If you’re over 55 and own your home outright or have significant equity, banks target you for equity release schemes. There are two types: lifetime mortgages and home reversion schemes.
With a lifetime mortgage you generally get a loan based on the value of your house and your age – the higher your home’s value and the older you are the bigger the loan you can get. Then, rather than pay interest monthly, compound interest is charged and accumulates without payment until your death at which point your house is sold to pay off the borrowed money and accumulated interest. Most lifetime mortgages have a ‘no negative equity’ clause which means you can lose the full value of your home if you live long enough but no more – there’s a sexy deal if I ever saw one!
With home reversion you part-sell your home with a right to stay in it until you die or move to a car home. Typically, the loan is worth far less than the actual value of your home. So, if you own a £100k home you might be offered £30k for half ownership. Any increase in value is also shared 50-50.
In this example, if the house doubles in value from £100k to £200k you’re only entitled to half, i.e. £100k.
Most people who enter into these schemes are not fully aware of the risks and I don’t believe financial advisors and banks market them in an appropriate way.
My personal opinion is that to go from owning your home outright to releasing equity, you introduce a potential stressor to your life that you previously didn’t have. Getting lodgers or letting rooms on AirBnb or even getting a part time job may well be able to address your financial issues more efficiently than releasing equity.
Anyhow, in this episode, I talk about equity release. This is all information and not advice. If you need advice on specifics, speak to a personal financial advisor.
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Heather on Wealth
I enjoy helping people think through their personal finances and blog about that here. Join my personal finance community at The Money Spot™.