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How to Use Equity Release Instead of Selling Your House

By Mark Gregory on the 15th January 2012

The current financial climate is quite simply awful for many people. Particularly, the retired & elderly are really struggling to make ends meet. Many retired people who left their work before the crisis hit have had to watch in horror as a lot of the value they had expected to retire on has been wiped away by stockmarkets & low interest rates with the banks & building societies. Sometimes, what is left in the pension isn’t enough, and their reaction is that they should sell their house in order to ensure a comfortable retirement.

However, with equity release plans, this might not necessarily be required. Instead of selling the family home, why not release equity to cover the short term finances. We maybe only talking a small sum to tie you over until prospects improve. Therefore, for the sake of selling in a depressed property market, bide your time & think carefully about your options available. Equity release schemes can play an important role here.

Equity release schemes are form of mortgage that enables people over age 55 to release locked up equity in their main residence. The typical and most commonly thought of equity release schemes are actually called lifetime mortgages. Lifetime mortgages are available to those over 55, and have specific characteristics which reflect this unique stage in life.

Equity release schemes are like normal mortgages in that they are associated money & a property. However, where most mortgages are used to purchase the property over an extended period of time, equity release mortgages are new mortgages placed on properties which already have or virtually paid off the mortgage. The result is that while the property now has some debt associated with it, the value that is unlocked can be used for large scale projects or purchases, supplement pensions or more commonly home improvements.

The other difference between an equity release lifetime mortgage and a normal mortgage is that with an equity release mortgage the assumption is that the balance will be paid off when the person who holds the plan sells the asset or as a part of the inheritance estate. This is why the over 55 age restriction on equity release schemes is so important. These financial products are designed to run for the rest of one’s life, so there is no call upon the repayment of the capital until death or moving into long term care.

Many retired people watched the drop in markets sweep billions from the values of the pension funds, and therefore pushing significant financial pressure inwardly. It is easy to see how the equity release mortgage would be an excellent option for retired people who are struggling either for income or a capital lump sum. Where they were potentially considering having to sell the family home or go back to work, many retired people can supplement their pensions with the value withdrawn via an equity release scheme.

As lifetime mortgage & home reversion plans are now members of SHIP, you always have the option of repaying the scheme during your lifetime. However, be wary of potential early repayment charges which some gilt related schemes can significantly impose. One way providers can recover their costs is through these means.

Often people think that equity release is tantamount to putting debts on to the next generation. What is important to keep in mind that with lifetime mortgages the ownership of the property stays in the hands of the plan owner, just like a regular mortgage. In fact, usually the biggest difference between a normal mortgage and an equity release mortgage is that the terms of the equity release plan are more favourable as they consider the age of the owner of the plan, and factor that into the calculations.

This means that those who inherit the property may also inherit the debt, but they now have the option to decide if they want to keep the property with a normal mortgage, or sell the asset and recover the rest of the equity. These are options which can be passed onward in an estate, making it easier for the family to make decisions which are appropriate for them.

Selling one’s house is an emotive issue & needs to be discussed with those closest to you. Next step would be to discuss whether equity release schemes are a viable option & this is where Equity Release Supermarket can use their considerable experience & knowledge to help.

For an impartial & free initial consultation call Mark on 0800 678 5159 who can offer words of advice. Alternatively,in confidence email with any questions you may have.

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Tags: SHIP, Equity Release Lifetime Mortgage, Equity Release Supermarket, Lifetime Mortgages, Equity Release, Equity Release Schemes, Equity Release Plans, Interest Rates, Home Reversion Plan, equity release mortgage

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