Posts Tagged ‘more2life’
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Equity release schemes have risen in the popularity stakes over the past 12 months. With regular articles in the tabloids, and increasing government awareness, lifetime mortgages have certainly raised the bar. But how does equity release actually work in the whole scheme of things, and why has it become such topical subject matter for those looking for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement?
Equity release workings
Primarily equity release is available to home owners where the youngest person on the deeds is at least aged 55. Equity release works by allowing eligible people to raise tax free cash from the equity tied up in their home. The amount that can be released is based on an age-related ascending percentage of the value of the home. In other words, the older you are, the more you can raise!
For example a single person in good health, aged 65, with a property value of £250,000 could raise a maximum of 30% of the property value. This would mean a maximum equity release of upto £75,000 with Aviva.
Even better, is the fact there are now impaired life schemes that offer ‘enhanced’ rates to people who are not as fit and healthy as they used to be and these schemes increase the percentage that can be drawn.
Therefore, if the same person was a smoker with high blood pressure, having diabetes & a history of heart attacks could now release upto £115,500 on the Partnership enhanced lifetime mortgage scheme.
Popular uses for equity release
The money raised from any equity release scheme can be used for any legal purpose from clearing credit card balances and existing mortgages, to helping children or grandchildren with deposits to climb onto the property ladder. However, many would be treating themselves to some lifestyle indulgences such as a new car, world cruise or home improvements.
Today’s equity release schemes
The modern format of Equity Release started in the mid 1990s with Hodge Lifetime (part of Julian Hodge Bank), Norwich Union (now Aviva) & Northern Rock (now Papilio UK) with a simple roll up lifetime mortgage.
Today there are three basic equity release schemes:-
1) Roll up Lifetime Mortgage
This type of scheme has a few variations but basically the borrower takes an initial tax free lump sum, makes no monthly payments and the accrued interest is added to the loan and compounds annually.
The main variation to this is the “drawdown lifetime mortgage“ scheme. This is where only the immediately required amount is drawn down and a reserve cash facility is then offered with the remainder. No interest is accrued on this drawdown facility until it is taken in the future. The advantage here by taking it in smaller amounts is that interest is compounded at a much slower rate, than if it had be taken all at once.
Another variation of a roll up plan is offered through Hodge Lifetime on a roll-up basis. Hodge’s flexible repayment plan has an option to repay up to 10% of the original amount borrowed annually without any early repayment charges. Hodge also offer a unique ‘downsizing protection’ option whereby after five years, if the property is then sold and the owner moves & downsizes house, then no early repayment charges apply. A great solution for many who cannot sell now, but may do so in the future.
2) Interest Only Lifetime Mortgage Plans
There are two lenders currently offering this type of interest only scheme – Stonehaven and more2Life. Both schemes are fairly simple whereby a lump sum is withdrawn and the monthly interest is paid in order to maintain the balance outstanding level throughout the term.
This method has proved appealing to parents who are keen to minimise any inheritance reduction for their children. In recent times, since the withdrawal of the Halifax Retirement Home Plan lifetime interest only mortgages have become increasingly popular. Both these Equity Release Interest Only schemes have the added safety feature that should the monthly payments become too much (one applicant dying and their pension income reducing) then it can revert to a roll up equity release plan, where no payments are required thereafter.
3) The Home Reversion Plan
This is now the least popular type of equity release mortgage. Nevertheless, it can prove to be the best advice in certain scenarios. The workings are that the homeowner(s) must have a minimum age of 65. They have the option of selling part, or all of their property to the reversion provider and then lives in that property, usually rent free, for the rest of their life. In truth, this is usually only appropriate when there are no beneficiaries to the estate, or they wish to leave a guaranteed percentage of the final value of the house to their children.
Home reversion schemes only account for less than 5% of the market these days. The market has seen a few withdrawals from the market by lenders such as Aviva and Retirement Plus. The three remaining home reversion providers are Hodge Lifetime, New Life & Bridgewater.
About the author
The author of this article is Barry Adnams, who is a senior equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket.
Barry is aware of what a monumental decision taking equity release can be. He is a traditional adviser that would always advocate a home meeting with family involvement. Barry offers an initial cost free ‘face to face’ appointment and likes to include as many family members as possible to be present to discuss whether taking equity release is the right option, or not.
