this is where problems can arise as if the remaining leasehold term is below the lenders minimum then action needs to be taken.
In this instance, there are two possibilities: -
- It may be possible for you to buy the freehold. Further good news is that the cost of acquiring the freehold can be paid for from the proceeds of the equity release application.
- Extend the lease for a term of 90 years on top of the unexpired term of the existing lease.
Both the aforementioned solutions will not only enable meeting the criteria for the equity release companies, but also will invariably add value to your property. Basically, as the term of a lease reduces, it can have an impact on the property value and can be especially significant with expensive leaseholds in London.
The legal paperwork necessary to either extend or buy the lease is relatively straightforward and is done by the same solicitor who is acting on behalf of the equity release client. Ashford’s solicitors specialise in leasehold extensions and freehold purchase. They are one of the former members of ERSA (Equity Release Solicitors Alliance).
Peter Barton, a partner at Ashfords said “I have seen over recent years an increase in the number of clients using equity release to extend their lease. Whilst the process may appear daunting we at Ashfords can take you through the process at the same time as dealing with the equity release, and it can be timed to complete at the same time.”
Additionally Peter Barton of Ashfords advises the following -
“We would always recommend speaking with your Landlord/Managing Agent to ascertain their costs in extending the lease. If those costs seem excessive it is always worthwhile speaking with any neighbours who may have extended their lease to see if they were charged the same, alternatively there are websites that contain calculators to give you an estimate of Landlord costs for extending the lease. We have found those very useful and have saved clients many thousands of pounds by enabling clients to negotiate with their Landlords.”
Leasehold properties can present a challenge with regards to applying for an equity release mortgage, however upon inspection of the deeds including the lease document can unravel the exact lease criteria. Additionally, by checking the lease can also clarify any unusual rules in relation to retirement properties or sheltered accommodation. These could include such clauses such as a sinking fund, where the freeholder can make provision for improvements or repairs, or even age restrictions on who can live there.
Other issues that leaseholders are obliged to pay for, & can be too prohibitive to some equity release companies, are the service charges. These are often paid for via maintenance charges and are usually determined by the freeholder or their agent who can decide the work that needs to be done, who will does it and the ultimate cost. All these issues should be investigated beforehand, so that if issues do exist they can be resolved as part of the equity release process.
For any questions about leasehold properties or to check your eligibility for equity release, please contact Mark Rumney at Equity Release Supermarket on 07957 974826. Mark can also be emailed directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Barry Adnams on October 14th, 2013
During my 10 years as a Lifetime Mortgage specialist I have come across a plethora of reasons to make genuine use of equity release schemes. There are the most obvious and popular reasons such as remortgaging and debt repayment; but there are also some that aren’t so obvious.
Equity Release Case Study #1
One that springs to mind is a case whereby I helped an individual back in 2007. This was a 74 year old male who lived in South Cheshire. The situation was terribly sad, but not without hope and possible happiness on the horizon.
His only child had been his son, who had unfortunately died a few years previous in a car crash. To compound matters further he had sadly lost his wife within the last 6 months of our meeting. Their greatest pleasure when they were together, was to go on cruises around the Mediterranean and Caribbean which they could fund from their regular income.
Following on from these unfortunate events, he re-evaluated his retirement plans with a positive outlook. He therefore decided that his life would now be split between 6 months at home and 6 months cruising, and it was now just a case of being able to finance his revised situation.
He decided he would like to raise a total of £150,000 by releasing equity after calculating that figure would cover his costs for the next 10 years.
I therefore arranged a flexible drawdown lifetime mortgage, with just an initial £15,000 and a large enough cash reserve facility that he could then draw upon, as and when required. This suited him perfectly and for a couple of years at least, I got postcards from around the world. The drawdown lifetime mortgage plan was his ideal plan and met his requirements not only now, but also into the future when further cruises and retirement expenses would be required.
That’s what we, at Equity Release Supermarket call an aspirational equity release case. That is one that helps someone to attain their goals in life and we are only too happy to help advise on such cases.
The other side of the coin is a needs based equity release case. This is where there is an urgent need to raise equity in order to stave off potential severe financial repercussions such as mortgage repayment, insolvency or even bankruptcy.
Equity Release Case Study #2
From my experience, such a case was with a 68 year old lady in North Derbyshire who had accumulated personal loans and credit card debts amounting to over £80,000. The strange part was that these were from gambling regularly on the Canadian Lottery of all things. Her family had contacted us to see if we could help which indeed we could. However, in order not to fall into a similar trap, I advised the family to remove or better still destroy her credit cards.
