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Mortgage Glossary
Benefits of Equity Release Mortgages
 
Let’s go over the main benefits of an Equity Release Scheme! First, it can provide you with a huge amount of money or with extra regular income so that you can enjoy your retirement. Second, the amount of money that you get from an Equity Release Mortgage is free of tax. Third, you do not have to sell up your childhood home and move to a cheaper house. Fourth, as such mortgages are becoming more and more prevailing, interest rates tend to decrease. And last but not least, such a mortgage is a legal way of cutting out inheritance tax bills. So instead of paying such bills you might find it better to give your relatives a deposit so they can have their own loan, mortgage or buy their own house. On the other hand, in case you do not have any children to leave your house to, then an Equity Release Scheme could be the best existing offer for you!

And what about the different types of equity release schemes? The two main types are the lifetime mortgages and the home reversion equity release schemes. However, there is no huge difference between the two. Both offer the same thing: a way of releasing part of the value of your home to ameliorate your retirement income. In the one hand, a lifetime mortgage will provide you with a regular income, or with a huge amount of money in cash, while you arrange an interest-free loan paid off when the property is sold. On the other hand, a reversion plan provides you with some money, but in return you have to sell a proportion of your house. It’s simple, isn’t it?
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It would be essential for you to get an impartial advice before proceeding from the Age Concern and the Financial Services Authority. They will check thoroughly whether equity release is really the best thing you can choose to do and they also help you with deciding about the type of mortgage. They also remind you to be careful when choosing your lender as this is a decision that you make only once in your life! It is equally right to ask an advisor to help you, as they will not charge you for this service. Instead they are paid by the plan provider you choose. This person will help you compare the various offers, and will make sure you understand absolutely everything and know all the costs and possible penalties that such a plan might involve. If you are curious you can ask your advisor about the advantages and disadvantages of each plan.

Here are some tips to consider by all means before making any deal. Be very careful to the following:

  • The most important thing is to always keep full ownership of your property no matter how large amount you get from your lenders!

  • Check whether or not you can move to another house after getting an Equity Release Scheme.

  • Check all the costs that the arrangement involves!

  • It is essential for your Equity Release Plan to have a negative equity guarantee. So in case the value of your house decreases, your existing debt will decrease correspondingly as well.

  • Also check if your lenders are members of the so-called Safe Home Income Plans!

  • If you have a partner, it is advisable that you take out a joint mortgage plan!

  • Make sure that your relatives will have nothing to do with any outstanding debt related to this plan in case these occur in the future!
And finally it’s not bad if you ask yourself once more whether you really need the cash, and if you could find a less expensive option as state benefits for instance. Before arranging a plan, re-examine all your options again just to be assured! Remember that after signing up, it is too late to change your mind!

To conclude with, the various Equity Release Mortgage Schemes are offered mainly to homeowners aged 55 and above who want to have extra money by arranging the above-mentioned plan. You can finally buy the car that you have been always dreamt of, you can have a more comfortable life, and you can also allow yourself an extraordinary holiday! Basically, the lender gives you the money you need and charges interest for it or takes the equivalent proportion of the probable sale price of your house. But be attentive and do not make any equity release deal unless you are absolutely sure this is the best option you have. As such a scheme tends to be complicated and costly, you should read all the documentation and paperwork prior to accepting it, and ask questions if you haven’t understood anything. Remember that you should check not only the costs (namely fees for arrangement, valuation and legal charges), but also the other possible options that you might have, as well as the penalties in case you want to break off your deal.