If you want to benefit from the experience Barry has to offer and understand how equity release works further, then please contact Barry Adnams at Equity Release Supermarket, on 07989 281108 for a free initial consultation. Alternatively please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Suddenly you’re approaching retirement and you’re left wondering – ‘where did the years go?’
Realisation is dawning on you all too clearly that from hereon in you will be reliant on a fixed income, your savings may start diminishing and your future anticipated costs are anything but guaranteed!
The question therefore is how do you protect yourself & family from those unforeseen costs that might suddenly arise? Well, there’s good news and bad news, and also a possible solution….so please read on.
Firstly, the good news.
The population of England and Wales is living longer than before and the most common age at death in 2010 was 85 for men and 89 for women, compared to 77 and 84 respectively in 1980. Thirty years ago there were 2,280 centenarians, today the figure is 11,610. Indeed this trend is set to continue and we are entering the age of the super centenarian (110). That’s the good news!
Now, for the bad news.
The basic state pension is currently £107.45 per week increased each April by the highest of either the average growth in wages, the Consumer Price Index or 2.5%. Yes, the new flat rate of pension of £144 per week will be payable from April 2017, but not for those already drawing the state pension.
And what happens to a surviving spouse or partner when they are widowed? Just the basic state pension and possibly the bereavement allowance up to £106 per week for the first year depending upon National Insurance contributions and the age of your spouse on death. Added to this is possibly a reduced private or occupational pension for the surviving spouse (usually the widow) if you are lucky enough to have contributed to a pension plan during your working lives.
So how will you cope with the cost of home improvements, car repairs, increasing utility bills, let alone any care costs? And how do you provide for the financial security of your spouse after you have gone? A widow could easily have in excess of a decade to support herself on a reduced income.
The Possible Solution.
This article might have given you the impression that my job is to go around depressing people, but in reality my job is to ensure that my clients are fully aware of how they can use their major asset – their home, as a form of insurance against future financial difficulties.
Most people are familiar with a mortgage. A Lifetime Mortgage applies the same principles, however instead of running for a fixed term, will actually run for the rest of your life. It therefore allows you to borrow until the remaining owner dies or goes permanently in to care.
Types of Lifetime Mortgage
The most common equity release plan is on the roll-up lifetime mortgage basis, whereby NO monthly interest payments are required and the full repayment of the mortgage is made from the sale of the home on the last survivor’s death.
However, with the latest innovation in the equity release market, more lenders will now allow you to pay off the full, or even partial monthly interest payments if you want to keep the eventual loan lower than would otherwise have been on a roll-up basis. The interest only lifetime mortgage provides a flexible option to carry into retirement and can now be obtained on a drawdown basis with more2life.
All these Lifetime Mortgages are portable if you want to move house in the future and, if leaving an inheritance is important to you, you can protect a percentage of the eventual sale proceeds of your home. All these lifetime mortgages provide a guarantee that you would never leave a debt to anyone by way of ALL lenders providing a ‘no negative equity guarantee’.
The Drawdown Lifetime Mortgage
The major attraction with a Lifetime Mortgage is the “drawdown” option. This feature will provide you with a lifetime borrowing limit but does not commit you to borrowing the whole facility immediately. The drawdown lifetime mortgage was therefore borne with flexibility in mind.
Before drawdown schemes became available from the likes of Prudential, Just Retirement & Hodge Lifetime, customers only had the lump sum option. Given this cash amount needed was to last them at least 3-5 years, many decided to opt for a larger amount than would otherwise have been necessary. Languishing in a bank account & receiving less interest than paying on the equity release scheme was not best advice. Hence, the introduction of the drawdown equity release plan enabling retirees to take a lower initial sum, but taking extra funds in the future whenever they required.
As an example, a husband and wife aged 78 and 72 with a property valued at £250,000 could have a maximum loan limit of £52,500 but only start with the minimum loan of £10,000.
Interest would only accrue on the initial £10,000 loan and the balance of £42,500 would be readily accessible if they needed it and could be taken in stages. This is an excellent way of providing security for future unforeseen expenditure and would be available for the surviving spouse to use should he or she be alone and on a reduced income.
In should be noted that certain equity release companies cannot guarantee the drawdown reserve facility for life. Companies such as Aviva do retain the right to withdraw the drawdown facility under certain major events which would render them unable to fulfil their drawdown requirements. However, there are still companies available that will guarantee the reserve facility. By opting for the guarantee, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate, nevertheless you may feel more secure knowing these funds are available for a minimum of 15 years ahead. With living in such uncertain times, this could be a blessing.
