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Posts Tagged ‘Equity Release UK’

Legal & General Equity Release – Visionary Views & Sea Change Needed

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Legal and General Equity releaseThe equity release marketplace in 2015 has been undergoing a period of growth and innovation which has been long overdue. There are major factors influencing this potential golden generation of competitive equity release plans. Helping matters has been a new big brand household name – Legal & General who are aiming to take a large share of equity release business, but not necessarily in the conventional manner.

 

Realising the lifetime mortgage market needs a sea change in order to reach the heady predictions made, Legal & General are almost starting with a blank canvas & fresh approach to how equity release UK plans are marketed & advised. These ideas I’m sure will soon be rolled-out to the equity release broker community, who need to awaken to the concept of change, not much of which has really been seen over the past few years.

 

Personally, equity release brokers & lenders need a complete overhaul of its thinking & messages it needs to portray to the consumer to build confidence. Conventionality needs to be erased & brought into the 21st century using the latest of technology & wider distribution. This shouldn’t be just by one or two brokers strangling the marketplace, effectively restricting the entry of new lenders/funders, but an across the board approach by everyone (brokers & providers) working together.

 

Furthermore, for growth, new advisers are needed to be brought in from outside the industry & trained to meet the rigorous measures imposed by the Equity Release Council to ensure safe route to market for the consumer. There is a shortage of quality equity release advisers which needs immediately addressing, otherwise how can the market grow?

 

Legal and General Home Finance ‘Sea Change’

Let’s analyse what Legal and General Home Finance have achieved since entering the equity release arena by acquiring NewLife Mortgages in early 2015. They have provided a series of plans which have effectively matched the best crop of products in the market at entry point. Features such as the 10% voluntary repayment option, lowest interest rate, high loan-to-value products & inheritance protection facility have competed significantly well against its peers, such as Aviva Equity Release.

 

Understandably Legal and General had to start somewhere & their efforts so far are commendable. With product research underway & their own analysis of how the market should look moving forward, we welcome a fresh voice & innovative product development. With electronic applications & valuation instructions to commence in the New Year, these are exciting times for the industry, but not before time. Branding themselves as Legal & General Home Finance indicates their proposition will be more diverse than just traditional equity release plans.

 

Areas where development is needed is greater flexibility for all pre & post retirement homeowners and remedying the issues for the over 55’s sensibly borrowing into retirement which MMR has stunted. We have seen how the Marsden Retirement Mortgage has filled a niche in post lending advice & this gap between equity release schemes & residential mortgages is a void that needs consideration. Equity release plans in their current state, albeit the most flexible ever, will not meet the future needs & demands for all retirees. New ideas and new forms of retirement mortgages are needed, but maybe one’s that somehow interact with lifetime mortgages, switching between as the homeowner’s future circumstances dictate.

 

 

Can Legal & General Exert Influence?

There is a vision for the expected growth in post-retirement lending, which some market analysts have projected could reach £5billion by 2020! This is still a mere drop in the ocean compared to the residential mortgage market of over £200 billion, yet there is still almost £1 trillion in untapped equity remaining in the over 55’s property portfolio’s. Is the figure even realistic? Not in its current format & lenders thought process. This is why Legal & General’s introduction could be what the market needs.

 

We are aware of the history of equity release schemes, resulting in the lack of confidence with many retirees & press alike. However with the efforts from Nigel Waterson from the Equity Release Council & the voice of important members of the equity release sector such as Andrea Rosario, the market is starting to answer back. In essence, the external adverse publicity maybe due to lack of knowledge of equity release and of how the newer breed of lifetime mortgage schemes work in practice & how it’s strictly regulated by the FCA. But this is where the equity release industry has plotted its own downfall. Lenders themselves should stand up more & be accountable, especially when adverse publicity arises, as it tends to be the market correspondents alone who respond.

 

Frustration ensues when column inches and comments about equity release are misconstrued. But that will happen when the market is so inhibited by a few brokers who have their own interests at heart. We already have an ‘equity release club’ in the industry, but designed for brokers for equity release referral purposes. Equity release brokers themselves should form their own ‘club’, thus joining forces and work out they can ALL assist the growth in the equity release sector. A new era of consumer openness and transparency needs to develop so there is a clear voice representing the industry, with a collective approach from ALL, not just the monopoly of a few.

 

A Sea-Change of attitude, products, innovation and lenders is what’s required for equity release & retirement lending as a whole, to progress. At least one of these requirements seems to have been met, with the household name of Legal and General becoming a new lifetime mortgage provider. The next 12 months may define the future of this industry. These could be exciting times for all those involved from brokers through to lenders, but not forgetting the true beneficiaries to all this – homeowners over the age of 55 who genuinely need a mortgage vehicle to enhance their retirement!

