Equity release

Equity release allows you to access some of the cash tied up in your home, tax-free. It’s a loan secured against your house, which is only repaid when you die or move to long-term care.

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Who is equity release for?

Homeowners in the UK, aged 55 years or older can release equity. For a property to qualify it needs to be worth at least £70,000.

If you’re interested in releasing equity from your home, we can check if you’re eligible with a quick call. We’ll also be able to tell you how much equity you could release.

It’s a quick check with no obligation to go ahead. To start your free eligibility check, call us on 0800 633 55 66.

If you prefer to stay online, you can use our eligibility checker tool, or try our free equity release calculator.

Could equity release be a good idea for me?

Video transcript

You’re probably aware that equity release lets you access tax free cash from your home if you’re aged 55 or over. As with all financial decisions, whether equity release could be an appropriate option for you will depend on your personal circumstances.

Equity release could be a good idea if you need to top up your pension or other income when you stop working, particularly if you don’t have other assets or savings.

After paying off any remaining mortgage you might have, the cash you release can be used however you wish. It could help you maintain or improve your current lifestyle. Or perhaps like many of our customers, you could use it for home improvements, whether it’s for easier mobility or to improve its future value.

Some use it to pay for something special for themselves, like a holiday, or to help their families financially. In fact, it can allow you to give your loved ones their inheritance early, and you’d get to see them enjoy it.

There are some eligibility criteria – for example you need to be 55 or over, be a UK resident and homeowner, and your property needs to be worth at least £70,000. Our team at SunLife can run through all the criteria with you over the phone for free, without any obligation for you to proceed.

If you're eligible and would like to know more, you could then speak to an impartial, qualified equity release expert from Age Lifetime, who will review your personal circumstances with you and assess whether releasing equity is the right option for you. And if it is, they’ll be able to search the whole market to find the best deal for you.

There will never be any obligation to apply, but if you choose to, your adviser will be there to help you at every step of the process.

Equity release is a big decision as it can affect your entitlement to state benefits and any inheritance, so it’s worth speaking to an adviser to find out if equity release could be right for you. SunLife can help organise that when you call our free national helpline on 0800 633 55 66.

Is equity release right for me?

Whether releasing equity on your home is right for you will depend largely on your personal circumstances. But if you agree with the statements below, then it could be an option worth exploring.

  • You want to top up your income without monthly repayments

    Releasing equity lets you access your cash tax-free, in one lump sum, or in smaller instalments. Unlike most other forms of borrowing, you do not have to pay monthly repayments on your loan.

  • You want to stay in your own home

    One of the main advantages of releasing equity is the right to stay in your own home. Your home will only be sold when you pass away or go into long term care.

  • You understand it will reduce the inheritance you leave behind

    Equity release is designed to help you and your loved ones enjoy your money during your lifetime. The equity you release is paid back from the sale of your house, so there will be less money available for inheritance.

  • You want the freedom to spend your money however you like

    There are no restrictions on how you spend the cash you release. Our customers use the money for all sorts of things. You can read more about their experiences below.

Equity release guarantees

If you choose the SunLife Equity Release Service, you’re covered by three guarantees.

Stay in your own home

Stay in your own home for life, or until you go into long term care, guaranteed

No negative equity guarantee

You’ll never owe more than your house is worth, or have to worry about leaving your family with debt.

£500 price match guarantee

We guarantee you’ll get the best rate on the market or receive £500. How our price match works.

If you’re new to equity release, it might be useful to read our guide on what is equity release and how it works to understand the basics.

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What people say about the SunLife Equity Release Service

...
I could not fault SunLife. I'm really happy with everything – the whole experience.
- Kim Reynolds from Dorset

First steps if you’re considering equity release

If you’re thinking about releasing equity, there’s lots of information and help available. If you prefer to talk things through, we can help you get all the information you need over the phone. Or you can request a free guide, try our calculator and check your eligibility online.

See how much you can release

Find out how much you can release with our free calculator.

Calculate in 60 seconds

Request a free guide

You’ll find all the information in our free guide for you to read at home.

Request a guide

Check you’re eligible

You can check you’re eligible for equity release online, or over the phone. It's a quick check, and there's no obligation to go ahead.

0800 633 55 66

Speak to an expert

An impartial financial adviser from our partner Age Lifetime will help you make an informed decision about releasing equity.

