Equity release is now one of the most popular methods of raising a cash lump sum. The schemes allow people aged over fifty five to leverage the equity in their home to raise cash through a lifetime mortgage scheme or home reversion plan. The initial concern of most people is “what is the maximum equity release”, and while this is an important factor, it should not be your only deciding concern.
What is the Maximum Equity Release Available?
In order to understand what is the maximum equity release available, you will need to be aware of how the lender assesses an application. Equity release schemes can be divided into two different types of plans and each will have different criteria.
- Lifetime mortgages: These schemes are similar to a conventional mortgage with the exception that there is no monthly payment needed. Instead the interest on the loan is compounded onto the loan balance each year. For this reason, the amount of loan available is dependent on factors such as your age, gender and medical health.
- Home reversion: This type of plan is less common and allows home owners to sell all or a part of their home while retaining the right of lifetime residency. These schemes are only available to people aged over sixty five.
Calculating what is the Maximum Equity Release
Calculating what is the maximum equity release is dependent on a number of qualification criteria. Generally, those people who are older will be offered a greater percentage of equity release. Most people will be offered between thirty and fifty percent of the value of their home as a maximum equity release sum. However, this is dependent on a number of other variables.
There are a number of equity release calculators which have been pre-programmed to determine what is the maximum equity release for the specific circumstances of each individual. These are online and free tools which require you to answer questions about yourself and your property. The calculator will then apply this information to a set formula to determine if you qualify and what is the maximum equity release available to you.
Factors Affecting the Maximum Equity Release
There are a number of factors considered by equity release lenders. These include:
- The value of your home: This is used together with the balance of any existing secured loans or mortgage to determine the amount of equity which is available to release. There is a specific loan to value ratio used by the lender to determine eligibility. The lender will also consider how much interest is likely to accrue and ensure that there is sufficient equity to cover this and the initial release sum. This is why equity release sums are restricted to approximately fifty percent of the value, since the compound interest has the potential to double the balance of the loan approximately every eleven years.
- Your age: This information in addition to your gender is used to calculate your potential lifespan and therefore the anticipated duration of the loan. Older people are offered a higher percentage of release as they are deemed to have a shorter lifespan than someone younger. Gender is also a factor since the national averages show that men have a shorter expected lifespan than women.
- Your health: Some schemes will also consider your health. There are enhanced plans offered to those with a serious or terminal medical condition which allow a higher rate of equity release due to the impaired expected lifespan of the applicant.
- The other applicant: In joint applications, the other applicant will also have a dramatic impact on the maximum sum offered. Joint applications are usually based on the information of the youngest applicant since it is estimated that they would outlive their partner. Since equity release offers lifetime residency, even if one party passes away, the other party is still entitled to live in the home for the remainder of their lifetime. Both parties must meet the minimum age criteria of fifty five in order to be eligible.
If you are interested in equity release, what is the maximum equity release sum, is bound to be a question you have already asked. However, it should not be the only deciding factor. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to take a smaller sum or investigate the possibility of draw down schemes which offer an initial sum with a draw down facility if it is required later. This could save you a great deal in the long term in interest payments. It is always worth discussing your options with a specialist adviser who can assist you in assessing the advantages and disadvantages of specific schemes and help you in moving forward.