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The Many (Sometimes Unusual) Reasons to Release Equity from Your Home

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Unusual reasons to release equityDuring 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 barry@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk.

 

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).

 

Do Banks Offer Equity Release Schemes?

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

In Retirement Services logoHSBC 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.

northern-rock_999576c

 

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…

 

 Provider  Product Name  USP
 Aviva  Lifestyle Flexible Option Lowest interest rate currently in the market.Rates currently start from 5.57% and come with free  valuation and cashbacks
 Stonehaven  Interest Select Plan An interest only lifetime mortgage. Monthly payments help maintain a level balance.Great inheritance protection for the children
 More2life  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 mark@equityreleasesupermarket.co.uk or call the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 678 5159.

Is it Worth Reviewing My Existing Equity Release Mortgage?

Friday, 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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