Equity release mortgage checklist

Saturday, 25th July, 2020

Equity release mortgages are now more robust than ever following the Equity Release Council’s decision to expand its checklist for mortgage advisers – a guide to help mortgage brokers decide whether or not an applicant is suited to an equity release product – from 12 to 24 points.

The move, which follows a review by the Financial Conduct Authority that concluded firms must do more in order to provide people with appropriate equity release advice, means that mortgage advisers must delve deeper – and more holistically – during the application stage.

Now, for example, the checklist helps mortgage brokers determine whether an applicant has recently experienced any physical or mental health issues, or any other traumatic events such as divorce, bereavement or financial problems, all of which may impact a person’s judgement.

As a Guildford mortgage broker, Complete Mortgages welcomes the update. Firstly, equity release mortgages provide a great way in which those aged 55 and over can free up equity ‘locked’ in their property. However, there are risks. These include reducing the amount of inheritance their beneficiates may receive, and the fact that ready access to funds – whilst simultaneously allowing the applicants to remain in their property – is offset by the fact that they will get less then if they sold the property on the open market.

As convenient as equity release is, it’s important that there is a formal process in place to help make applicants fully aware of this and prevent mortgage advisers from offering inadequate advice. Increasing the checklist’s size by 100 per cent is, in Complete Mortgages’ view, a positive way in which to do this.

Secondly, as an award-winning mortgage broker in Surrey and one that has always taken into account the broader picture of each and every equity release mortgage application, this checklist will help bring the standards of other, less meticulous mortgage brokers up to the highest possible level. This is not only a good thing for those applying for an equity release mortgage, but also for the mortgage industry as a whole.

You may have read in our last article that Complete Mortgages has boosted its equity release service after Lee Cousens, one of our mortgage brokers, secured the Certificate in Regulated Equity Release at the beginning of June. This means that he can offer informed and regulated equity release advice to those interested in equity release products. It also means that we’re operating at the highest UK standards.

If you’re considering, or maybe even concerned about, taking out an equity release mortgage, then we can help walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Contact the Guildford equity release mortgage team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk for more information on applying for equity release mortgages. And don’t forget that we also specialise in first time buyer mortgages, adverse credit mortgages and buy to let mortgages, too.


Equity release during lockdown is easier than you think

Tuesday, 19th May, 2020
Equity release during lockdown

Without wanting to labour the virtual mortgage broker point that we’ve made in recent articles (to summarise, it’s that we’re continuing business as usual by conducting mortgage consultations via video), we thought it might be worth highlighting that getting an equity release mortgage during lockdown is very easy.

Although equity release mortgages can be slightly more complex than standard mortgages – and whilst there is arguably more to consider when it comes to releasing equity from your property – the mortgage application process is broadly the same.

However, as a Guildford mortgage broker that has arranged countless equity release mortgages for its clients over recent years, Complete Mortgages can guide you through the process and discuss with you the pros and cons of equity release.

But before we get to that stage, let’s address some of the basic equity release questions that we’re currently being asked.

Is now a good time to apply for an equity release mortgage?

There is a raft of great mortgage deals available right now – and the recent interest rate cut has contributed to this. However, the answer to this question is less about COVID-19 and more about your personal circumstances. In terms of applying for an equity release mortgage – and us processing it – then there really is no difference between now and pre-COVID-19; we’re still offering the same service (albeit remotely).

The real point to consider is whether or not now is the right time for you. This is a point that a Complete Mortgages equity release mortgage broker can help you establish during a video mortgage consultation, which you can arrange by calling 01483 238280.

Is it better to wait until everything’s back to normal – or is remote mortgage advice okay?

In an ideal world, meeting face-to-face to discuss equity release would be the preferable option. Sadly, we’re not living in an ideal world right now. Not only that, but we have no idea when we’ll return to a world that resembles life pre-Coronavirus.  So, that takes us back to the previous question. If you’d rather meet face-to-face and there’s no pressure to arrange equity release, then maybe wait to see what happens. If not, then through our video mortgage broker service we can progress it immediately.

What about the equity release paperwork?

