What do the top equity release companies have in common?
Dealing with any of the UK’s top equity release companies will bring you reassurance, peace of mind and flexibility:
All of the UK’s best equity release providers, advisers and brokers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is the UK’s financial services regulator and watchdog, responsible for supervising the equity release market.
Always make sure you deal with an equity release broker, adviser or provider authorised and regulated by the FCA. This requires them to follow strict rules and a code of conduct designed to protect you. For more information, see our guide: ‘How is equity release regulated?’
The Equity Release Council (ERC) has established itself as the UK industry body setting standards to protect consumers. Equity release brokers and advisers who are ERC members commit to giving you ‘fair, simple and complete’ information about the plans they recommend. This includes the costs involved, tax implications and what happens if you move home.
Brokers and advisers who are ERC members also commit to offering you products that best suit your needs. This includes advising you if alternatives to equity release might be more suitable and cost-effective.
As members of the ERC, the UK’s best equity release providers have all agreed to build certain consumer rights into their equity release plans. These are known as product standards:
- A ‘no negative equity’ guarantee: you or your estate will never owe more than the property is worth when it is sold
- The right to stay in your home for the rest of your life, or until moving into permanent residential long-term care
- The right to move home, as long as the new property meets the provider’s lending criteria.
- The right to make voluntary and penalty-free partial loan repayments
- For a lifetime mortgage, interest rates must be fixed or variable and capped at an upper limit
The equity release marketplace has seen significant product innovation in recent years. The best equity release providers have developed their products to give consumers more choice and flexibility.
For example, you can choose between taking a one-off lump sum or a series of cash releases as and when you need them with a drawdown plan. The availability of interest-only plans also means you can bring down the overall cost of equity release.
Other innovative features and plans from the top equity release companies include:
- Inheritance protection where you ringfence a percentage of your property’s value as an inheritance for your loved ones
- No early repayment charges in certain circumstances, such as if you move after a stated period of time from the date you take out your plan
- Buy-to-let and second home lifetime mortgages
- More competitive interest rates for ill health or certain lifestyle choices with an enhanced lifetime mortgage
We can help you find out more about the products and features available from the UK’s best equity release providers. Read our company guides (see below), call us on 0800 096 2215 or request a call back. Our selected advisers can also talk you through what’s available and obtain competitive quotes for you to consider.