General questions

Should we have Powers of Attorney?

It is helpful to have Powers of Attorney, especially if you are considering a lifetime mortgage with a drawdown facility. You should discuss this with your adviser.

My application is not progressing as quickly as I had hoped – what can I do?

Many providers are currently very busy, and this inevitably can cause delays. It is important that you, your adviser, solicitor, and the provider all keep in constant contact to ensure that these delays are kept to a minimum and that you complete your mortgage in a timely manner, bearing in mind the validity periods of mortgage offers. If you have any concerns about delays and any costs which you may incur as a result, you should contact your adviser in first instance. If delays continue you may wish to make a complaint to the relevant firm to establish why this has happened and what can be done to expedite your application (see the section on how to make a complaint).

My property has been down valued – what can be done about this?

A down valuation means that the property has been valued at less than the customer had anticipated. This might happen where, for example, the customer may have lived in the property for a number of years and not had cause to have it assessed. It may also happen when a surveyor notes some unforeseen problem with the property (such as damp) that will need remedial works and which in turn affects the property’s current value. Customers may appeal against down valuations but strong evidence will be needed to challenge such as recent local sales data. If the down valuation is due to a need for remedial works, a revaluation following the completion of the work may resolve the issue.

Why wont providers offer an equity release mortgage on my property?

Providers (and the funders behind them) set their own lending criteria for acceptable properties. The Equity Release Council is not able to mandate these criteria although we do constantly liaise with providers and funders to seek to effect change/ evolution.

If your home (or the home you are buying) has any more unusual building features or geographical considerations you should ensure your adviser is aware of these as some providers will not accept certain property types such as timber frames, concrete construction and flat roofs. Spray foam insulation is very frequently a problem to providers. Living in a flood area can also cause difficulties. Some useful information is available here    NOTE THAT THIS INFORMATION MAY VARY FROM PROVIDER TO PROVIDER

Can you make payments?

Many lifetime mortgages now have a facility to allow payments to be made, which can alleviate this impact. This facility has been written into the Council’s Product Standards, so that it must be included in all new products coming to market which providers wish to be Equity Release Council compliant.

I live in Scotland/ Northern Ireland/ Wales – can I take out an equity release mortgage?

Yes, there are providers who will consider properties in these areas. Your adviser will investigate the options for you and ensure you are aware of any restrictions or stipulations in this regard.

Are you able to switch a lifetime mortgage?

Yes this is possible, either by moving to a different scheme with your existing provider or to another provider altogether. Either way, you should take advice from a suitably qualified adviser, who will look at all the options for you, bearing in mind that there may be significant costs involved in switching, including early repayment charges.

Can I take out an equity release mortgage on my home to pay for care home fees?

Releasing funds from your property to pay for either care home fees or for care in your own home is a frequent use of Equity Release mortgages. Caution should be taken, however – if the property owner(s) are moving into long-term care and leaving their home this could mean that an Equity Release mortgage would not be permissible.

Your adviser will investigate and discuss any implications of taking Equity Release on any benefits you are receiving. He/ she will also discuss whether you may be entitled to any grants or similar governmental support which may be more appropriate for you than an Equity Release mortgage.

Will taking out an equity release mortgage affect my benefit entitlement?

Potentially, yes. If you are in receipt of any benefit payments you should check with the relevant benefits agency whether taking out an Equity Release mortgage could affect this before you commence the application process. Your adviser will be able to assist you with this and may also be able to run a benefits check report on your behalf.

Can I use equity release to purchase a property?

Yes, this is an often-overlooked option! Your adviser will be able to guide you through this process. It is a way of potentially purchasing a higher value property, but you should also bear in mind the possible restrictions that providers may have about property type before you purchase.

Customers should be aware that purchasing a property and using Equity Release in this way can take longer than simply raising a standalone Equity Release mortgage. This could mean that rates change during the application process (or even that an offer may run out, necessitating a new offer). New rates could be higher or lower than the rate originally recommended.