Call our national helpline, and we’ll connect you to an expert.

0800 633 55 66

If you decide to go ahead, it usually takes around 8-12 weeks from the date you submit your application to get your money.

The advantages of the SunLife Equity Release Service

The main advantage of using our service is peace of mind. We’re regulated by all the relevant authorities, and our service is 5 star rated.

  • SunLife is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Our partner, Age-Lifetime, is a member of the Equity Release council
  • You’ll get a free fingerprint kit worth £59, when you release equity from your home (terms and conditions apply)
  • You’ll be covered by three guarantees – stay in your own home, no negative equity, and the lowest possible rate

Find more about regulatory bodies and safety in the article – How safe is equity release?

Why speak to an equity release adviser?

You have to get equity release advice before you apply, but it’s also a good first step. Here’s why:

  • They’ll answer all your questions

    You can ask your adviser anything about equity release.

  • If it’s not right for you, they’ll say so

    The advisers are impartial, meaning they’ll advise against equity release if they don’t think it’s suitable for you.

  • There’s no obligation to go ahead

    If you’re unsure, or feel it’s not for you, the adviser won’t push you to apply.

  • They’ll find you the best rate

    An adviser will look at options from across the whole market and find you the best deal.

The best rate on the market, or £500, guaranteed.

0800 633 55 66

Call our friendly team to be connected with an impartial advisor today.

Equity release from beginning to end

There are three key stages to releasing equity from your home:

Getting advice from an expert adviser

An adviser will help you decide if releasing equity is right for you. You can speak to them over the phone, through a video call, or face-to-face. They’ll explain all of the details and the options available. Here’s what your expert adviser will do, and what they’ll discuss with you.

Compare equity release plans

Your adviser will be able to talk through all the options and find the right equity release plan for you.

As plans vary in features, they’ll ask you to think about what’s most important to you. For example, you may choose a plan that lets you make monthly repayments. Or one that allows you to ring fence some of the value in your home to leave as inheritance.

Interest rates

Your adviser will try to find you the right scheme with the lowest rate possible. The interest rate will depend on your age and circumstances, and which type of plan you choose.

Lowest rate available

2.34%

We last checked this on 2 February 2021.

The average rate

3.23%

Based on the number of people who used our serviced and completed between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020.

If you use our service, you’re guaranteed the lowest possible rate on the market.

Types of equity release plan available

Your adviser will discuss different plan types and how they might work for you.

Lifetime mortgages – the most popular way to release equity

Access a lump sum, with no need for monthly repayments, and you’ll still own your own home.

Drawdown lifetime mortgage

Release cash in instalments over time, and only pay interest on what you’ve taken.

Interest-only lifetime mortgage

Release tax-free cash, and reduce interest by making repayments.

Home reversion

You sell all or part of your home to access a lump sum and live there rent-free.

Understanding the benefits and risks

Releasing equity isn’t right for everyone, so your adviser will help you to weigh up the pros and cons.

  • You’ll get tax-free cash for retirement to supplement your income.
  • You can stay in your own home and legally own it until you die or move into permanent care.
  • There’s no need for monthly repayments, although you can choose them with some plans.
  • It won’t leave your family in debt.
  • You can choose to ring fence some of the value of your home to leave as inheritance.
  • Interest is added each year and can grow quickly.
  • There’ll be less inheritance for your family as equity release reduces the value of your estate.
  • Your means-tested benefits and tax position may be affected.
  • You may not be able to borrow more in the future.
  • There may be fees to pay, though you can use some of the money you release to cover them.

Important information

  • You continue to own your house with a lifetime mortgage which is a debt secured against it. The value of equity released, plus accrued interest, is to be repaid upon death or moving into permanent long-term care.
  • If you have an existing mortgage, you must use the money you release to pay it off first

Applying for equity release

Applying for equity release isn’t a rushed process. There’s lots of advice and support along the way to make sure it’s right for you.

  1. Call 0800 633 55 66 to make an appointment with an impartial financial adviser

    We’ll check your eligibility with a few quick questions, before putting you through to experts from our partner Age Lifetime.

  2. Talk it through with your adviser

    You’ll discuss your circumstances, the options available and whether equity release is the right option for you. You can talk to your adviser as many times as you need.

