Equity release has been growing in popularity across the United Kingdom for many years, however, the market remains subject of skepticism and scrutiny.
Assumptions and untruths about equity release can be harmful, steering potential candidates in entirely the wrong direction. Sourced from a main equity release provider, each of the following five long standing myths continue to create an inaccurate picture of how equity release really works:
1 – Equity release is too expensive to be a worthwhile option
An equity release scheme works in a similar way to a mortgage i.e. the loan balance in many instances is subject to a competitive APR. According to the latest figures from Age Partnership, the average interest rate charged on a quality equity release product today is around 3.29%. One-fifth of equity release products are currently being offered with an APR of less than 3% and most of them are fixed at that rate for over 15 years.
Rates are not only competitive but are also getting lower. In 2015, average rates in the region of 6% were the norm.
2 – I could fall into debt if my home’s value decreases
Traditionally, there has been the risk of ending up paying back more than the actual value of your property. This has occurred in instances where an equity release customer’s property has substantially fallen in value, to such an extent that the loan value exceeds that of their home. Most responsible and reputable providers today however cover their products with a negative equity guarantees.
This means that even if the subsequent sale of the property doesn’t raise enough money to cover the total costs of the loan and all associated fees, the customer or the customers estate will not be liable for the excess.
3 – The provider will take control of my home
Policies differ slightly from one lender to the next, though most providers enable equity release customers to maintain total control of their asset. There may be some limitations imposed, such as the extent to which you can structurally modify your home or implement changes that could severely impact its market value. Nevertheless, your home will remain almost completely under your control, meaning you can do with it as you like.
It is nonetheless important to check the terms and conditions outlined by the provider, prior to going ahead. Consult with an independent broker to ensure you fully understand the conditions of your agreement.
4 – There will be nothing left behind for my family to inherit
Equity release inherently reduces the size and value of your estate, though by no means wipes it out entirely. Again, it depends on the terms and conditions of the equity release product you choose, mainly in relation to the size of the loan against the total value of your property.
If your main concern is ensuring adequate inheritance for your loved ones, discuss the available options with an independent broker ahead of time, you could even use our UK mortgage calculator to find out exact costs.
5 – The money raised can only be used for specific purposes
Last up, it’s true to say that the vast majority of people release the equity tied up in their homes to pay off their mortgages and fund home improvements, however, there are no specific limitations placed on how the funds can be allocated.
Whether you are looking to improve your everyday living standards, buy a new car or take the trip of a lifetime, the money is yours to do with as you wish. It is important to consult the terms and conditions of the provider carefully, just in case there are any limitations or restrictions in the small print.