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Could equity release be right for me?

If you’re a homeowner aged 55 or over, equity release can be a practical way to unlock cash tied up in your home. And we’re here to put you in touch with an independent expert adviser to find out whether it’s the best option for you.

We’re always happy to help

You might be thinking about using equity release schemes to give yourself more financial freedom in retirement. That could mean paying off the mortgage once and for all, getting that extension you’ve always wanted, or just seeing your loved ones enjoy their inheritance while you’re still around.

But is equity release really the right option for you? You can find answers to some common questions below – and whenever you’re ready we can get you to an independent expert adviser to help you make a decision.

coloured paper with a question mark on

Q. Am I eligible for equity release?

A. You’ll need to meet certain conditions in order to qualify for equity release plans. If you meet the criteria below, then you could just be eligible.

  • You’re 55 or over
  • You’re a homeowner in the UK
  • Your property is worth £70,000 or more

Read our handy equity release guide to find out more.

Q. Who is equity release suitable for?

A. Just to remind you, equity release is a way of releasing cash from your home – without having to move to a smaller, cheaper property.

So if you have money tied up in your home, and you’re looking for a way to fund a more comfortable retirement, equity release could be a way to boost your finances. It could help top up your pension or other income when you stop working – and you can use the money to maintain or enhance your lifestyle in later life.

If you have enough spare cash or other investments that will allow you to maintain your lifestyle in retirement, then equity release is less likely to be right for you.

Before making any final decisions, it’s important to speak to an independent expert adviser. They’ll talk you through the details and help you decide whether equity release is right for you.

Q. How do equity release schemes work?

A. Well, that depends on the type of equity release scheme. Here are the two main types:

  • Lifetime mortgage – This involves taking out a loan on your home. You don’t have to make any monthly repayments
  • Home reversion scheme – This involves selling some or all of your home in return for a cash sum, and you’ll live there rent-free

Both of these equity release schemes enable you to access tax-free cash without having to move house. And the money you release is repaid when your home is sold (that’s usually when you pass away or move into long-term care).

Learn more about how equity release schemes work.

hand holding  house key ring and keys

Q. Will I still own my own home?

A. If you choose a lifetime mortgage, the answer is yes. You’ll simply borrow money against your home, and then the loan and interest will be repaid when your property is sold.

If you choose a home reversion plan, your equity release provider will own a part or all of your home. But you will own a lifetime lease, meaning you can live there rent-free for the rest of your life.

mature couple looking over their paperwork

Q. What kind of protection is there for me?

A. The equity release market is fully regulated – and equity release providers are regulated and supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority. The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service is on hand to ensure you get advice you can trust.

Equity Release Council

The first thing to do is make sure you go with a reputable equity release provider, so you know you’re in safe hands. They’ll need to be a member of the Equity Release Council (ERC) – an industry trade body which sets minimum standards such as a no negative equity guarantee.

No negative equity guarantee

This ensures that you’ll never owe more than the value of your own property – even if the value of your home falls below the amount you owe. Your provider would simply cover the loss, so your family don’t have to.

Joint equity release plans

If you’re living with your partner, then you’ll take out a joint equity release plan – meaning that even if one of you dies or moves into long-term care, the other can still remain in your home. You won’t have to repay the loan until your property is sold.

a wooden house with piles of pound coins around it

Q. What are the alternatives to equity release schemes?

A. Even if you’re eligible for equity release schemes, they aren’t always the right option for everyone. Here are a few possible alternatives:

  • If you’re happy to move, you could sell your home and downsize to a smaller, cheaper property – but don’t forget that you’ll have to pay stamp duty and other costs
  • You could consider taking out an unsecured loan or mortgage – if you do, you’ll usually need to make repayments in your lifetime
  • If you have savings or investments, you could use these to fund your retirement instead

Before going ahead with any of these options, it’s best to get independent expert advice.

couple speaking to an expert adviser

Q. Where can I get expert advice?

A. You’re in luck – the SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service can put you in touch with an independent expert adviser.

Plus, when you make and keep your appointment with your adviser, we’ll send you a FREE £25 gift card.

Taking out equity release is a big decision, so seeking advice from the experts is the right thing to do. You should also talk things through with your family – it’s important to keep them in the loop, as equity release will have an effect on the inheritance you leave behind.

Q. I’m ready to take the first step – what should I do?

A. The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service is ready and waiting to take your call, so get in touch with us today.

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 by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

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.