In circumstances like this, equity release schemes can act as an almost immediate relief from stress and worry and several times over the years I have had a letter from the client’s family. This provided me with personal satisfaction as they were thanking me for my considerate actions and telling me how not only does the client feel and look better, but I may have also added another few years to his life expectancy.
Being an lifetime mortgage adviser can sometimes transform people’s lives for the better and is one of the many reasons that I feel so passionately about the equity release marketplace I work in.
These are just two case studies whereby I have been able to assist retirees with their financial issues in retirement. Have it be known they are two relatively extreme cases, but I use them to show the diversity of reasons for using lifetime mortgages.
The reason I have been exclusively involved with equity release schemes for the last 8 or 9 years and intend to stay so until I retire, is because of the instant reaction to either attain the wherewithal to achieve ones goals, or to remove the stress and strains of financial problems in retirement.
About the author
Barry Adnams is the author of this article. Barry is one of the most experienced equity release advisers at Equity Release Supermarket, having previously worked as an adviser & manager at NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Release.
Having worked with RBS Equity Release in 2005, Barry has much experience in dealing with retirees financial situations and is fully aware as to the importance that a release of equity can be. Barry endeavours to meet all his clients face-to-face, if not only for a cup of tea! Dealing with his many clients this way enables Barry to discuss both the pros and cons of equity release and is always open to family members being present at such meetings.
If you wish to discuss anything in relation to Barry’s articles or any general questions about lifetime mortgage or home reversion plans, then please contact Barry Adnams at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07989 281108 for a free initial consultation.
Alternatively, Barry can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
To evidence the quality of Barry’s advice & feedback from his clients please check his testimonials on the Feefo link on the homepage (bottom right corner).
By Chris Chance on September 30th, 2013
We often read comments in newspapers, or see reports on TV, that before taking equity release you should always consider your alternatives, as there maybe financial solutions that have not been previously considered. One of these which has created much debate recently is the possibility of downsizing.
This article by Chris Chance – adviser with Equity Release Supermarket, discusses the advantages of downsizing and how equity release schemes can still have an important role to play in such situations.
What is downsizing?
The practice of downsizing, effectively means selling one property at a higher value than the one you wish to move into. Therefore, the equity generated from the price differential can be used to support you financially during retirement. This is usually the main reason for people deciding against taking equity release.
Downsizing is fine in principle, and it is one of the options Equity Release Supermarket advisers always discuss with clients. However, for economic and personal reasons, the idea of downsizing can be impractical.
Equity Release Case Study – How downsizing works in principle
Take for example Peter and Clare, both aged 73 and living in their semi-detached house worth £275,000 which they’ve owned for over 30 years. They are settled in the area, their family and friends are local to them and they feel comfortable and safe in their current surroundings.
Unfortunately, they still have a mortgage of £100,000 and the lender has informed them they will need to repay this by the time they reach the age of 75. Like many people in their situation, they do not have the money set aside to do so. Their family are in no position to help as they too are struggling to keep their own heads above water!
So what are their options?
- They could sell up, pay off the mortgage and look for another lower valued property. After taking into consideration the costs of moving this would mean considering properties around £165,000. Unfortunately, there are no properties of this value nearby, as even smaller properties locally that would still cost them in the region of £200,000.
- Consider a remortgage with another lender. This would involve switching their £100,000 mortgage to another lender. However, most high street banks & building societies will not allow borrowing beyond the age of 70, or even 75.
The only option it would seem is to have to move further away, to an area they would not feel comfortable with, and considering this would be their last ever move, it must be the right decision as happiness during retirement is key. This situation leads to anxiety and stress for the couple as their network of friends and family would no longer be around them and they would be moving to an unknown location which may turn out to be both undesirable and unpopular.
Therefore, only option 1 is feasible, but there is still the issue that the property would not be entirely suitable for their requirements moving forward.
Revised Case Study – The maths of upsizing
Let’s revisit option 1 again, as there is some good news for those that wish to downsize.
Equity release schemes can actually allow you to ‘up-size’ when moving house by using the equity release tax free cash to help fund the purchase of the new property. This would mean Peter & Clare still purchasing of a lower valued house. However, by using a new equity release plan in conjunction with the purchase, they can now attain property values of around £200,000+, which they needed to stay near to where they currently live.
Taking Peter & Clare’s example again. The couple are both aged 73. Using the Equity Release Supermarket calculator, they could borrow upto £78,000 on a property worth £200000, on a roll-up lifetime mortgage basis.
