Last updated 11th June 2019
You might think it sounds complicated, but applying for an equity release lifetime mortgage is actually pretty straightforward.
How does equity release work?
In short, equity release is a way to release tax-free cash from your home – without having to downsize. It means you can unlock the equity (or value) tied up in your home and use it to make the most of your retirement.
With an equity release lifetime mortgage (the most popular type of equity release plan), you continue to own your own home. And there are no monthly repayments either. Instead, you pay back the loan and interest through the sale of your home – which is usually when you pass away or move into long-term care.
Learn more in our equity release guide.
Before you do anything else…
If you think an equity release lifetime mortgage could be right for you, let’s see whether you could be eligible.
To be considered, you’ll need to be:
- a UK resident
- aged 55 or over
- a homeowner with a qualifying property worth £70,000 or more
Use our FREE Eligibility Checker to find out if you're eligible for equity release.
If you tick these boxes, that’s a great start. And if you’d like to take things further, here’s an idea of what you can expect from the process.
1. Give us a call for FREE
When you’re ready to get the ball rolling, The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service is here to help you on your way.
We’re here to making things as straightforward and rewarding as possible. We can talk you through the process, and book you in for an appointment with an expert adviser. Equity release isn’t right for everyone, so they can help you decide whether it’s the best solution for you.
2. Talk to an expert adviser
You can choose to have your appointment over the phone or in person. Either way, you’ll be able to get tailored advice in the comfort of your own home – and you can ask as many questions as you wish.
Equity release isn’t right for everyone, which is why your expert adviser is there to give you the guidance you need to make a decision that works for you. After your appointment, you have the chance to go away and think about things. And the advice you’re given will be confirmed in writing before the process goes any further.
3. Attend your follow-up meeting
Once you’ve had the chance to consider the advice from your last appointment, you’ll have a follow-up meeting with your expert adviser.
This is your chance to ask any burning questions and seek any final clarification before you decide to proceed with the process. Remember, they’ll be there to help you every step of the way.
And when you’re ready…
4. It’s time to apply
If you’ve decided you’d like to go ahead, your expert adviser can help you complete your application form – which will ask for details about you, your health and your home. They can also submit it to your chosen equity release provider.
While your application is underway, the equity release lifetime mortgage provider will instruct a surveyor to value your property and check that it meets their lending criteria.
5. Receive your offer
The next step is for your equity release provider to make you an offer. This will based on your personal details and the valuation report – and it’ll tell you the type of equity release scheme and the amount they’re willing to give you.
If you accept, your equity release scheme will be set up for you. But before you do, make sure a solicitor checks through the offer for you.
Support from your solicitor
When you get your offer, make sure a solicitor checks through the legal details for you, and explains the ins and outs of the contract. Your expert adviser will provide a list of recommended specialist equity release solicitors for you to use.
6. Get your money
Once the equity release lifetime mortgage is complete, and you’ve accepted your offer, your funds will be released and you’ll receive your money through your solicitor.
Remember, if you still have a mortgage or any other debt secured on your property, the cash you release will pay this off first. Then, anything left over is yours to spend as you like.
7. Enjoy the retirement you deserve – on the house
Once that’s all done and dusted, you can get on with making the most of retirement. Whether you want to treat yourself to something special, live more comfortably, or lend the family a helping hand, you’ll have the funds you need to do so.
Just be sure to seek financial advice beforehand, so you fully understand the implications.
How long does equity release take?
An equity release lifetime mortgage can be completed within around 6 to 8 weeks. Choosing a specialist equity release solicitor can help ensure your application runs as smoothly as possible, and your money is in your bank account as soon as possible. Be sure to keep this timeframe in mind if you’re planning on making any purchases.
Get your family involved
If you’re considering a lifetime mortgage, it’s wise to get your family involved. The decision to get an equity release lifetime mortgage will have an impact on them, too, as it will reduce the size of your estate and the inheritance you can leave behind.
You should talk through your plans with them, and think about bringing them along to your appointments with your expert adviser. That way, they’ll know exactly where they stand, and there won’t be any surprises later on.