This ”Lifetime Mortgage Drawdown” option, which only commits you to borrowing a minimum of £10,000, is sensible insurance for the future and if you would like to discuss the matter in more detail then please do contact myself – Mike Vicary on 07795 195302 or email email@example.com
Monday, January 14th, 2013
Following on from the last article entitled – ‘Will Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital?‘ we now look at the three companies concerned & their equity release plans in greater detail by covering the features these schemes have brought to the marketplace.
Hodge Lifetime returned to the equity release market in 2012 with a truly innovative lifetime mortgage product which has since been improved again to include a new drawdown facility.
This lump sum lifetime mortgage is unique in that it includes a 10% flexible repayment option with absolutely no early repayment charges under certain circumstances upon downsizing.
Hodge Lifetime Allow 10% Overpayments
The Hodge Lifetime Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is basically a traditional roll-up lifetime mortgage scheme in that it allows you to borrow a lump sum with a fixed interest rate for life. The flexible repayment option allows you to make a repayment of up to 10% of the original amount borrowed, without incurring any penalties or charges. Since there are no monthly commitments, repayment is flexible and you are free to pay as and when you choose, once the first 12 months has elapsed.
These payments are permitted on an irregular basis with a maximum of two repayments per annum. This would ideally suit people who want to control the balance of the plan in the future and in particular want to keep a level balance, or even repay some of the capital by taking advantage of the maximum 10% overpayment rule.
The effect of making these 10% overpayments
The Hodge Lifetime Flexible Repayment Option Calculator (accessible via their website) shows the effect making the maximum 10%pa repayments has on borrowing £20,000 at their current rate of 5.83% monthly (6.2% APR).
Over a 10 year period, by repaying £2,000pa back to Hodge Lifetime (10% of capital amount borrowed), it would reduce the balance by almost half to £11,340. Compare this to if NO repayments were made at all and the balance would have risen to £35,778; a significant difference of £24,438!
Hodge also have NO early repayment charges…
A second feature that is proving extremely popular with Equity Release Supermarket customers is the favourable early repayment charges that Hodge Lifetime offer.
The plan is geared towards those clients who maybe considering downsizing in the future. Again this has always been a stumbling block for many who see equity release schemes as a solution, however have been put off by the potential size of some of the lenders early repayment charges if repaid early. With some lenders such as Aviva, these penalties can be upto a maximum of 25% of the amount borrowed.
Hodge Lifetime make downsizing a more attainable option by applying a sliding scale of early repayment charges (ERC’s) over the first 5 years. These ERCs descend from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 over the first five years of downsizing. There are no early repayment charges if you downsize after 5 years.
The starting age for the Flexible Repayment Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage is 60, and the minimum property value is £100,000 with a minimum initial borrowing of £20,000. Hodge Lifetime is a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Click here to request a Hodge Lifetime quote.
Stonehaven launched their Interest Select Plans over 7 years ago and were the first of the current crop of equity release companies to offer an interest only lifetime mortgage option.
Stonehaven have been important addition to the equity release range of companies as they created the original concept of this type of interest only lifetime product, which now is starting to make in-roads into the over 55’s mortgage market. With features unseen before in this sector of the equity release market, Stonehaven’s Interest Select range of products have been launched with the changing needs of the customer in mind.
Stonehaven help protect your inheritance
Like the other two flexible repayment plans, this plan is designed to suit those who wish to have more control over repayment and to protect their inheritance.
The Stonehaven Interest Select plans include the Interest Select Lite, Interest Select Plus, Interest Select and the Interest Select Max. Each plan has its own lending limits, or loan-to-value. The greater the borrowings, the higher the interest rate becomes.
You can select your monthly payment
All these plans offer a disciplined monthly repayment plan that maintains a level balance throughout the term of the contract. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid monthly is only £25. The client can actually elect how much of the total interest charged they wish to repay. It can be anywhere between the total amount of interest charged each month, down to this £25pm level. The interest rate charged depends on which interest select option you choose.
If only partial repayment is made then the Interest Select loans have two parts – the interest payment part, and the interest roll up part. The part of the loan on which you make interest repayments is the interest payment part. If you are not paying all of the interest, then the roll up part is included and this element will accrue over time depending on how much of the total payment is being made.