This would enable them to purchase the £200,000 property; by using £165,000 of their own equity, plus the difference coming from an equity release plan. In fact given the equity release calculation figures they could go even higher if they wished to do so, or even use some of the surplus to have a small emergency fund for the future which is missing at the moment.
Now Peter & Clare have come to terms with the downsizing, the couple can now consider fine tuning their equity release solutions.
In fact, they could consider a lender allowing interest payments – commonly known as an interest only lifetime mortgage provided by companies such as Stonehaven. These off-set the effect of the rolled up interest, but unlike their existing mortgage which comes to an end in two years’ time, a scheme such as Stonehaven’s Interest Select Plan would be open-ended and therefore run for the rest of their life.
In some cases, depending on their state of health, Peter & Clare may be eligible for more money if they could take advantage of enhanced lifetime mortgage rates offered by some lenders. These enhanced lifetime mortgage schemes can lend more than any standard lifetime mortgage & give that extra amount making all the difference.
So as a solution, what does this up-sizing option offer: -
- The opportunity for the couple to repay their existing mortgage in full
- To move to a location near to their current property, ensuring that they can maintain the support of family and friends
- To continue to live in a safe environment with familiar surroundings including local amenities which have become increasingly important to them, such as their doctor and local hospital along with good transport links and shop
- To purchase a property which they’re happy with rather than taking on a property ‘because they have no choice’
To down-size is an option which may be suitable to some, but like all decisions taken it needs careful consideration. This is where specialist equity release advice can make all the difference to retirees making such important financial decisions in retirement.
Having an alternative in the form of equity release scheme or interest only lifetime mortgage may enable them to make a decision based on a more practical solution and providing clients ‘peace of mind’, something which is not commonly advised upon in the news.
Equity Release Supermarket has experienced advisers who have dealt with such situations & can therefore make all the difference to people over 55 & in retirement.
The author of this article is Chris Chance of Equity Release Supermarket.
If you wish to ask, or discuss anything with regards to his article with Chris, please call him on 07917 703539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Chris Chance on August 6th, 2013
Before committing to hours of research & requesting numerous quotes on equity release schemes, first you should establish whether you can even qualify for a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan.
In this article, Chris Chance an equity release specialist with Equity Release Supermarket discusses what lenders are looking for when accepting the over 55’s onto their equity release mortgages.
As much as recent press articles have shown, there is a rapidly growing interest in Equity Release.
There are now further signs that this is being taken ever more seriously by policymakers faced with the consequences of an ageing population and increased financial difficulties being encountered by pensioners.
Recently a House of Lords committee highlighted the need for property-owning pensioners to unlock wealth in their home rather than try to push costs onto future generations, often including their own children.
The report concluded that ‘It is reasonable to expect those who have benefited from the property boom to support their own longer lives. We suggest that one way to address the current imbalance would be for older people to consider unlocking their house wealth.’
So who is eligible for a Roll-Up Equity Release Plan?
Unlike most lending products such as mortgages or personal loans, borrowing on equity release is not determined by your income, but by two main criteria. These are your age and your property.
Your age and circumstances
- You must be aged over 55
- You must be a homeowner and the property is your main residence
- You must live in the UK.
Your age determines the percentage of the property value a lender will provide for you. For example, at the age of 65 with a property value of £175,000, you could expect a release around 30% of the property value – £52,500.
However, In some cases where a client has had a history of poor health, enhanced lifetime mortgage lenders such as Aviva, Partnership, more2life & recently Just Retirement will consider providing a higher amount, subject to further medical information.
By asking a series of health questions relating to your medical history, these enhanced equity release providers can judge how much more you could be entitled to depending on the severity of your health.
Therefore in the scenario above, a male aged 65 with a property value of £175,000 could now potentially raise upto 46% of the property value equating to £80,500. A substantially greater amount of £18,000 has been released by just taking advantage of one’s poor health!
The property itself
All lenders will insist on a valuation being carried out on the property. This valuation determines whether the lender will provide the funding required. The valuation is based on similar property sales in the area and one that could expect a reasonably quick sale. This is always the ‘unknown’ as property value is subjective, however using sites such as Zoopla may help as a guide, but not the bible!
So why is a valuation necessary?
- The equity release lender needs to know that the property is worth at least £70,000
- They needs to consider other factors which may include;
- Construction type. Is the property built of brick with a tiled roof?
- Is it a house or is it a flat?
- Is it freehold or leasehold, and if leasehold, how many years are left on the lease?
