Best equity release company reviews
For your protection, the best equity release companies should be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and members of the Equity Release Council (ERC), but what else should you look for when choosing the best company for you?
Equity Release is a way over 55s can use the money tied up in their home to improve their finances in later life. However, choosing the best equity release company can be a daunting task given the options available.
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Equity release reviews - the things you need to know
Our equity release reviews have been created to help you understand more about the providers, brokers and banks who offer these products. All of the equity release companies included in our reviews are members of the Equity Release Council and offer plans that are regulated by the FCA.
Each review includes information on the company’s background, awards they may have won, eligibility and the range of products they offer. They also include additional information we think may be of importance such as how interest is calculated.
The majority of providers offer two types of equity release plan although the details may vary:
- A Lifetime Mortgage
- A Home Reversion Plan
For the purpose of our reviews, we will focus on Lifetime Mortgages and the equity release companies who provide them, as this is the most popular way of releasing money.
For more information on home reversion plans, read our helpful guide.
Who are the top equity release companies?
The best equity release companies include lifetime mortgage providers, banks, brokers and companies that partner with brokers, often referred to as associates. They are all members of the Equity Release Council so you can be sure the lifetime mortgages they offer adhere with their rules and standards and are regulated by the FCA.
Top equity release companies and banks:
Aviva - Lifetime mortgages give you the option to either release a one off cash sum from £15,000, or release an initial lump sum from £10,000 with a cash reserve of at least £5,000.
Canada Life - Has a range of lifetime mortgages that allow you to repay some of the loan each year, add a cash reserve, choose downsizing protection or guarantee an inheritance for family.
Just - The ‘Just for you lifetime mortgage’ gives you the opportunity to release a cash lump sum with a cash reserve facility for you to use as and when you need it. The minimum amount you can borrow is £10,000 or £20,000 if you prefer to make monthly repayments.
Legal & General - Offer two types of lifetime mortgage. The first lets you repay the loan once you have died or moved into long term care. The second gives you the option to repay some or all of the interest.
LV - Equity release services are provided by Simply Lifetime Mortgages who are appointed representatives of Age Partnership. Their mortgages allow you to either release a cash lump sum, or release equity as and when you need it.
More2Life - Have a number of lifetime mortgage options that offer cash facilities, inheritance and downsizing protection and fixed early repayment charges.
Nationwide - Is one of only 2 banks to offer equity release. In addition to lifetime mortgages, Nationwide also offer a retirement interest only mortgage and a retirement capital and interest mortgage.
One Family - Offer a range of lifetime mortgages. They also have a team of equity release advisers located throughout the country who compare and provide advice on products available throughout the whole of the market.
Pure Retirement - Offer a wide choice of equity release products and flexibility through their Sovereign, Heritage, Heritage Freedom, Classic and Emerald ranges.
Responsible Lending - Offer four types of equity release that give you the option to take a lump sum payment or drawdown money as you need it. They also offer premier plans for higher property values and fee paid plans that help you secure a lower interest rate.
Scottish Widows - Is the second of two banks to offer equity release. In addition to offering their services through Scottish widows, they also provide equity release services for Lloyds Bank and the Halifax.
Standard Life - Is a trading name of Key Retirement Solutions who have their own range of Key branded lifetime mortgages. The advice you receive from Standard Life is from ‘Modern Lending Advisors Limited’, an appointed representative of Key Retirement Solutions.
Top equity release brokers and associates:
Age Partnership - Age Partnership are national equity release brokers that work with a number of leading equity release providers. They offer their services direct to the consumer and through their associations with companies like Over50choices.
Key - Offer a range of branded lifetime mortgages in addition to advice on later life and estate planning products.
Saga - Saga equity release services are provided by Hub Financial Solutions, which is part of the Just Group PLC.
Sunlife - Sunlife equity release is provided by Standard Life which is a trading name of Key Retirement Solutions.
So which banks do equity release?
The banks that offer equity release are Nationwide and Scottish Widows, which is part of the Lloyds Banking group. You can get equity release through other banks such as Lloyds, RBS, and Halifax but it won’t be a direct service as they don’t have their own plans.
Nationwide and Scottish Widows are the only banks that offer their own lifetime mortgage products, so if you use their equity release service, you will only be advised about their plans. Therefore, if you want to compare a range of lifetime mortgage providers, you may wish to consider speaking to a qualified IFA who works with a number of companies, or an equity release broker.
What do equity release brokers do?
Equity release brokers typically work with a number of equity release providers, so they can compare lifetime mortgages to get the best deal for you. They usually offer free initial advice which includes reviewing your personal circumstances to see if releasing equity is the right option for you.
Which is the best equity release company?
The best equity release company will depend on your requirements and situation. Comparing equity release providers and reading reviews will give a greater understanding of what each one has to offer. It’s also worth considering what type of plan you need. Do you want flexibility to repay some or all of the interest on a monthly basis, or perhaps to pay the loan off altogether if your situation changes?
Our guides, equity release reviews and comparisons are designed to help you understand more about releasing equity. However, it may also help to talk things through with a specialist.
We work in association with Age Partnership, an equity release specialist who compare lifetime mortgage interest rates and products with a selection of the UK’s leading providers. They can compare equity release on your behalf and could potentially save you hundreds or thousands of pounds in interest over the course of the plan by securing a lower rate than you may have found elsewhere.
As you will see from our Age Partnership equity release review, they provide free, no obligation advice; you only pay if you decide to go ahead. They can guide you through your options, compare plans and advise you on the best course of action.
Alternatively you can find details for other specialist brokers, IFAs and providers on the Equity Release Council’s ‘find a member’ website.