How does equity release work?
Equity release is a product that allows homeowners, aged 55 and over, take some of the value of their home as cash.
The amount you can release is based on your age and the value of your home.
Depending on the type of product, you can usually choose whether to receive the money as a lump sum, a series of lump sums or as a regular income.
The cash released is tax-free and you can use it for whatever you like, whether that's for home improvements, travel or to pay off an existing mortgage or loan.
Whichever form of equity release you choose, you continue to live in your home until the last surviving borrower dies or moves out of the home and into long term care.
Before choosing equity release, you must speak to a financial adviser for equity release advice. The product can only be taken out through a qualified equity release adviser.
What are the different types of equity release schemes?
You have two options when looking at ways to release equity from your home:
- Lifetime mortgage: With a lifetime mortgage, you borrow money against the value of your home. You continue to own your home.
- Home reversion scheme: With a home reversion scheme, you sell all or part of your property for less than market value. You continue to stay in your home as a tenant.
Both types of equity release will allow you to take the money as a lump sum, a series of lump sums or as an income.
A financial adviser will help you understand which equity release product is right for you. At Legal & General, we only offer lifetime mortgages.
How long does it take to release equity from your home?
The length of time it takes to release equity from your home will differ depending on the product and provider recommended by your financial adviser. On average, it can take about 8-12 weeks. You should consider this when thinking about using equity release.
How can I find out more about equity release?
You can only take out an equity release plan through a financial adviser. Your financial adviser will help you understand if equity release is right for you.
Legal & General offer advice on the most popular type of equity release, lifetime mortgages. If you'd like to speak to one of our advisers about a Legal & General lifetime mortgage, get in touch today.
Just call us to find out more. No question is too small, we're ready to take your call and very happy to help whatever the query. There's no obligation and no pushy sales tactics. We can check you meet the basic eligibility criteria if you would like us to.02
Getting to know you
Now it’s time to find out more about you. Your Customer Service Agent will call you to gain a deeper understanding of your financial circumstances and particular needs. This information forms the basis of our research and final recommendation to you.03
Introducing your Adviser
We’ll send you a short biography and photo of your Adviser so that you know exactly who you’re talking to when they introduce themselves as part of the recommendation call.04
Your Adviser will talk you through their recommendation, so that you can ask questions and take time to fully understand the product they’re recommending. This is an important meeting so do feel free to invite family or a close friend along to join the call. This can be carried out using a 3 way call process which the adviser will be able to provide full details on how this works. If you choose to proceed with our recommendation, we’ll do all the paperwork and submit the application for you.05
Appoint a solicitor
You’ll need to appoint a solicitor who specialises in equity release to act on your behalf and to provide you with independent legal advice. If your own solicitor isn’t a specialist or you’d just like some help finding a suitable solicitor, we recommend you contact the Equity Release Council who have a list of equity release solicitors. To help you understand the legal process further, we also have a guide you can download:06
Our number one priority is your health and safety and that of the valuers who visit your home. That is why we will arrange for an independent valuation of your home. The surveyor will call you to complete a questionnaire & understand whether it's more appropriate for a valuer to visit your property in person, or value it using publicly available information without the need to enter your home (a desktop valuation),.
You can also watch our short video about the lifetime mortgage valuation process.
If a desktop valuation is the most appropriate option, this will be completed by an independent valuer using publicly available information to assess the value of your home. This includes getting details about your property from the Land Registry and using online information to review any previous sales history. The final valuation figure will also consider the actual sale prices of similar properties in your area.
Because a desktop valuation may provide us with less information than a valuer visiting your property, we will use 95% of the desktop valuation when we calculate the amount we can lend to you.
If everything is acceptable to us, we’ll send you your Offer of Loan and the application process will continue.
Your financial adviser will be able to provide more information on the options available.07
Offer and Legals
Once the valuation is done and your application is approved, we’ll send you and your solicitor the offer. Your solicitor will discuss the offer with you and make sure you understand the implications of a lifetime mortgage. It’s important to take their legal advice.08
A completion date will be agreed and the money will be released to your solicitor, who will repay any existing mortgage or debt against your home. If you’ve chosen to pay the solicitor costs out of the loan, they’ll deduct these before paying the remainder to you.
Spend it however you want
Home improvements, pay off an existing mortgage or just top up your monthly income – it’s up to you how you spend the money. And it’s tax-free too.
Take more money whenever you like
Unless you’ve chosen a monthly income, you can take more money from your lifetime mortgage so long as you haven’t exceeded your limit. This will be explained to you at outset so you’ll know how much you can take.
You can still move house
You may not want to move now, but sometime in the future it may make sense. You can move house at any time, but you do need to talk to us first. We need to check that the property is of a type we would normally lend against - no thatched roofs, for example. And we need to make sure there’s enough equity in the new property to meet the loan and interest. If not, you may have to repay part of the loan when you move.
Paying off the loan
You can repay some of the money you’ve borrowed at any time. This will reduce how much you owe. However, there are limits on how much you can repay and how often you can make repayments. If you exceed the limits, or you want to pay back all of the loan and interest, there may be an Early Repayment Charge.