Read more about the equity release we offer whenever you have a quiet moment. We’ve put together a free guide packed with information and answers to the questions people most often ask. You can download an online version right away or we’ll post a copy to your home.
What is equity release?
Equity release is a product that allows you to unlock cash from the value of your home.
The type of equity release we offer is a lifetime mortgage. It's a long-term loan on the value of your home, which is repaid, usually from the sale of your home, when you (and your partner, for joint lifetime mortgages) die or need to go into long-term care, subject to our terms and conditions.
Whatever financial freedom means to you in later life – renovating your home, helping your children, or simply boosting your income – equity release is designed to help.
Just remember that taking out any form of equity release will reduce the amount of inheritance you can leave behind. It may also affect your tax position and eligibility for welfare benefits.
No negative equity guarantee
You'll never pay back more than the best price your home can be reasonably sold for – that's a promise.
You still own your home
Borrow money from your home's value with no need to move, and every last brick still belongs to you.
Safeguard an inheritance
Lock away a proportion of your home's value to leave to loved ones – it just means you can borrow less.
Types of equity release
There are two main ways of releasing equity from your home.
A lifetime mortgage
Like the one we offer, this is a long-term loan secured against your home's value, which means you're still the owner.
A home reversion plan
This isn’t so common, and involves selling all or part of your home. You then stay on as a tenant, but without paying rent.
How a lifetime mortgage works
Our lifetime mortgage, like any type of equity release, is a big commitment, and one to think about carefully. Here, we start zooming in to the all-important finer details.
How do interest and repayments work?
You don't need to make any monthly repayments. Instead, interest is added each year, both to the initial loan amount and any interest previously added, which quickly increases the amount you owe. The interest rate is fixed, so it won't ever go up.
For example, one year after taking out a £20,000 lump sum with an interest rate of 4%, the interest would be £800. This is added to your initial cash amount, so your balance at the start of the second year would be £20,800. Another year’s interest on this at 4% would be £832. So the amount you owe after two years would be £21,632.
The loan and interest are repaid, usually from the sale of your home, when you die or need to go into long-term care, subject to our terms and conditions.
Will you receive your money all at once?
You can choose either to receive a one-off lump sum payment, or choose to receive a smaller lump sum and set up a cash reserve to draw from when you wish. So, whether you're paying the deposit for a loved one's first home, helping with your grandchildren's tuition fees, or just treating yourself to a few of life's little luxuries, you can take the money in the way that suits you best.
Although it’s important to remember that a lifetime mortgage will reduce the amount of inheritance you can leave and may affect your tax position and eligibility for welfare benefits.
Why choose us for equity release?
We’re a member of the Equity Release Council, which promotes high standards and best practices for all customers who take out equity release.
- An award-winning choice
We continue to receive recognition, both in our role as a lender and for the lifetime mortgage we offer
- We’ve got heritage
We’ve been protecting people like you for over 325 years
- Tap into 24 years’ equity release expertise
We’ve helped over 270,000 people release more than £10 billion since 1998
- Our no negative equity guarantee
You or your estate will never have to pay back more than the best price your home can reasonably be sold for
- Still leave an inheritance
You could lock away a percentage of your home's value to leave behind to your loved ones
How much equity you could release
There are several key factors that determine how much of your home’s value you could take out tax-free. These include your age, your health and the type of property you live in.
Are you eligible for a lifetime mortgage?
To apply for a lifetime mortgage, you'll need to:
- Be aged 55 or older (for joint applications, all applicants must be over 55).
- Own a home within the UK (excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) worth £75,000 or more.
- Want to borrow at least £15,000.
- Live permanently in your home. The property must be your main residence and shouldn't be unoccupied for more than six months at a time.
- Be mortgage-free, or have only a small mortgage remaining on your property. Any outstanding mortgage must be repaid from the money you receive.
What are the pros and cons of our equity release?
Our lifetime mortgage can help you release capital in retirement and build the lifestyle you want in later life. But it's important to weigh up both the pros and cons before applying.
- You'll remain a homeowner
You'll retain full legal ownership of your home.
- No negative equity guarantee
You or your estate will never have to pay back more than your home can be sold for, providing it's sold for the best price reasonably obtainable.
- Flexible withdrawal and repayment options
Our lifetime mortgages give you the option to receive either a one-off lump sum or a smaller cash sum with a cash reserve to draw from. You'll only pay interest on the money you withdraw and voluntary partial repayments can be made, subject to our terms and conditions.
- Tailored interest rate
We tailor our interest rates to each individual application meaning you'll always get a fixed rate that will never increase and is unique to your personal situation.
- Leave part inheritance
You can safeguard a percentage of your home's value to leave behind as an inheritance although this will reduce the amount you'll be able to borrow.
- You can still move
You can apply to transfer your lifetime mortgage to a new property. The new property must meet the lending criteria at the time of application.
- Downsizing protection
If you want to move home and the new property doesn't meet the lending criteria, you may be able to repay your lifetime mortgage with no early repayment charge. To benefit from downsizing protection, you need to have held your plan for 3 years or more.
- Reduced inheritance
Although you can safeguard a portion of your home's value to leave as an inheritance, paying off the lifetime mortgage will still reduce the amount available to your loved ones.
- Potential tax and welfare benefits impact
Releasing equity can change your tax position and potentially alter your eligibility for welfare benefits. A financial adviser will help explain the impact.
- Build-up of interest
We add interest annually onto both your loan and the interest already added, which quickly increases the amount you owe. Everything is then repaid, usually from the sale of your home, when you die or go into long-term care, subject to our terms and conditions.
- Lifetime commitment
A lifetime mortgage is usually designed to run for the rest of your life, until you die or need to go into long-term care. If your circumstances change and you'd like to end your lifetime mortgage early, then you may have to pay a substantial early repayment charge.
How to apply
Our lifetime mortgage usually takes around 8-12 weeks from application stage to when you receive your sum. It’s a big decision and a lot to think about. Here’s how the process works.
Get expert advice
If you come directly to us for equity release and speak to a financial advice firm that we've chosen for our product, you won't pay a separate advice fee. Instead, we'll make a commission payment to the adviser on completion of your loan. All the advice firms we choose are regulated by the FCA.
Some providers might charge you fees for advice on their equity release products.
If our lifetime mortgage is right for you, your adviser can give you a personal illustration and highlight the benefits, as well as the costs and risks.
Think it over
Discuss your plans and options with your family and decide whether a lifetime mortgage is right for you.
If you decide to go ahead, you can complete your application form with your financial adviser.
We'll then arrange an independent valuation of your home and confirm exactly how much money you can release, provided it meets our requirements.
Once we've reviewed your application, you'll receive your offer which will confirm the amount you can borrow.
Discuss the plan with your financial adviser and solicitor, then sign the legal paperwork.
When everything is complete, you'll receive the money through your solicitor.
Get in touch
^ Your call will be answered by a financial advice firm that we’ve specially chosen to give information and advice about our lifetime mortgages. They're authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Calls to 0800 or 0808 numbers from UK landlines and mobiles are free. For our joint protection, calls may be recorded or monitored, and saved for a minimum of 5 years.
What are the alternatives to equity release?
We have plenty of other retirement options you might be interested in – from giving your pension a boost to getting started with retirement planning in the first place. Take a look at the retirement hub.
Equity release articles
Taking out equity release isn't a quick decision. We've put together plenty more detail to help you and your family decide if it's the right path for you.