This isn’t a problem, either. We’ve recently started using Eversign, so that ALL documentation can be safely and securely signed from your home. You can read more about it here.

Regardless of the type of mortgage you’re looking to apply for, Complete Mortgages can handle all applications via a combination of video and digital documentation technology. ‘Is equity release right for me?’ is the question you need to start with – and if you still can’t answer it, then pick up the phone and let us help you decide through our award-winning, impartial mortgage advice.

Don’t let COVID-19 put your life on hold. For equity release mortgage advice contact us on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan at Complete Mortgages


Six top tips on equity release mortgages

Wednesday, 20th March, 2019
Equity Release Mortgages

If you’re considering going down the equity release mortgage route, then you’re probably aware of the overall concept behind them, how they work and the benefits of releasing equity from your home – particularly if you’re 55 years old and above and looking to free up capital.

If that’s not the case, then read our ‘Are equity release mortgages good or bad?’ article, which provides a quick and easy guide to equity release.

However, if you are further down the line and are now thinking about the wider implications, then these six tips may be of interest.

1. Consider the alternatives

Equity release mortgages are effective and their growing popularity reflects this, however it’s always good to know your options. When it comes to alternatives, then the most cost effective way of raising capital is to downsize. However, if space is important to you and you want to stay in your home and have more money at your disposal, then applying for an equity release mortgage could be a more suitable route.

2. Keep your family in the loop

Equity release is a big decision and one with a number of potential repercussions for children and family members later on down the line. Our advice, when it comes to equity release mortgages, is to make your intentions clear to all those who may be affected by an equity release contract in the future.

3. Big decisions require good mortgage brokers

As a Guildford mortgage broker, we’ve seen – and helped people through – the effects of poor equity release decisions made on the back of bad advice. Getting an equity release mortgage is a significant decision and one that needs to be backed up by sound advice. Make sure that choosing a good mortgage broker is on your list of priorities before committing yourself to anything.

4. Know the numbers

Fees and compound interest form part of equity release mortgage deals. It’s no different from any other mortgage agreement in that regard, however this may have more implications on those who, as they get older, are likely to work and earn less. Know where you stand and how much it’s going to cost you before you sign the paperwork.

5. Equity release is convenient…

…but it can also be an expensive way to borrow. If, after getting good advice from a mortgage broker, you decide to apply for an equity release mortgage, then make sure you don’t take out more than you need, as any excess money will be accruing interest up until the point that your property is sold.

6. Lowest isn’t always the best

Choosing a mortgage with the lowest possible rate is pretty much a priority for everyone. However, when it comes to equity release, lowest isn’t necessarily the best. Equity release mortgage deals often include special features, such as offering the borrower the ability to make monthly repayments to avoid interest rolling up. Whilst the premium for this may be a slightly higher interest rate, it may work out more beneficial on a long-term basis and provide a greater degree of flexibility.

Still unsure about equity release mortgages? Contact one of our equity release mortgage specialists on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk to find out more. Remember, we’re not just specialists in equity release mortgages but also first time buyer mortgages, buy to let mortgages and commercial mortgages, too.

By Mark Lucas, Equity Release Specialist at Complete Mortgages


Why the sudden interest in interest only mortgages?

Friday, 23rd February, 2018
interest only mortgages

First it was the interest rate rise. Now it’s the interest only mortgage. So, what’s with the sudden interest in all things interest-related?

Well, an interest rate increase is always enough to create debate (and keep an eye out for more articles from us on this topic as we watch – with interest – to see whether another interest rate rise happens in spring), however the debate around interest-only mortgages is a reoccurring one.

It wasn’t until the financial crash of 2007/8 that interest rates found themselves under scrutiny. Up until that point it was assumed that property prices – and therefore equity – was going to continue growing, leaving the homeowner with a pot of gold when they sold their property.

Now, with property prices beginning to slow, it would seem that the opportunity to make money on property like days of old is no longer a sure thing and this has the potential to leave homeowners exposed. On that basis, it’s no doubt one of the reasons why the Financial Conduct Authority has brought the interest-only mortgage back into focus.

According to Which?, new research has revealed that there are three points over the next decade-and-a-half whereby a large number of the UK’s interest-only mortgages will reach maturity, with more recent borrowers most at risk of a shortfall.

