Equity Release – Explore Equity Release Options

Considering equity release? Learn how to access tax-free cash from your home’s value. Explore reputable providers and compare plans.

Equity Release

Equity release can be a tempting option for homeowners looking to access some of the cash tied up in their property. It allows you to tap into the value of your home without having to sell and move out. This can be particularly appealing to seniors who want to improve their retirement income or cover unexpected expenses. There are two main types of equity release products: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to weigh your options carefully before deciding if equity release is the right path for you.

Equity release is a financial strategy for homeowners aged 55 or above to access a tax-free lump sum or ongoing income stream from the value of their property, while still being able to live there. It’s a complex financial decision, so this guide will explain everything you need to know, including the different types of ER products, the pros and cons, and frequently asked questions.

What is Equity Release?

Equity release is a financial product that allows you to access a tax-free cash lump sum or regular income stream from the value of your home while retaining ownership and continuing to live there. It’s primarily targeted towards seniors who want to improve their retirement income, pay off debts, or fund home improvements.

How Equity Release Works

The process of equity release typically involves:

  • Valuation: Your home will be professionally valued to determine the amount of equity available.
  • Financial Assessment: An advisor will assess your financial situation and needs to ensure equity release is suitable.
  • Product Choice: You’ll choose the most appropriate ER product based on your requirements.
  • Legal Advice: It’s crucial to seek independent legal advice before proceeding.

Types of Equity Release Plans

Lifetime Mortgages

This is the most common type. You borrow money against your home’s value, with the interest accruing over time. You don’t have to make monthly repayments on the loan amount, but the interest gets rolled up into the total debt, increasing over time.

Home Reversion Plans

You sell a portion of your home’s ownership (usually between 20-60%) to a provider in exchange for a lump sum of cash. You retain the right to live in the property for life, but the provider will receive a larger share of the property’s sale proceeds when you pass away or move into care.

Pros and Cons of Equity Release

ER can be a helpful financial tool, but it’s not without drawbacks. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:


  • Access tax-free cash: The money you release from your home equity is tax-free, giving you a nice chunk of cash to improve your lifestyle or address financial needs.
  • Stay in your home: A major benefit is you get to remain in your familiar surroundings and avoid the upheaval of moving.
  • No mandatory monthly repayments: Unlike a regular mortgage, with lifetime mortgages you typically don’t have to make fixed monthly payments, easing the burden on your finances.
  • Reduce inheritance tax: By taking some equity out of your home, you might be able to reduce the amount your estate passes on to heirs, potentially lowering their inheritance tax bill.


  • Reduces inheritance: The money you access from ER comes from the value of your home, leaving less for your beneficiaries to inherit.
  • Debt grows faster: With lifetime mortgages, interest typically rolls up on the loan, meaning the amount you owe increases faster than with regular monthly payments.
  • Impact on means-tested benefits: Depending on your situation, ER could affect your eligibility for some means-tested benefits.
  • Loss of some home ownership (Home Reversion Plans only): If you opt for a home reversion plan, you sell part of your home ownership, reducing the potential value you pass on and the equity you have to leverage.

Ultimately, deciding on ER requires careful consideration of your circumstances and financial goals. Consulting with a financial advisor to understand the implications and explore all your options is crucial before making a decision.

Eligibility for Equity Release

Here’s the scoop on eligibility for ER:

  • Minimum Age: Generally, you must be at least 55 years old. Some plans might have a higher minimum age requirement.
  • Property Value: Your property needs to be worth a certain minimum amount, which varies depending on the lender.
  • Homeownership: The property must be your main residence and you must be the legal owner (sole ownership or joint ownership).
  • Existing Mortgages: In most cases, any existing mortgages on the property need to be paid off using the equity release funds or beforehand.
  • Financial Check: Equity release providers won’t typically base eligibility on your income. But they will assess your overall financial situation to ensure you understand the implications.
  • Health Considerations: Some lenders may ask about your health to get a better understanding of your life expectancy. This can influence the amount of equity you can release.
  • No Adverse Ownership: If you jointly own the property with someone younger than the minimum age requirement, they might need to be removed from the deeds before you can proceed.

Remember, these are general guidelines and specific requirements can vary between lenders. It’s always best to consult with a financial advisor specializing in ER to determine your eligibility and suitability for this financial product.

Is Equity Release Right for You?

Equity release is a significant financial decision. Carefully consider your circumstances and seek professional financial advice to determine if it’s the right option for you. Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Your age and health: ER is typically for homeowners aged 55 or above with a reasonable life expectancy.
  • Your financial situation: Consider your existing income, debts, and future needs.
  • Your plans: Do you plan to downsize or move into care in the future?


Will equity release affect my benefits?

Lifetime mortgages may affect some means-tested benefits. Seek professional financial advice.

Can I repay an equity release mortgage?

Some lifetime mortgages offer partial or full repayment options.

What happens to my home when I die or move into care?

The property is typically sold to repay the loan, potentially leaving less inheritance.

What are the fees associated with equity release?

There are typically arrangement fees, valuation fees, and legal fees associated with ER products.

Can I repay an equity release early?

Some lifetime mortgages allow early repayment, usually with exit fees.

What happens if I move into care?

Some equity release plans allow you to move into care for a limited period without penalty. However, permanently moving into care may trigger the repayment of the loan.