 

For further information on the range of Legal & General equity release schemes, please contact Mark Gregory – mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk or call 07966 889597.

How to Get the Best Aviva Equity Release Deal

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Best Aviva equity release interest ratesWhile you might think that going direct to the biggest brand name in the equity release market would be your cheapest option when looking to unlock the equity in your home, you’d be wrong.

 

The leading name in the equity release market is Aviva. Through Aviva Direct they had provided the services of their own dedicated field based sales force to both advise you on clients options and sell you their products. But the direct sales team needed paying for, and those costs were to be met in sales. This sales force needed wages, pensions, company cars, holidays, benefits, a mobile phone. All of this costs and Aviva needs to find that money from somewhere. Their only real option is for all of that to be costed into the direct product.

 

Saving through independent equity release services

In contrast to the Aviva tied-in sales model, an independent equity release brokerage such as Equity Release Supermarket costs the company much less. They don’t have to pay any of those costs or expenses, and those savings can be passed onto you, the consumer. Aviva also want to encourage those independent advisers to send them more business. This is how independent companies can offer more competitive deals and rates. They have no obligations to the lenders.

 

For instance, Equity Release Supermarket can obtain rates on the Aviva Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan, starting at 5.68% (5.88% APR). If you get the same deal directly by making the enquiry at Aviva now, even though it won’t be Aviva whom you deal, the rate would be much higher. Beware.

 

This is the reason that Aviva closed down their direct equity release offering as of 1st July 2013. Today over 80% of all equity release deals are coming in through independent firms. Customers have discovered that the best deals could only be found this way. Aviva was the last big company to still provide the direct service, but now they have realised that they can offer the best service to their customers through independent companies.

 

How Do Aviva deal with their enquiries now?

Since Aviva Direct was disbanded, enquiries still filter through from the general public. Not only that, Aviva have still continued with their direct marketing as can be evidenced on their paid listing on Google. But why would they continue marketing when they have no advisers to deal with their Aviva equity release enquiries?

 

Aviva made the unusual decision to use independent equity release brokers to handle the new business & any Aviva additional borrowing enquiries. However, even more unusual is the fact that these independent brokers are unable to deal with these enquiries on an independent basis. They must handle these Aviva potential consumer enquiries by only recommending Aviva’s own lifetime mortgage products. Not only that but this doesn’t come with the independent & best Aviva equity release UK interest rates. Yes, a premium would be paid.

 

So where do you find the best Aviva equity release interest rates?

As with any purchase to be made, the safest option is to always shop around. Therefore, if an Aviva referral to an outsourced company has been made ascertain their independence and whether this constitutes the best equity release deal. Once the quote & recommendation has been made, it then time to research the whole of the equity release market & compare deals. Using comparison tables such as prepared by CompareEquityRelease.com, you can see where the lowest rates relating to drawdown lifetime mortgages, lumps sum plans or even interest only lifetime mortgage scan be found.

 

The message is to understand your needs first. Don’t just plump for the first recommendation, especially if the company providing the advice can only recommend an Aviva plan. Aviva do have a very competitive offering, but this must come from an independent source, not a tied representative arrangement. This tool they use to get the best Aviva interest rate is called the Aviva Flex Tool.

 

What is the Aviva Flex Tool?

Independent equity release brokers have access to a unique quotation tool called the Aviva Flex tool. This is the pre-quotation tool that helps design the customer’s rate & product, whether it be an enhanced lifetime mortgage or maximum lump sum or the Aviva flexible drawdown plan. Based on criteria surrounding the clients ages, property value, health & loan-to-value will determine the lifetime mortgage rate offered. The higher the loan-to-value, the higher the interest rate usually becomes. Additionally, for drawdown lifetime mortgages, the greater the reserve facility required, the higher the interest rate becomes. There, is also the option of choosing certain offers, such as free valuation or a £500 or £1000 cashback.

 

Therefore, by using a combination of tactics with the size of the cash lump sum, the reserve facility and the cashback/valuation offers can manipulate the interest rate in the clients favour. This is something that only a specialist equity release adviser with access to the Aviva Flex Tool can provide & by contacting EquityReleaseSupermarket.co.uk, this access can be made available.

 

 

Work these extras into your Aviva plan

You can build these cash extras to the Aviva plan through Equity Release Supermarket. You might wish to include a free valuation of your property before deciding, or add £500 or £1000 cash back. These are deals that you can only obtain by using one of the top equity release firms in the UK. And the best price on those deals can only be found when using independent advice through companies such as Equity Release Supermarket rather than going through the equity release firm directly.