- Is it a listed building?
- Does it have any agricultural ties?
- Is it next to or above retail premises?
- More importantly now – Is it in a high flood risk area?
- Has the property suffered subsidence or been underpinned?
*There are cases where one client is under the age of 55 but their partner is over this age, and there are lenders who will consider holiday homes for the source of lending but these require further advice and information
About the author
The author of this article is Chris Chance who is an equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket.
Having worked in the Equity Release market since 2001, Chris is aware of what an important decision taking releasing equity can be. As an ‘old fashioned’ adviser he prefers to undertake home visits, where there is the opportunity to openly discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of the variety of products available with prospective clients and their family members .
If you want to benefit from the experience Chris has to offer and understand how equity release works further, then please contact Chris Chance at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07917703539 for a free initial consultation.
Alternatively please email email@example.com.
To see what Chris’s clients have to say about him check his excellent testimonials on the Feefo link on the homepage (bottom right corner).
By Mark Gregory on July 31st, 2013
Equity Release Supermarket can today announce the launch of the new Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan.
Only available through a selected number of intermediaries, the plan aims to provide a solution to the crisis surrounding the repayment of interest only mortgages.
Many articles have been written highlighting the plight of 2.6 million interest only mortgage holders who have no repayment strategy in place at the end of their mortgage term. Today marks the equity release industries response to this crisis.
On 1st August 2013, Hodge is launching its alternative interest only lifetime mortgage solution called the Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan.
Reasons for the Hodge’s launch
Hodge Lifetime has identified the growing crisis in people approaching retirement with interest only mortgages and no exit strategy. There have been many reasons for this situation such as poorly performing endowments, pension plans, ISA’s or simply that no repayment plan was ever in force.
The question for interest only mortgagors is how are they ever going to repay the mortgage balance?
Equity Release Supermarket is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries by people looking for an emergency repayment route from their existing mortgage provider. Where once lenders were willing to extend the mortgage term, under new FCA guidelines there is now a reluctance to extend the mortgage term, leaving repayment as the only option.
The options available to repay this debt include downsizing property, remortgage to an equity release scheme, transfer to another interest only mortgage, or cash in any available investments. Each of these can present their own set of problems.
For those looking to downsize is the ability to sell the property within the timescales provided by the mortgage lender. Equity release schemes may present limitations as to how much they can lend as they are based on a loan-to-value ratio. Depending on age, a conventional mortgage may not be available as they will not usually lend beyond age 75. Investments may not be available if used for income, or even present at all.
How The Hodge Retirement Mortgage Plan Can Help
Hodge Lifetime is launching a mortgage product to compare to the Halifax Retirement Home Plan which proved immensely popular until its withdrawal in August 2011.
Similar in concept, it enables people between the ages of 55-70 to remortgage their properties for any purpose. The amount borrowed is based on income multiples rather than a loan-to value ratio, as with equity release schemes.
Monthly payments of interest are then made to the lender until age 80, effectively maintaining a level mortgage balance. At that point a decision can be made as to whether you wish to continue with the payments for life, or cease & allow the interest to roll-up thereafter. The latter option would result in the mortgage balance thereafter increasing for the duration of the term.
The Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage is eventually repaid upon death, or sale of the property.
By using affordability as the basis for lending criteria means people on good retirement incomes can borrow upto 50% of the property value with Hodge, subject to income. Compare this to the current interest only lifetime mortgage lender – Stonehaven, who would only lend a maximum of 19% at age 55.
Therefore, on a property valuation of £250,000 the difference between the two schemes is a significant £77,500.
Features of the Hodge Lifetime Plan
- Flexible Repayment – Hodge will allow 10% capital repayment each year upto year 6 with no penalty
- Fixed Early Repayment Charge (ERC) – over the first 5 years the penalty decreases from 5% down to 1% of the capital repaid. No ERC exists after year 6.
- Fixed Interest Rate – 4.75% for 5 years, renewable thereafter (5.1% APR)
- Minimum Loan – £20,000; Maximum Loan – £500,000
- Eligible Income – basic state pension, pension schemes, annuity payments, SERPS or S2P
- No Negative equity Guarantee – ensures the loan can never be greater than the property value
- Location – available in England, Wales & mainland Scotland
This a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features & risks please ask for a personalised illustration.
Your home maybe repossessed if you do not maintain repayments on a mortgage secured on your home.
For further details, or to request a quote on the Hodge Lifetime Retirement Mortgage Plan please call the equity release team on freephone 0800 678 5469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org