If, after exploring the options available to you, you decide that equity release might be the right choice to meet your needs, there are a number of important steps to take
Make sure you are eligible for equity release
You need to be a homeowner and the youngest applicant needs to be aged at least 55 years old to qualify. Please note, the minimum age criteria for Home Reversion Plans can sometimes be higher than 55 years old.
Find out the value of your home
This will help you to establish how much you might be able to release. You can do this in a number of ways:
- By getting an estate agent to do an appraisal of the approximate value of your property:
- By talking to friends or neighbours who have recently moved in to your area
- By looking in the local property pages at similar properties in your area;
Please note that this will only give you an approximate value and is not the same as a report and valuation from a qualified surveyor.
Check how the money released may affect any state benefits you receive
Any money you release from your home may have an impact on the benefits to which you are entitled. A financial advisor can advise you on how to work out what impact this might have for you. However done properly there is unlikely to be any effect on any benefits you receive.
Check how the money released may affect your tax position
Any equity you release from your home is tax-free. However, if you choose to invest the money you release any interest you receive may be taxable and may affect your tax position. A financial adviser can help you to determine what impact this will have on your tax position. However with the plans available today it is often unnecessary to take a lump sum to invest.
Consult with your family
If possible and appropriate, talk frankly to your family about the decision you are planning to make. Any decision you make could have an impact on their inheritance. However, remember that the decision to release equity from your home must be your decision and you should not be unduly pressured by your family to make a decision.
Consider your future plans
Releasing equity from your home might affect your options for moving home or selling in the future. For example, if you want to downsize in the future you will be able to do this but you may have to repay a proportion of the equity you have released back to the provider. This could come from the proceeds of your sale.