 

For a free initial Aviva quotation, call the team on 0800 678 5159 or alternatively complete this Aviva quote request form.

How Easy is it to Remortgage My Equity Release Plan?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Equity release schemes have now been in existence for over 15 years in their current format. Here we answer some common questions such as – ‘Can I get a better interest rate?’ & ‘Can I borrow additional funds? ’.

 

Equity release schemes allow you to free up some or all of the equity tied up in your property and use the tax free cash for lifestyle reasons. This can be a particularly useful option for those who do not have enough cash flow and own a property, but do not wish to sell it.

If you already have an equity release scheme but for some reason you’re thinking, ‘should I remortgage my equity release?’ it may be worth your while to compare equity release rates & deals to find a more suitable product.

 

The equity release market is constantly changing, with interest rates rising and falling, and new innovative equity release schemes becoming available all the time. For instance, interest rates at the moment are much lower than they were just a few years back. So if you decide to remortgage your equity release just now, the fall in interest rates could result in significant savings for you over the long term, even when you take into account the setting up costs, which include solicitors fees, application fees etc. Not only that but you may have released all the money from your original plan & now find you require a ‘top-up’ to continue enjoying your retirement.

 

Why should I review my existing equity release plan?

With equity release schemes becoming increasingly popular, equity release providers are developing new products and schemes all the time. Something that was not an option a few years ago may now have become entirely possible. Therefore, a more suitable and pragmatic product may now be available. This means that by reviewing your existing equity release UK plan and shopping around for new options is a good idea, especially at this point in time.

 

What should I look out for?

Equity release schemes are defined as a lifetime mortgage. As such all plans have some form of in-build early repayment charge which is differentiated by the company offering the equity release plan. These penalties can exist for a set number of years on a fixed basis, or alternatively they can be linked to an investment such as government gilts or Bank of England base rate.

Particularly government gilts seem to be a favourable barometer used in today’s equity release marketplace. The two largest lifetime mortgage companies – AVIVA & Just Retirement have decided to use them, so you need to be aware of potential back end penalties if the equity release mortgage is paid off early.  Other potential suitors such as LV= (Liverpool Victoria) & New Life Mortgages will only charge a fixed percentage penalty over either 5 or 10 years, with no penalty thereafter.

 

What is the next step?

If you are considering remortgaging your existing equity release scheme you must seek the professional services of an equity release adviser who has the experience of remortgage work. The adviser should be independent, so as to have the whole range of equity release schemes at their disposal. This is important as to remortgage again will incur a new round of equity release set up costs which need to be minimised as much as possible to ensure the new equity release deal is viable.

Before you decide to proceed with an equity release remortgage, it is important to consider several factors.

Remortgaging an existing equity release plan is not just a matter of switching to a new policy.

 

The following areas all need to be assessed & equity release comparisons made: –

Current value of the property – this may have changed since the original valuation, particularly in light of recent market conditions
Age of the youngest applicant – since the original equity release plan was taken out, you will be older, thus the loan-to-value ratio’s will have increased also meaning you can borrow a higher percentage of the house value
Balance of the existing equity release scheme – this can be based on your last annual statement or by requesting a redemption statement from your lender
Whether any early repayment charges would apply? – this can be ascertained from the redemption statement that should be ordered from your existing lifetime mortgage provider. This figure can be the difference between staying & switching plans dependent & the size & duration thereof.

 

Upon collating this data your equity release adviser can make an informed decision as to whether to stay put, or it’s in your best interests to switch plans. This is where the adviser’s independence becomes important. With any new equity release application comes a new set of set up costs. However, if your adviser can obtain a free valuation, cashback or any other incentive current available, then this will mitigate some of the new charges & make the whole process more worthwhile.

Professional financial advisers from Equity Release Supermarket will have all these tools at their disposal. With years of practical experience & many advisers having worked at the likes of AVIVA & Prudential, we know how these plans can be remortgaged & transacted quickly & cost effectively. With our current crop of best equity release deals we ever had, now is definitely a good time as any to consider saving yourselves, & your beneficiaries £1000’s by switching your existing equity release plan.

 

For a FREE no obligation equity release remortgage analysis, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.

Alternatively, please complete the ‘find an adviser’ contact form to book an appointment with your local equity release adviser.

 

Equity Release Supermarket is one of the leading independent, over 55’s equity release specialists who have won awards for quality & impartial advice.

They can be contacted at mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk where your enquiry will be treated with strictest confidence.

 

 
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