  3. Complete your application

    Your adviser will recommend the best plan for you and send you all the information. If you decide to go ahead, you’ll need to complete an application. Your adviser can help with this.

  4. Get independent legal advice

    You’ll need to speak with a solicitor once you’ve returned your application. Your adviser can recommend suitable solicitors if you’d like them to.

  5. Receive your money

    You’ll usually receive your cash lump sum or first instalment within 6 – 8 weeks of returning your application, but it could be sooner.

Spending the money you’ve released

Once you receive your cash you’re free to spend the money how you wish. The only exception is if you have a balance left on your mortgage, in which case you’ll need to use some of the cash to pay it off.

After equity release

Repaying your equity release loan early

Whether you can repay the equity you’ve borrowed early will depend on your plan provider. There are often early repayment fees, so it’s best to check with your provider and equity release adviser before making any decisions.

Selling your house after equity release

With many schemes you can still sell your house once you’ve released equity. Just be aware that certain conditions may apply and there may be fees to pay. Your adviser can discuss this with you in more detail.

What happens when you die, or move into care

It depends on the type of plan you chose. Usually, with a lifetime mortgage your family would need to sell the property and then repay the debt with the money from the sale. Whereas with a home reversion plan, your equity release provider would need to sell it.

The loan usually needs to be repaid within 6–12 months of your passing. It’s to best to speak to the plan provider to confirm what needs to be done.

Frequently asked questions

Can I still get equity release advice over the phone while the coronavirus measures are in place?

Yes, we can still refer you to an expert who will be able to offer you advice over the phone.

Could I end up owing more than my home is worth?

No, because equity release mortgages from an Equity Release Council member come with a ‘no negative equity guarantee’ to protect you – so you’ll never owe more than the value of your home.

Will I have to move out?

If you release equity from an Equity Release Council member, you have the right to remain in your home until you die or move into permanent care. Only then will your home be sold and the outstanding equity release loan be repaid.

Will I have to make monthly repayments?

No. Usually, equity release loans are repaid when you die or go into permanent care and your home is sold. Any equity value left over can be passed on as an inheritance. Depending on your equity release plan, you may be allowed to make regular repayments off the interest on your loan.

What is the Equity Release Council?

The Equity Release Council (ERC) is a dedicated industry trade body. It represents providers, qualified advisers, intermediaries and surveyors who work in the sector – and all members have to adhere to the Council's Statement of Principles, which are there to provide important safeguards for you. You can find out more at equityreleasecouncil.com.

What is the £500 Price Match Guarantee?

We’re so confident that our partner, Age Lifetime, will find you the best deal on the market, that if you can find a better quote elsewhere, they’ll either match it or give you £500. You can find all the details in the price match guarantee terms and conditions.

What is the free gift and when will I receive it?

The free gift is a SunLife Fingerprint forensic property marking kit worth £59. The kit includes a virtually invisible solution that you can apply to your belongings. Even the slightest trace allows the police to identify you as the rightful owner of lost or stolen goods, so they can be returned to you. You’ll also receive stickers for your window to help deter burglars from your home.

Important information for existing equity release plan holders experiencing financial difficulties

If you have an existing equity release plan which you make regular repayments on, but are struggling financially due to Covid-19, you may be able pause your monthly payments by contacting your lender.

Legal and regulatory information

Not all products are available outside of mainland UK, please call us to discuss if you have any queries.

This website contains information on how the SunLife Equity Release Service works. This website does not contain advice, so you will need to discuss your circumstances with an expert adviser to be satisfied equity release meets your needs. If you have any questions about the service, you can call our UK team on 0800 633 5566.

Who are SunLife and who provides the SunLife Equity Release Service?

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services. Registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG, United Kingdom. Registered in England and Wales, number 05460862. SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (reference number: 769427).

SunLife acts as an introducer to Age Lifetime Limited, an appointed representative of Age Partnership Limited. Age Lifetime Limited registered office: 2200 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, LS15 8ZB, United Kingdom. Registered in England and Wales, number 09476203. Age Lifetime Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (reference number: 681715). Age Partnership Limited registered office: 2200 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, LS15 8ZB, United Kingdom. Registered in England and Wales, number 05265969. Age Partnership Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (reference number: 425432).