Stonehaven give you the option from the outset to choose how long you wish to make these monthly payments for. Most people will select over their lifetime. However, if there is to be a significant event arising in the future, then you can elect to fix a term for the payments. The interest rate is fixed for the term you will be making interest payments, but cannot extend it later.
Protection against repossession
Stonehaven also include a protection feature that is unique to the equity release market. In the future, should you ever fall upon difficult times, then the monthly payments can always be stopped and the plan is automatically converted into a roll-up lifetime mortgage. No further repayments are then requested. There are no actual penalties for this, however if this has been done without prior notification then Stonehaven will increase the future interest rate by just 0.2%
What are the Stonehaven Interest Rates?
The monthly rates of interest for the Lite, Select, Plus and Max options vary, and are currently as follows –
Interest Select Lite – 5.99%
Interest Select – 6.08%
Interest Select Plus – 6.17%
Interest Select Max – 6.81%
The selection of each product is determined by the loan-to-value of the application. The lower the loan-to-value the better the interest rate offered by Stonehaven is.
An example of borrowing £20,000 on their interest select lite plan would result in monthly payments of £103.08 (6.4% APR).
Stonehaven are also a member of the Equity Release Council and all their plans follow SHIP Guidelines. Their plans start at a lower age of 55 with a minimum property valuation of £70,000 and a minimum initial release of just £10,000. Click this link to request a Stonehaven Interest Select quote.
more2life which is part owned by Key Retirement Solutions, has recently launched their Interest Choice Plan with a fixed lifetime interest rate.
This is a flexible drawdown interest only lifetime equity release plan, and allows applicants the option to repay between upto 100% of the monthly interest. The minimum amount that needs to be repaid is £25. The drawdown facility however, is provided only on a roll-up basis, not an interest only basis.
Plans start at age 60, with a minimum property value of £70,000 in England & Wales and with a minimum initial release of just £10,000.
If you wish to request a quote from more2life follow this link.
For additional information on any of these interest only lifetime mortgage schemes call freephone 0800 678 5159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, January 13th, 2013
A common question that the over 55’s are asking these days is whether equity release schemes are flexible enough to accept repayments of interest and/or capital. With an increasing financially savvy population, particularly those approaching their retirement, this poses an interesting debate.
Typically, equity release plans have been associated with the roll-up lifetime mortgage principle, whereby NO monthly payments are necessary. For many retirees this is a daunting prospect given the fact that with the compounding of interest, the inheritance they would leave behind could be severely reduced, if not eliminated.
Equity release innovation needed
Equity release providers have therefore been posed themselves the question about how to develop this sector that has historically been devoured of innovation. This lends us back to the original scenario regarding the switched nature of the over 55’s, and how they are now demanding more equity release plans to meet their changing needs.
The baby boomer age group has historically grown up on a life of credit lines such as their residential mortgage, personal loans, hire purchase and credit/store cards. For them, the continuation of a mortgage in retirement is not a serious concern providing adequate pension income is received to fulfil their monthly commitments.
Some of these people will have ended up with a mortgage leading into retirement potentially affected by endowment shortfalls or pension fund under performance. Whichever way they have an outstanding mortgage at retirement, there needs to an option available that can address this common problem.
Halifax tried and failed
Certain equity release companies have researched this and taken note, particularly given the popularity that the now defunct Halifax Retirement Home Plan. Until August 2011, this Halifax equity release plan offered the over 60’s a mortgage based interest only scheme that would run for the rest of their lives. The void this product has left since being pulled from the market has been enormous and left an opportunity for another interest only provider to fill.
Equity release mortgages have now come into their own. Where once they were categorised as a vehicle to enhance lifestyle, they have now become an instrument of necessity, for many who wish to address their retirement shortcomings. These lifetime mortgages can, with product development, provide the ideal solution to an interest only mortgage situation that will only become an even greater issue in years to come.
Changes have started
Today the equity release market has opened up and a variety of new plans are now available. 2012 has seen new products come to market that are pushing the boundaries of how the equity release concept can be expanded and accommodate more people into the fold.
Therefore, to answer to the question – ‘Do Equity Release Providers Accept Repayments of Interest and/or Capital‘, the answer is categorically ‘YES’.
