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Finding the best equity release mortgages in the UK

Be careful what you wish for

Finding the best equity release mortgages in the UK will be a time consuming task. And in the end you may decide it's not for you. But if you're weighing up the pros and cons of these products versus downsizing or selling and renting back it's important to get the best information you can.

Conventional equity release services have come in for quite a bit of stick in the press. In 2006, Which? called them "the lifestyle dream that can turn into a nightmare", citing punitive costs and misleading advertising to name but two reasons for staying away.

Some pillars of the financial community such as Halifax Bank Of Scotland (HBoS) are even on record as saying they'll have nothing to do with equity release services - at least until the market becomes mature. In other words - properly regulated.

Finding the best equity release mortgages in the UK..Start by getting unbiased advice

Initially you might be best advised to avoid individual financial services companies offering equity release services or products. And don't rush to sell your house either! Get your bearings.

Once you have your bearings you can also use one of a variety of online tools. These allow you to compare the equity release services and products offered by a range of providers. Just use Google to find them. A useful place to start with is Unbiased and you can also try one of the main UK mortgage portals which will give you an idea of the range of products available.

These provide information which will help you when you're starting out on your quest to find the best equity release mortgages in the UK. But remember. Finding the best equity release mortgages in the UK is a somewhat relative term. In the end it's all about what is right for you, in your circumstances.

There are also a number of no-cost organisations listed on this page here who may be able to help you think through the issues.

When you get to the stage where you need specific information based on your own circumstances, you could do worse than find out if your existing lender (if you have one) provides home equity release products. Also, Help the Aged run an equity release scheme in conjunction with NHFA Ltd.  Their product is in the form of a “Lifetime Mortgage”. You should compare this offering with others, but as always, beware the small print. Consult other family members or speak to friends. This is an important point because even the best equity release mortgages in the UK can have important consequences for your family after you've gone.

The true cost of releasing equity..

One of the reasons equity release services enjoy a poor press is they're sometimes viewed as taking advantage of vulnerable groups of consumers. Of course, it's also important to point out that there is wide-spread variation in the actual cost of these mortgages.

The real costs involved can equate to a very high % of your equity. True, the actual cash cost of the arrangement may not be a number one priority. But with conventional equity release services  because of their long or "lifetime" nature,  it can be difficult to evaluate what the "true" cost is. Of course, it can come down to being a pragmatic decision. But there's no point in throwing money away is there?

Even the best equity release mortgages in the UK may not suit your circumstances. Your alternatives include downsizing or selling and renting back your home and these may be better suited to your circumstances.

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