If you are considering taking on an equity release scheme, or, indeed, if you are participating in one already, it is always a good idea to check in with a qualified equity release adviser from time to time in order to gain a little perspective and some independent financial advice.
Unless you have plenty of experience in the world of money, borrowing and lending, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to seeking out good professional advice. With a few basic guidelines, however, securing a good financial adviser for your requirements should not be too difficult.
Search Tips for Locating an Expert
To begin with, experts suggest that you should try to gather personal recommendations. Talk to family and friends about their approach to financial advice. Once you have a short list of names, you will be able to move forward with your search.
Conduct a quick online survey of the candidates you have listed and keep an eye open for awards or other positive accolades. Once you have narrowed the field even further, it is often a good idea to get an appointment with a couple of the advisers on your list. This way you will be able to choose the one whose character most complements your own – remember that you will be working closely with whomever you ultimately choose.
Finding good financial advice should not be a difficult business. In order to make sure that you are getting the best possible guidance to suit your requirements, conduct your search slowly and carefully.
SHIP (savings home income plan), Equity Release Council, and the Financial Conduct Authority are regulatory authorities for lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans. These organisations have determined a set of rules for brokers to follow when providing independent financial advice. Friends and family recommendations and Internet searches are helpful. Even meeting with a few to narrow down your decision is great. However, you do not want to forget an important step. You always need to check the broker is properly regulated and backed by the FCA and Equity Release Council. You also need to check their qualifications and SHIP to see if the person is qualified to discuss equity release for over 55s.
Going Armed with Information
It is not enough to find the independent adviser. You also need to conduct due diligence in beginning information. Walking into an office not understanding the difference between home reversion and lifetime mortgages can leave you confused, wondering if something is missing from the discussion, or feeling the time was wasted because none of the products fit your needs.
Lifetime mortgages are loans repaid after your death. It could also be a loan repaid when you move from your main residence to a new location such as a long term facility. You make no payments, but interest will accrue while the balance is outstanding.
Home reversion is a home sale. You sell the amount you feel comfortable with such as just a part of the home instead of the entire house. In return you have funds to live on, no repayment or interest accruing, and you live rent free in the home till your death or you move on.
Calculating the Potential Funds
As you conduct your search for sound financial advice, take a moment to use an equity release calculator. Obtain results for lifetime mortgages and find a home reversion calculator to do the same.
Learn what the potential released equity amount could be. This is a guide amount. It is an estimate based on information you supplied the calculator with. Do not think it is written in stone, carved for all eternity. The results you obtain can vary on numerous things.
• Did you use a known value for your home or guess at the value?
• Did you use the age of the youngest homeowner, who can actually sign for a loan on the property, or your age?
• Was the calculator specific to one company or did it provide a comparison of competitive interest rates?
These are just three questions that show you how a calculator’s results may vary from what independent financial advice you obtain. Your broker is going to have an appraisal of the home, make sure proper age is used and ensure a product is right. But always go armed with potentials because you may come up with a number that is extremely low, but an adviser can find you more. If you know an approximation you also understand if your time is well spent talking with someone.