The next article – ‘Which Equity Release Companies Accept Payments of Interest &/or Capital’ will discuss the three current equity release providers that will accept repayment of interest and/or capital. Here we can look in greater depth at them: -
Hodge Lifetime – Lump Sum Lifetime Mortgage & the Flexible Lifetime Mortgage
Stonehaven – Interest Select Plans – Including Interest Select Lite, Plus, Select & Max
more2life – Interest Choice Plan
To discuss these products further call the team on 0800 678 5159 or click here to read the next article on this subject.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
It has been a mystery why the UK mainstream banks haven’t fully embraced their traditional image of lenders to the masses, by entering into the realm of equity release schemes. We look at the history of attempts and corresponding results of many high street banks who have previously offered equity release schemes to the over 55’s.
Problems from the start
We start our history lesson back in the 1990’s, when Barclays & Bank of Scotland dreamt up the concept of the Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAMs) whilst the housing market was quite stagnant. People were looking desperately to get on the housing ladder and it seemed a good buyers market.
These two banks were offering the elderly a mortgage with NO monthly payments; however they would instead take a share in the future rise in the property value. Around 11,000 Shared Appreciation Mortgages were sold of which these unlucky retirees thought would only need to pay back a few thousand pounds.
However, the property boom followed the property slump of the 1990’s, and by 2007 property values had almost quadrupled of which the banks also took their large share. The resultant effect has left many pensioners now unable to sell as they haven’t sufficient equity of their own to move house. The legacy of these schemes still exists today with legal action being taken by some of the unfortunate customers of these banks.
Some have tried and failed
We have seen in the last decade a couple more banks have dipped their toes into the water & failed with lifetime mortgage schemes. Notably one temporary success was NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland who ventured into lifetime mortgages for a period, but none have ever felt comfortable offering this form of mortgage for the over 55’s.
NatWest/RBS equity release schemes became available in 2006 and were made available to its long time bank customers or retired bank staff. However, by 2009 after much back office investment & a surge in recruitment RBS ran out of funds and closed the whole equity release operation down.
The importance of independence
HSBC offered equity release back in 2006, after tying itself up with a tender from the now dissolved equity release company – In Retirement Services. In Retirement Services were an equity release provider in their own right and funded by private equity firm 3i, but only offered their own products.
This was always considered a strange decision for HSBC at the time to tie themselves with a non-independent equity release company & left the markets bemused. Afterall, why would a major high street bank tie themselves to someone with no independence for its customers?
The relationship ceased and the products were no longer available once In retirement Services went into administration due to funding issues in 2009.
Have Building Societies fared any better?
There has been a history of building societies that have yielded greater success with their own equity release solutions. They have ventured in & out of the market but no building society has remained and stood the test of time. Many building societies have fallen victim to the credit crunch over 3 years ago. This was due to the issues with raising funds on the money markets, and inter-bank lending at the time was virtually suspended.
This left many building societies involved in equity release lending, moving their mortgage book of funds towards the most profitable products such as mortgages which provide greater profit margins that equity release over the shorter term.
Within the last 10 years we have had Northern Rock as a major provider; however we know how the how the market crash affected them & its customers! They are now accepting repayment of their equity release schemes to clear their mortgage books of these old equity release plans.
Northern Rocks early equity release mortgages only had 5 years early repayment charges, so it could be an excellent chance to get a better deal today with the current crop of low interest rate home equity schemes available. (Northern Rock has sold its equity release book now to Papilio UK Equity Release Mortgages)
Other building societies that tried and failed due to the credit crunch were Bristol & West, Saffron Building Society and a notably, although temporary, unique scheme launched by Godiva. They were the first to enter the equity release market with an equity release plan with NO early repayment charges. Unfortunately, again the credit crunch put paid to this, and you would hope a similar product would one day re-enter the lifetime mortgage market; albeit the Hodge Flexible Lifetime Mortgage Plan goes some way to meeting a no redemption penalty equity release plan – see below.
So what types of equity release providers are currently in the UK equity release market?
It seems the secret to success and longevity is to find a niche product with a USP in the equity release market.
Lets consider the current lifetime mortgage providers and the schemes on offer and you can see why…
|| Product Name
|| Lifestyle Flexible Option
||Lowest interest rate currently in the market.Rates currently start from 5.57% and come with free valuation and cashbacks
|| Interest Select Plan
||An interest only lifetime mortgage. Monthly payments help maintain a level balance.Great inheritance protection for the children
|| Enhanced Lifetime Mortgage
||Offers the maximum release in the market by underwriting on the grounds of ill-health. The more severe one’s heath the greater the release
| Hodge Lifetime
|| Flexible Drawdown Plan
||Hodge have two USP’s. One is the ability to repay upto 10% of the balance each year. The 2nd is you can downsize after 5 years with NO early repayment charges
Today’s range of equity release companies stem from insurance companies to finance houses who have the ability to fund their lifetime mortgage schemes via their annuity books. We still have a mutual society and the remainder are private companies who manage to find funding from business partners.
