So you have now decided that you want or need some capital and you feel that one option would be to release the money from your home via an Equity Release plan.
You have considered the two main types of Equity Release, the Home Reversion and The Lifetime Mortgage and now you want to move to the next stage.
For many, this will involve internet searches which may be directly to the lenders such as Aviva or L&G directly or you may try to obtain more information on interest rates and how much money you can release from your property from comparison sites but wherever your search starts, it should end with you seeing a fully qualified Equity Release adviser.
I mentioned earlier that one approach would be to find an adviser via the Equity Release Council website. An advantage of this is that the Council is set up to ‘promote high standards of conduct and practice in the provision of and advice on equity release’.
and they expect advisers to
- Ensure that all their actions promote public confidence in equity release as a potential retirement solution
- Act at all times in utmost good faith
- Communicate high expectations for equity release outcomes in all their dealings
- Ensure conflicts of interest are managed fairly and reduced to the lowest practical level
- Exercise due skill, care and diligence in all that they do and uphold the standards set out by their professional bodies at all times
- Always act with the best interests of their clients being paramount, treating customers fairly in all their actions.
It is also expected that both providers and advisers comply fully with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) rules governing the advice and sale of equity release products. These rules include the requirement that all customers who buy equity release plans are fully advised by a qualified adviser.
So what will seeing an adviser provide you with? Initially it may just involve a telephone conversation to clarify a few general points but once you require specific information and advice, this is likely to involve a face-to-face meeting which could last an hour or two depending on your circumstances.
During this meeting there would be a discussion around your specific aims and long term goals and would include for example, questions around your state of health, your personal finances, your current property and your family and why you are looking to raise money. With this and other relevant information, the adviser would then be in a much better position to provide you with the advice you need as to the type of plan and the benefits and features which would best suit your needs.