Equity release versus downsizing
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
Request a free guide
You’ll find all the information in our free guide for you to read at home.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
We last checked this on 2 February 2021.
The average rate
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.
Release cash in instalments over time, and only pay interest on what you’ve taken.
Release tax-free cash, and reduce interest by making repayments.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Yes, we can still refer you to an expert who will be able to offer you advice over the phone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).