Whatever the funding source, the current breed of equity release schemes offer the most diverse range of plans and competitive interest rates the equity release market has seen.
If there are any lifetime mortgage plans, old and new that you wish to discuss further, contact email@example.com or call the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.
Monday, November 12th, 2012
Retirement mortgages are becoming a rare breed. Nevertheless, with good research provided by an experienced equity release adviser, there are still such products available for the over 55’s. Products such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Plan are a good alternative to the now withdrawn Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage. If you have a pre-existing mortgage when you reach retirement age, there are certainly some options that are still available for you to consider.
Firstly, it is important to consider the changes in your income when you reach retirement. If your income during retirement still allows you to sustain the pre existing mortgage then the mortgage can be continued for a period. This will however be determined by the term of your existing mortgage and the attitude of your mortgagee. We have recently seen that since the FSA report into interest only mortgages, that residential mortgage lenders have revised their terms and attitude towards this sector of the mortgage market.
The repayment vehicle is where the issue has fallen down. Many people have taken interest only mortgages and for one reason or another never taken out the repayment vehicle that was meant to have provided the funds to repay the mortgage with at the end of the term. This has left a time bomb waiting to go off due to the sheer numbers of people with interest only mortgages now hitting their retirement years.
Affordability going into retirement is the one aspect of retirement planning most people do not look ahead for. Their income will fall as full time employment will usually cease and pensions as we all know have not performed as the quotes originally showed when personal pensions were originally take out.
Therefore, upon attaining retirement age, if you are unable to afford the mortgage, it is necessary to take the correct steps to remedy the situation. Your existing lender should allow you to switch to another interest only mortgage provider, should one be suitable to meet your requirements. To be able to do this, the loan-to-value ratio will be key as to what options will be available upon remortgaging outstanding. Now that the Halifax Retirement Home Plan mortgage has been taken out of service, what options actually remain to switch to?
By considering switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage can allow you to make monthly interest payments; the balance remains the same, which is repaid once the property is sold. The question to ask yourself is whether you require the mortgage to run for the rest of your life or to tie in with future plans, such as downsizing, or you only want the mortgage to run for a fixed number of years. Remember, selling your property and moving to a smaller property and paying off the balance is an option worth considering. The answer to these questions will determine the correct retirement solutions for you.
Equity Release Supermarket currently has two interest only lifetime mortgage plans available. Therefore, if your current lender does not provide this option, and you wish to remortgage then find an equity release adviser who can provide details. We can advise on both the Stonehaven range of interest select plans, or the recently launched more2life Interest Choice plan on 1st November 2012.
However, always look at the options before pledging your future to an interest only lifetime mortgage product. You could be entitled to retirement benefits that can help you cope with the existing mortgage. For instance you could be entitled to council tax benefit or pension credit which could have an impact on your income & mortgage affordability. Certain organisations such as Shelter can provide mortgage interest advice and support to those who are eligible. It is worth exploring these options that can help with making payments.
There may be other residential mortgages that you can consider switching to. However, these companies such as Leeds Building Society may only provide a temporary reprieve due to the limited term permitted. Most lenders will usually want full & final repayment by a maximum age of 70-75.
It is therefore important to seek professional advice in order to make a well informed and well researched choice. Switching to an interest only lifetime mortgage such as the Stonehaven Interest Select Lite is one such option, wherein you make monthly interest payments for life and the balance on your mortgage remains the same. With Stonehaven interest rates now only starting from 5.99% monthly and thereafter fixed for the whole duration, for those that qualify this is an excellent & secure option available to people over age 55.
If you wish to cease making any payments towards the mortgage, maybe as you have no children or close relatives, then roll-up equity release schemes may also be a good option for you. A roll up equity release is where no monthly payments are required as instead the interest gets added to the balance. The equity release deals from some roll-up companies are excellent at the moment with the incentives to help with set up costs. For instance, the Aviva Flexible lifetime mortgage starts with rates as low as 5.57%, depending on personal requirements and this is coupled with free valuations and three cashback options.
