We all want to know what will happen when we sit down with a lender for the first time. This is especially true if you are looking to release equity in your home, in order to aim for a financially stress-free retirement.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some important information about what you can expect from your initial equity release appointment and how it may impact your long-term financial goals.
What is an Initial Equity Release Appointment?
An initial equity release appointment is a meeting with a lender to discuss your needs and goals. You might also hear this referred to as an “Initial Consultation.” At the end of the meeting, you should have all of the information you need to decide whether or not applying for equity release will help achieve your financial goals.
Your financial adviser is able to recommend some lenders who offer the best rates on this type of product, or they can refer you directly to the lender of your choice.
An important aspect of an equity release consultation is understanding how it may impact your long-term financial goals, such as retirement plans and life insurance. This is why it’s important to remember that equity release should only be considered after discussions with your financial adviser.
Why Do Lenders Want an Appointment?
Lenders want to make sure that they offer you the best product for your needs and discuss what equity release options are available. You may also need to provide some documentation, such as recent bank statements or the deed to your home. The lender will let you know if anything is needed for your first appointment.
Equity release is a complex product, and it’s important to take the time to ensure that you fully understand what equity release offers, what your options are, and which lender may be best suited for your needs before making an application.
Additionally, the lender will go through all the plans available based on your age, the amount of equity you would ideally like to release, and the approximate value of your home.
An initial meeting with your lender is an opportunity for both parties to learn about your long-term financial goals and figure out if releasing some of your home’s equity could help achieve them.
3 Types of Appointments
An initial equity release appointment is typically a 1 to 2-hour meeting with your lender. The meeting format will vary depending on your needs and goals, but it’s important to remember that all lenders require these types of appointments for you to apply for an equity release product.
It’s also possible that some lenders may offer shorter or longer meetings; this would be based on what they expect. You’ll need to make an informed decision about whether or not applying for equity release is right for you.
For example, if retirement planning is part of your financial plan, then a 60-minute consultation might be more appropriate than a 15-minute consultative session with just home insurance as the focus point. Additionally, there are different types of equity release products, so you’ll want to be sure that your lender is well-versed in all types.
It’s also important to note that an initial meeting with a lender may not always occur at the branch office; they may offer online, or in-home visits for those who need it or have trouble getting out and about due to age or disability.
Face to Face Appointments
If you are looking to release equity in your home, you will likely need a face-to-face appointment. This is because lenders want to make sure they offer the right product for your needs, and this type of meeting allows them more time to ask questions about how releasing equity may impact other parts of your financial plan.
These types of appointments are usually only offered to older people who live in rural areas. This is a rare option because it’s difficult for both parties (lender and borrower) to fully understand the exchange without having a face-to-face conversation.
This undermines one of the main benefits of equity release: providing reassurance by getting all information out on the table so you can make an informed decision about whether releasing equity in your home will help achieve your financial goals.
Video or Online Appointments
Some lenders are now offering video or online appointments. This is particularly in 2021, due to COVID-19. One of the benefits of these types of meetings is that you can speak to your lender from anywhere in the world, so it’s easier than ever before for people who live in remote areas to apply for equity release.
While there may be some initial concerns about how this type of meeting could affect a borrower’s understanding of their financial goals, we believe that as long as both parties take enough time during an appointment and pay close attention to any questions they might have, then all information should be communicated effectively and accurately.
What Do You Need to Prepare For the Initial Appointment?
To get the most from your initial equity release appointment, you must be prepared for what might be discussed.
It can help if you have any documents or information on hand in advance and know which questions the lender will likely ask. For example:
- How much do you want to borrow?
- What are the types of equity release?
- What are the plans available for your age group?
Making Sure You Understand the Terms
It’s also essential that you understand all terms and conditions before signing up for an equity release agreement. This can help prevent any surprises down the line; it could be something as simple as how much interest will accrue on your debt or what happens if house prices drop between now and when you pass away or move into permanent care.
Getting Your Information Ready
The first thing a lender needs to know is whether it’s right offer an equity release product. Having a lot of information on your home and knowing why you want to release equity is always important.
It’ll give them some indication of whether this type of investment is appropriate for your financial situation. You should also have details about other assets you own.
