Are equity release mortgages good or bad?

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018
equity release

The simple answer to what is a rather broad question is that it all depends on where you are in life in terms of finance, goals and objectives.

What can’t be avoided, however, is that the equity release mortgage is growing in popularity.

According to the latest Equity Release Council figures, homeowners released over £1bn of equity from their homes in the third quarter of 2018 – and £11m of property wealth is being ‘cashed in’ on a daily basis. As a Guildford mortgage broker we’ve certainly seen equity release mortgage applications rise.

Whilst the figures are compelling, we are regularly asked, ‘Is releasing equity in my property a good thing?’ So, to help you make your own mind up, we’ve provided a list of equity release pros and cons.

However, before we look at the fors and against equity release, let’s start by briefly explaining how equity release works (note: for a more in-depth equity release mortgage Q&A click here).

What is equity release?

If you’re a homeowner aged over 55, equity release enables you to release money from your property – without having to move. You can take a lump sum, as a drawdown (taking smaller amounts at different times) or as a home reversion plan (selling part of your property to the lender in exchange for money).

The pros 

1. Staying put

If you don’t want to leave your property, but need more money in order to continue living there, then equity release mortgages enable you to stay where you are whilst providing you with the funds required to do so.

2. No negative equity – guaranteed

Lenders who are members of the Equity Release Council – and Complete Mortgages tends to only work with those that are – have to include a no negative equity guarantee, which means that if there ever was a crash and the value of the property became less that the value owed, the lender would cover it, not you.

3. Beat inheritance tax

Nobody really likes the idea of being taxed on inheritance, so releasing equity against the value of your property can represent a way in which to pass on your wealth in a tax efficient way.

The cons

1. Compound interest

Equity release mortgages do not work in the same way as residential mortgages. Whereas homeowners with residential mortgages typically pay off the interest charges on a monthly basis, equity release mortgage interest is typically added to the overall debt. This means that the outstanding equity release mortgage balance can rise quickly.

2. Hard to go back

If you thought early repayment charges on fixed mortgages were high, then you might be surprised to learn that early repayment charges on equity release mortgages can be as high as a quarter of the amount borrowed. As a result, you need to be absolutely sure that equity release is for you before going down that route – and also that your mortgage broker goes through everything with you in detail.

3. Benefit or no benefit?

Those who receive means-tested benefits may find that a sudden cash injection results in these being taken away. Make sure you understand the wider financial implications before committing to a long-term decision.

Still not sure? Why not contact the Complete Mortgages team to find out more on 01483 238280 or by emailing info@complete-mortgages.co.uk.

Complete Mortgages also specialises in other mortgages over and above equity release mortgages. We can also arrange mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages


Is the robo-adviser redundant already?

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

At a time when there is continual debate around whether or not the human workforce will eventually be replaced by robots, I have to admit that I experienced a degree of pleasure this week upon reading an article that called into question the efficacy of robo-advisers.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning that robo-advisers could be misleading customers over fees and the nature of the advice offered – something that those applying for a mortgage should now be taking note of.

In a world where apps are standard fare, automation has become de rigueur and the perception that automation equates to better, this warning shot from the city’s watchdog pulls into focus the delicate – and often complex – nature of mortgage guidance.

It also raises the question of whether or not a service so nuanced and personal, such as that offered by experienced mortgage brokers, can simply be replaced by apps or web-based platforms.

As a Guildford mortgage broker we are all too aware that getting a mortgage is a big decision – and one that is underpinned by many variables, most of which cannot be expressed or picked up on through an automated process. A personal approach, such as that available via face-to-face meetings or even via a telephone call, enables the mortgage adviser to pick up on the small aspects that make up the bigger picture.

It also enables the adviser to ascertain the mortgage applicant’s own understanding of their obligations and commitments with respect to the nature and size of the mortgage they require. An automated platform is a standardised approach and one that doesn’t take into account swathes of people who, for example, may be more vulnerable when it comes to making big financial decisions and who, therefore, would benefit from a conversation with an expert.

I’m not anti-automation. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that there are many services and aspects of modern life that have improved since becoming automated. However, in my opinion, mortgage advice and mortgage brokerage services do not – and should not – fall within this category.

If you want to speak with actual people when it comes to getting a mortgage in the UK, contact Complete Mortgages on 01483 238280 or email info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. We specialise mortgages for the self-employed, mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.


Self-employed friendly mortgages

Monday, 5th March, 2018

Sometimes, it’s as though those who take the most risks are penalised the most.

At least that seems to be the sentiment of 71% of self employed people who feel that they are discriminated against when it comes to getting a mortgage, according to new research from The Mortgage Lender.

Yes, mortgages for self-employed people seem to be that little bit harder to come by, which is a huge shame – particularly when it’s this demographic who play key roles in growing the UK economy and given how, according to new research by Data Line for Business, there are now record numbers of self-employed people in the UK.

Data Line for Business’s research highlighted how:

  • One in seven people now work for themselves
  • The number of self-employed people have grown by a million since a decade ago
  • Self employed women have grown 24% to 300,000 since Q2 2013

Whilst this is great news when it comes to the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit, it’s very much at odds with the barriers – and the perceived barriers – to self-employed mortgages.

What’s the problem with getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed? 

We often get self-employed people asking, ‘Why is it hard to get a mortgage, even when my monthly mortgage repayments would be significantly less than my current rental outgoings?’.

The truth is that lenders find it hard to assess self-employed people as they might pay themselves different amounts at different times. Some may choose not to pay themselves much at all in order to keep cash in the business.

Prior to the financial crash, self-certification mortgages enabled business owners to get a mortgage relatively easy. After the crash, lenders became less inclined to lend on the basis of what the applicant claimed they earned.

However, there are a number of accessible self-employed mortgages on the market right now. Also, as a Guildford mortgage broker that specialises in contractor mortgages and mortgages for the self-employed, we are well placed to help all business owners – from sole traders to owners of limited companies – get a mortgage.

Our advice would be to get in touch on 01483 238280 or email us on info@complete-mortgages.co.uk. Also, in advance of speaking – or meeting – with a member of the Complete Mortgages team, we would recommend that you gather the following documentation in readiness: –

1. Two years’ accounts (if you have a Limited Company or Partnership)

2. SA302 forms and Tax Year Overviews for the two past two years. Here’s a link for more information on how to obtain them

3. Proof of a deposit (or equity in your property, if remortgaging) of at least 5%

Getting a mortgage if you’re self-employed isn’t unachievable. It just requires a little more work. However, as a mortgage adviser in Guildford, we’ll handle the legwork on your behalf.

Remember, Complete Mortgages doesn’t just specialise in mortgages for self-employed people. We also specialise in mortgages for teachers, adverse credit mortgages, buy to let mortgages and limited company buy to let mortgages.

By Mark Finnegan, Director at Complete Mortgages