However, if the thought of your inheritance disappearing before your eyes when you receive your annual roll-up lifetime mortgage statement arrives then its worth looking at companies like Stonehaven and more2life. You should know that interest rates are currently the lowest ever for Stonehaven in their six year history. From the number of interest only enquiries we now have, many people have also noticed and taken advantage of tying themselves into today’s lowest interest rates and fixing them & their futures up for the rest of their lives.
To discuss your equity release options at retirement call the equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159 today.
Saturday, August 18th, 2012
If you are considering taking equity release and early repayment maybe on the horizon, then selecting the right equity release plan is essential to avoid potentially high penalties. Here we illustrate the pitfalls of early repayment of an equity release scheme and what to look out for, if one day you are considering paying off your plan early.
Equity release schemes are in simple terms a mortgage that runs for your lifetime & commonly has NO monthly repayments. The principle reason for the growing popularity behind equity release schemes is that they enable you to free up the equity tied up within the bricks and mortar of your home.
With hindsight, once we all reach retirement age we should all have sufficient income & capital in the bank to meet our retirement objectives. However, such forward planning doesn’t always materialise for one reason or another; ill-health, redundancy or poor investment return can always interrupt anyone’s best laid plans. So what contingency plans can one put in place, or how can one minimise the risk of achieving retirement age without the funds to enjoy the longest holiday of your life?
Equity release schemes
We have witnessed the virtues of equity release mortgages & how they have come to the rescue of many retirees over the past 15 years. However, what can be a life saver initially can become a financial liability in the future unless professional equity release advice is provided by a qualified & experienced lifetime mortgage adviser.
One of the fundamental advances in the emerging equity release market is the protection this industry is now affording to its customers. With FSA (Financial Services Authority) regulation, trade bodies such as the newly formed Equity Release Council (formerly SHIP) & in-built protection features such as the no-negative equity guarantee, equity release clients have never been more re-assured of the improvements in these lifetime mortgages for the over 55’s.
What are the potential pitfalls of equity release schemes?
One area that hasn’t seen much improvement in the equity release marketplace would be the impact of early repayment charges (ERC’s). As equity release providers are lending over a potentially long duration; in some cases in excess of 40 years, they need to set their long term borrowing plans accordingly. Equity release on the face of it may seem very profitable to lenders, however for a large initial outlay it can be many years before they receive their capital & interest in return. To ensure that their profitability & future of the plans remains they must make contingencies in case of early surrender.
Hence, like any mortgage the lender, equity release providers need to include a penalty on early repayment of an equity release plan. To many this would not be seen as an issue as we may have all experienced some form of ERC with our mortgage companies in the past. The difference between residential penalties & equity release penalties are the basis of, the size, & duration that the penalties can be levied over.
What kinds of penalties are charged?
Whereas all residential mortgages charge some form of fixed penalty over a fixed number of years, equity release schemes in general are nothing like. The majority of lenders have now reverted to the old Norwich Union formula of using government gilts as the basis for their early repayment charge. Companies that have now followed suit are Just Retirement, more2life, Partnership, Stonehaven and more recently New Life Mortgages switched from a fixed rate basis onto gilts also.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule who come from the likes of: -
- LV= (Liverpool Victoria) – who still use a fixed penalty of 5% of the capital borrowed in the first 5 years to 3% in the next 5 years, then nothing thereafter.
- Hodge Lifetime – who use a combination of a fixed rate penalty over 5 years and swap rates which relate to the long term effect of interest rates. However, they do have the advantage that if you move after 5 years, then no ERC’s will apply. Additionally, they permit 10% overpayments each year without penalty.
Is it all gloom and doom?
The answers to this could be both yes and no; depending if you have an existing equity release plan or not.
For equity release customers who took out a gilt related plan in the past it could be bad news. However, remember this is only bad news if you intend to repay early! If you have no intentions of early repayment, then no ERC’s would be applicable. All equity release schemes will NOT apply any penalty on repayment of the equity release due to death or long term care. Additionally, with the Equity Release Council (SHIP) rules in place if you are moving or downsizing you can take your existing scheme with you with no penalty. Equity release schemes have clearly made it known they are a lifetime mortgage. Therefore, the plans are not designed to provide short term borrowings.
You could however hedge your bets on occasions, but as the phase goes…let the buyer beware. For instance, with gilts rates currently at such low levels, unprecedented in the years that equity release has been around, could now be a good time to consider a gilt related equity release plan over the medium term?
