You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Equity release - 5 things to consider

Unlocking money from your home with equity release can be a great idea. But it’s a big commitment, so make sure you give it plenty of thought beforehand.

1. Do your research

In summary, equity release is a popular way to improve your financial situation in later life – by unlocking tax-free cash from your home. There’s no need to move house to access the money – the loan and accrued interest is simply paid off when your home is sold after you pass away or move into long-term care.

You may already know the basics of equity release, but it’s important to do as much research as you can – so you can understand what it means for you.

When you have a few minutes to spare, it’s worth reading our equity release guide – where you can learn more about different equity release schemes and how they work. And if you think it could work for you, it’s time to get professional advice (more on this later).

tiny house on a desk next to a notepad

2. Think about what the money is for

There are lots of reasons why equity release can help in retirement. So it’s worth having a think about how it could work for you.

If you still have a mortgage, the money you release will pay this off first (along with any other debts secured on your home) – and if there’s anything left over, it’s yours to spend as you wish.

For example, some people use the cash to top up their pension in retirement – while others put it towards home improvements, or give a relative an early inheritance to help them onto the property ladder.

You don’t need proof of income or affordability to get an equity release plan. Instead, the cash sum you borrow depends on your age and the value of your home.

Use our FREE equity release calculator to see how much cash you could unlock.

a brand new kitchen

3. Get the right advice

Once you’ve done your own research and considered how the money could help you, you need to speak to an independent expert adviser.

They can help you decide whether equity release is the right solution for you – as well as talking you through various equity release plans and equity release interest rates.

Your adviser should be subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation and be a member of the Equity Release Council (ERC) – an industry trade body that sets high standards members must follow beyond the fundamental regulatory requirements.

Most importantly, an adviser that meets the above criteria is required to recommend the best way forward or plan, if suitable, based on your circumstances.

When you speak to your adviser, feel free to ask as many questions as you like. You should be confident that you understand the ins and outs of equity release schemes before making any final decisions.

Call The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service to check your eligibility

an adviser talking to a couple

4. Take your time to decide

Taking out an equity release plan is a big decision – and it isn’t right for everyone. So take your time and have a think about all the options available to you, and don’t feel like you have to rush into a decision.

It’s also essential to discuss your plans with your partner. And it’s a good idea to keep your family in the loop too – because equity release means you won’t be able to leave the full value of your home behind for your loved ones. Remember, the sale of your home will be used to pay off your loan – and any money left over will go to your estate. If you want to make sure you leave an inheritance, let your adviser know as they can give you advice on how you can ringfence some of the equity you have in your home.

If you’ve booked an appointment with an independent expert adviser, you should bring your partner or a family member along with you.

extended family hugging and smiling at each other

5. Get an equity release plan that works for you

Make sure you get an equity release plan that suits your circumstances. This is something your independent expert adviser can help you with.

Many equity release plans will allow you to move home without incurring a penalty – so if this is important to you, make it known to your adviser. You should also consider whether you want to take all of your money at once as a lump sum – or if you’d prefer to get smaller amounts as and when you need them.

Things like this will determine which product will suit you best. And with such a variety of equity release schemes on offer today, it’s important you choose a plan that suits you.

padlock on a wooden door

Whenever you’re ready, we’re here for you

For more information and to check your eligibility, call The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service today on 0800 633 5566 or request a call back.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Ltd which is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.