As you are reading this article, chances are you already know a thing or two about equity release and want to flesh out the finer details. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
At Equity Release Supermarket, we are long-standing members of the Equity Release Council, or ERC (the industry’s governing body), which means that we meet the high standards the Council sets out and have vast experience in advising our clients on what they need to do during the equity release process.
One of these standards is that you must have at least one face-to-face meeting with an independent solicitor before taking out an equity release plan. This gives clients both comfort and reassurance that they are making the right financial decision.
To help answer some of the most common questions surrounding equity release solicitors and their involvement in the process, we’ve compiled the following FAQs.
Why are equity release solicitors needed?
Taking out an equity release plan is a big step and so it’s vital that you have expert impartial financial advice.
Another important part of the process is that you also have independent legal advice. So much so that it is part of the Equity Release Council’s ‘rules and regulations’.
At Equity Release Supermarket we couldn’t agree more and so won’t advise you on an equity release plan unless you’ve also seen a solicitor. Independent legal advice acts as an extra safeguard to ensure that you fully understand the implications of taking out equity release and that you are also making an informed decision without any undue influence from your adviser.
It’s important to note though that your solicitor can’t give you any financial advice and help you decide which plan is right for you. That’s why you need financial advice from an independent, whole of market, specialist adviser – such as one from Equity Release Supermarket - who will search every plan that’s available and find the right one for you.
What does my solicitor do during the equity release process?
Your solicitor plays an important role in the process and they get involved once your lender has written to you to say ‘yes’ – they would like to lend you the money – which is called a ‘formal offer’.
Firstly, they must check your identity, (to comply with Money Laundering Regulations). As we’ve previously mentioned, they must meet with you face to face and so often your solicitor will check your ID documents during this meeting.
They then ensure that all your property paperwork is in place. This includes things such as checking your title deeds, or that you have adequate buildings insurance in place.
If you are paying off your existing mortgage with your equity release funds, your solicitor will also take care of that for you.
Finally, they will agree your completion date with your lender and arrange for the transfer of the money to your bank account.
How do I choose an equity release solicitor?
At Equity Release Supermarket, we offer access to our own expert panel of solicitors who are recognised for their specialist knowledge. Using our panel can also help to speed up the process, as we have online access to case management systems at certain solicitors. This means that we can quickly identify any issues that may arise in processing your application.
If however, you have your own solicitor, you are free to use them and are in no way obliged to use our panel.
If you do choose an external practitioner, we would advise only consulting with a solicitor who is a member of ERSA (Equity Release Solicitors Alliance).
The ERSA is a group of established law firms specialising in equity release and was formed to promote the importance of specialist legal advice when considering equity release plans. It also has a charter guaranteeing that it will provide the best legal advice.
Using a member of the ERSA ensures that you’ll receive full and balanced independent advice while benefiting from competitive fees. They will also have in place streamlined systems which help with a speedy completion.
If you are in any doubt, feel free to get in touch with our friendly team, who will be happy to point you in the right direction.
How much does an equity release solicitor cost?
We recognise the importance of providing value-for-money and securing the best deals for our clients, which is why we don’t charge any upfront fees for starting an application.
In addition, we also provide a ‘No Completion – No Advice Charge’ agreement to all our clients, which complements the same deal offered by our panel of equity release solicitors. If you are interested in using a solicitor from our panel, you will find fixed fees starting from £495+VAT. This fee is only payable on completion of your plan.
If, on the other hand, you decide to use an external equity release solicitor, you will find that legal fees can vary significantly across the market and are typically up to £995. Which is why we recommend using our panel of solicitors.
Plus, they are all members of the ERSA, expert in the field of equity release and will always aim to ensure that you get your money as quickly as possible.
At what point should I contact a solicitor?
If you choose to use our panel of solicitors, then we take care of instructing them for you.
But if you prefer to find your own, you should do this once your application has been submitted to the lender.
Want to talk more about choosing an equity release solicitor? Please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on Freephone 0800 802 1051 or email [email protected].