The reason for taking out such a plan now would be the fact that these gilt related ERC equity release providers will not levy an ERC should the gilt rate have risen since the mortgage was taken out. In fact companies such as Aviva won’t charge an ERC if the gilt rate remains the same or even falls by a margin of 0.12%.
It is a gamble, as there is still much uncertainty in the economy, but the markets would expect that gilts are sure to go back up in the future when interest rates maybe rise. When though is the golden question.
So, gauging which equity release scheme is the best doesn’t all boil down to interest rates. A combination of assessing your future plans and how much, and when you actually require these funds can be just as important.
Afterall, what is the point of taking out an equity release plan with Aviva an interest rate of 5.66%, when upon early repayment you could be charged an enormous penalty of upto 25% of the amount you originally borrowed! It may be better to pay a slightly higher rate, with the knowledge that you either have no penalty or at least a known penalty from the outset.
Having an experienced equity release adviser is paramount in helping to decide which is the best equity release scheme, for your particular circumstances. By not only looking at your current situation, but also your future plans; your requirements now and also in the future will help your adviser assist in making the right equity release decision for you.
Equity Release Supermarket provide independent equity release advice from the whole of the market. Having the experience of actually working with the likes of Aviva, Prudential, NatWest and Norwich Union, gives our advisers the advantage of knowing the ins and outs of lenders early repayment charges and being able to give quality advice.
If you have any questions about equity release early repayment charges then please call one of our specialists on 0800 678 5159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Equity release schemes have become increasingly safer over the past few years with inheritance protection options becoming more available. It is becoming apparent that equity release plans are now evolving further and diversifying. In today’s market a number of different providers have entered the arena with a variety of different equity release schemes. Although equity release plans prove to be a great option for many people, it is important to understand the concept & implications of equity release before going ahead with it.
You’re possibly wondering – is equity release a good idea?
If so then you need to understand the main reason for people being anti-equity release, which is the effect it has on their beneficiary’s inheritance. You therefore need to gather more information on equity release mortgages and the role they have to play in the retirement planning process.
One of the most common concerns that people have with equity release schemes is whether it will affect the amount of inheritance they leave behind. An equity release mortgage allows you to release some of the equity that is built up on your home, thus devaluing the property initially by the same capital amount. Over time however, this amount significantly increases as compounded interest gathers momentum, thus reducing the value of the estate. This essentially means that you’re using up some of the equity of the home, and leaving a devalued property behind.
There are different types of equity release schemes, and the two most common types are home reversion and lifetime mortgage schemes. A lifetime mortgage is a loan taken against the value of the property, which is repaid only when the owner has died and the house can be sold. A home reversion plan is the process of selling a part of the house to a reversion company, the proportional value of which is recovered once the owner has died. By selling a small part of the home, you can ensure that you leave something behind. This is one of the main advantages of home reversion plans over lifetime mortgage schemes, However, lifetime mortgages have come a long way in design & functionality over the past couple of years.
As equity release schemes have evolved they have endeavoured to become less risky. One of the characteristics of new equity release plans is that they come with a no negative equity guarantee. This means that whatever is left over after your debt is repaid goes to your beneficiaries, but if your debt is larger than the sale value of the property, the negative equity is cancelled out, and does not get carried over to your family. This is particularly relieving to those who want to release the equity on their home but are concerned about its repercussions on those they leave behind. Of all schemes this would be beneficial for would be the roll-up lifetime mortgage scheme whereby the borrower has taken the maximum advance possible.
Modern lifetime mortgages also have a new security option built into them which is called the ‘inheritance protection guarantee’. Equity release providers such as Aviva, Stonehaven, more2life all offer this safety feature available. By selecting a percentage of the property value you wish to protect, allows a fixed percentage of the property value to remain on the eventual sale of the property. The higher the percentage inheritance guarantee selected, reduces the maximum loan amount available from inception of the plan.
Equity release schemes have their advantages and disadvantages. While they may not work for some, they may be the perfect option for many others. As far as protecting your loved ones goes, modern equity release plans provide both a no-negative equity guarantee and an inheritance protection guarantee so as not to affect your family. However, always bear in mind taking out the equity from your house automatically reduces the value of the property you do leave behind.
Therefore, ensure you speak to a qualified equity release adviser who can explain both the pros and cons of equity release. Equity Release Supermarket provide a free initial consultation to discuss all issues around all aspects of inheritance protection including interest only lifetime mortgages.
Call the team today on 0800 678 5159 or email email@example.com