Income, Age, and Mortgage Information
Your equity release provider will want to know if there is anything outstanding on your current mortgage loan; this information should be available on any mortgage statements that relate directly to the property in question.
It’s also important for them to ensure you are over 55, and understand what age group you belong to – if you’re over 65-years-old, they may work differently with those younger because their life expectancy differs from one person to another.
One area they might discuss more thoroughly is how releasing equity could impact your existing pension arrangements; it can affect the amount of tax-free lump sum1 you’ll receive at retirement and your entitlement to a pension.
What Happens at the Initial Appointment?
You will have a chance to ask any questions about the equity release process, and your lender should be able to answer these. Suppose anything is unclear or you feel uncomfortable with their response. In that case, they’ll offer to arrange an appointment for someone else at the firm who can provide more information on that particular topic.
The discussion won’t just involve you – anyone who may benefit from this agreement must know what might happen in the future, so they’re aware of all eventualities before signing up.
This includes other mortgage holders (such as parents) whose income could affect whether the loan meets affordability criteria; if not, alternative solutions are available, such as downsizing2 their property instead of releasing equity, which would provide them with additional funds without losing valuable equity in their home.
What Happens After the Appointment?
At the end of your initial meeting, you should receive a copy of the equity release questionnaire form. This will list all the topics covered and indicate what information you need to provide for them to progress with this mortgage product.
Suppose homeowners were aware of what might happen at their initial appointment. In that case, they may plan accordingly and share any relevant documents or information beforehand, so there are no surprises when it comes time to sign up for an equity release agreement.
It’s also important to understand exactly how releasing equity would affect you before agreeing; some considerations include tax-free lump sum entitlement on retirement pensions, as well as future changes in house prices, which could affect the amount of money they’re able to borrow.
Are There Any Costs Involved in Getting Equity Release Advice?
Many equity release providers offer a free initial appointment to get the ball rolling. After that, there will be a fee to pay. This can come from the funds you release from your home.
Learn about: Equity Release Costs
If you’re considering taking up an equity release agreement, then it’s worth getting advice from more than one provider as there can be significant differences between their products and terms; even seemingly small details, such as interest rates, could have major implications on your finances in future. Therefore make sure you investigate everything thoroughly before signing anything.
4 Main Thing to Consider
When meeting with your equity release provider, you must consider these 3 important questions:
- Ensure that your lender is a member of the Equity Release Council3. This means that you will be protected as the home owner.
- What interest rates the lender can offer. Be sure to get a great deal as interest rates are at an all time low!
- Check what the company offers in terms of penalties, deals and early repayment charges.
- Find out all the costs involved in releasing equity from that company. Some lenders, for example, offer a free valuation.
How Much Equity Do I Need to Be Able to Release?
The amount of equity you need before taking out an agreement will depend on the type of mortgage product and your circumstances.
For example, some lenders may require that homeowners are at least ten years from retirement age to release any equity, while others may not have this as a requirement. This is because releasing funds can affect how much money they’re entitled to receive when they retire.
How Much Does The Application Form cost Me?
This is something that could vary depending on which provider you choose, so it’s important that homeowners shop around first (either by visiting different offices or requesting quotes) before making any final decisions about what they’re going to opt for.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Decision on Equity Release?
This can vary depending on the type of mortgage product and your circumstances, but for most cases, it should only take around four weeks from when you first contact them.
This is because they’ll need time to assess all of the information you provide before making an assessment; at this point, lenders may also ask for further proof such as previous payslips, etc., so plan if possible by getting organized in advance any paperwork required.
What Are The Costs Involved With Taking Out An Equity Release?
The costs involved with taking out an equity release will depend on the product and how much you’re borrowing.
The most important thing to remember is that a charge will be applied each year, which could range from £200-£400 depending on your lender or provider, so factor this into any calculations in advance as it may mean that releasing equity isn’t currently viable for you financially.
If you’re considering an equity release solution, make sure to take the time to understand what equity release entails.
Your initial appointment for consultation should include getting answers to important questions such as how much you might be able to release and what types of equity release plans are available to you.
In addition, look for a plan with low-interest rates, decent early-repayment charges, and ensure that they are a member of the Equity Release Council.