If you are currently on an interest only mortgage deal and concerned by the recent media coverage surrounding them, then our advice would be to contact a good mortgage adviser, who will be able to go through the pros and cons of interest only deals in relation to your own circumstances. However, for now, here are a few things you will need to consider.

1. Place your head in the future – not the sand

Will you be able to repay your mortgage at the point of maturation based on your current circumstances and income? If the answer’s ‘no’, then maybe it’s time to switch to a repayment mortgage. There really is little point in ignoring the issue or putting it off until tomorrow. Besides, the sooner you address it the sooner you can apply for a repayment mortgage or remortgage.

2. Seek mortgage advice

As a Guildford mortgage broker, helping people to establish the right mortgage for them is what we do well. And given how it’s our job, we know the mortgage landscape inside out as well as the best alternatives to interest only mortgages currently available.

3. Equity release mortgages may be an option

Even if you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve gone too far and for too long on an interest only mortgage to be able to pay the balance, there are still options. Applying for an equity release mortgage is one of those – and one that may mean you don’t have to compromise your current standard of living. As an equity release mortgage specialist Complete Mortgages can guide you through this process.

Regardless of mortgage type, we always recommend that you speak with a reputable and trusted mortgage adviser – even if it’s not us. By doing so, you will be able to shortcut the process, save time and energy on researching the market and get professional guidance and advice when it comes to making a decision that’s right for you.

If you’d like to discuss your options when it comes to switching from an interest only mortgage to a repayment mortgage, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Equity release. It could be in your interest.

Monday, 6th June, 2016
home reversion

It’s funny how things change. Sometimes it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. At least that’s how it felt when interest-only mortgages became less common (not to mention less available) as people decided that it probably was a good idea to make monthly repayments rather than put off paying back their mortgage until a later date.

Of course, the well-documented financial crisis played no small part in this shift in attitude, bringing the long-term picture – or the lack of it for some people – into sharp focus.

But interest-only mortgages dominated the mortgage market for many years, and that’s many years whereby homeowners didn’t ‘chip off’ their mortgage capital, instead favouring to bet on growing property prices that, when the time came, would enable them to pay off their debt by either downsizing or remortgaging.

Well, for many that time has come (or is at least around the corner). Interest-only mortgages are maturing and it’s this realisation that has promoted a rise in equity release mortgages – or lump sum equity release plans.

The good news is that those who bet on the continued growth of the property market won’t be disappointed; property prices have increased significantly, generating wealth for the majority of UK homeowners.

Similarly, figures from the Equity Release Council* revealed how the value of equity release lending has also increased, having amounted to almost £394m in the first quarter of 2016, a increase of 21% year-on-year and the highest quarter one lending figure ever recorded. And the fact that over 5,000 equity release plans were arranged during that same period indicates that it’s only going to grow in popularity.

Quite simply, equity release deals enable homeowners to ‘extract’ the value from their property and pay the bank the remaining balance on the mortgage. And when you consider that the Financial Conduct Authority places the average shortfall owned by interest-only mortgage customers at £71,000**, then this approach to freeing up capital is likely to become a popular option for a number of homeowners.

So, what are your options? Well, there are generally two: lifetime mortgages and home reversion.

Lifetime mortgage

With this option, you take out a mortgage secured on your property and ring-fence some of the value of the property as inheritance for your family – or you can choose to make repayments or let the interest roll up. The loan amount is then paid back when you pass on or when you move into full time care.

Home reversion

Here, you sell part of – or all of – your property in return for a lump sum. You are still entitled to live in the house and in the event of death, the property is sold and the proceeds are shared based on the ownership agreement.

Of course, we appreciate that this is a significant topic and one that you will need to research fully before making a decision. Also, it’s important to remember that equity release products only apply to those aged 55 and over. So, if you’re thinking of applying for an equity release mortgage then contact a member of the Complete Mortgages team on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in a wide range of mortgages, from equity release to first time buyer mortgages and commercial mortgages through to bridging loans.

*http://www.equityreleasecouncil.com

**http://www.theguardian.com