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Is it Worth Reviewing My Existing Equity Release Mortgage?

By Mark Gregory on May 4th, 2012

There are many reasons why you should sit down & review your existing equity release mortgage. Like any financial undertaking, products do evolve and change, hopefully for the better over the years, & equity release schemes are no different.

 

Here we look at the reasons for reviewing an older equity release mortgage, understanding the benefits & how to go about ascertaining whether you can remortgage your existing equity release scheme, or possibly staying put with your current provider.

 

Reasons for considering an analysis of your existing equity release plan

Let’s first have a look at the factors for consideration in the transfer, switch or remortgage of your current plan: –

  • Could it be because your existing scheme has now exhausted its maximum lending limits with your current equity release provider?
  • Maybe you now require additional tax free cash due to change in circumstances or a financial emergency has arisen.
  • Simply because you require a more competitive equity release deal than at present as you are concerned about the effect the roll-up & the compounding of interest that is affecting your equity release balance.
  • Finally, there could be better equity release plans available in today’s marketplace that were not available many years ago and you wish to take advantage of this to save your children’s inheritance over the longer term.

 

What has changed since you took out your original plan?

Dependent upon when your original plan was taken out, many lenders are now offering better, more flexible and more secure plans. The main influence though will be the fact that interest rates have dropped so significantly. Having experience of advising on the older Norwich Union equity release plans, I have evidenced the fact that around 10 years ago their rates were in excess of 8%! How times have changed.

 

Not only that, but my team of equity release advisers have similar experience of the older schemes which is invaluable in the decision making process & analytics of whether to transfer your existing lifetime mortgage or not. Having worked for the likes of Norwich Union equity release, Prudential, NatWest, Key Retirement Solutions & Aviva, we have the experience & knowledge to conduct a full analysis of the equity release pros and cons relating to a potential remortgage situation

 

How low have equity release interest rates fallen?

The fact is, if you already have an equity release plan, now is as good a time as any to re-evaluate it and shop around. Although not as low as conventional mortgage rates, equity release interest rates have fallen recently, but mainly due to competition in the equity release market. With their aggressive stance presently Aviva have become the darlings of the lifetime mortgage market with their lowest interest rate of just 5.92%. But it doesn’t just stop there. With a free valuation thrown in & £500 cashback this represents the deal of the century!

 

When considering a remortgage, interest rate alone is not the factor that determines your decision. The costs involved in setting up the plan are essential & these should be minimised in order to make the transition ads costs effective as possible. Therefore, the current Aviva Flexi drawdown lifetime mortgage plan is possibly the one plan that would be a viable proposition to switch over to.

 

What other factors must be considered other than interest rate?

It is important to make sure that any new potential equity release scheme is flexible and can be modified whenever your circumstances change. Equity release schemes must meet immediate needs, but equally, it must also be able to adapt to the future. Many new equity release schemes are much more flexible than their previous counterparts. For instance, drawdown lifetime mortgage schemes are now the most popular form of equity release mortgage currently available. This is opposed to the mainly lump sum mortgages that were available in the past, which were inflexible, could only be reviewed every 5 years & you had to budget on this basis accordingly.

 

When reviewing clients existing equity release mortgages, I may find several better and more suitable products on the equity release market today. However, it is not simply a case of switching lenders. Many existing equity release schemes may have clauses that make it quite binding in the long term and may incur additional charges such as an early repayment charge. This factor could be the sole reason whether to switch equity release lenders or not and deter offsetting any savings made from switching to a new plan.

 

It is important to consider several factors while comparing the existing equity release plan to a new one. Current interest rates, the current value of the property and the amount that needs to be borrowed. A switchover can take up to 60 days, so it becomes important to take into account interest rates over 60 days, setting up costs and the current redemption figure to work out the amount that can actually be borrowed.

 

What action should I take now?…

To review your existing equity release mortgage, you will need to consult an independent equity release adviser who can provide impartial, unbiased and experienced advice on different options that are available. A careful and detailed comparison needs to be made, considering various costs that will be incurred during a switchover, including setting up costs, application fees, solicitors’ fees and advice fees.

 

From significantly lower interest rates, to more flexible terms, switching to a new plan may have several advantages for yourself…and your beneficiaries. As a company who is remortgaged many older equity release mortgages we can speak and practice from experience.

 

For a free equity release analysis of your existing lifetime mortgage, contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 or complete the online contact form today.

 

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