How long does equity release take from application to completion?
The equity release process usually takes about 8 weeks from getting advice to receiving funds. However, this timeframe can vary depending on your situation, if there are any complications and whether you use an experienced equity release solicitor.
In this article we explain the process of releasing equity from your home, how long it takes and the typical complications that can slow your application down.
How long does the equity release process take: your step by step guide
When you apply for a lifetime mortgage, the most popular type of equity release, the process you go through is tightly controlled to ensure you are fully protected and receive the best advice based on your individual needs.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Your adviser will be there to guide you through the application from start to finish and you are required to seek legal advice from a solicitor of your choice.
Here are your 6 steps:
- Get advice from a qualified specialist
A qualified broker or IFA will talk through your requirements and assess your situation to establish whether releasing equity from your home is the best option. They will guide you through your options, compare plans and present you with the most suitable plan.
How long this part of the process takes will depend on you and the time you need to come to a decision. It may take one or more meetings either over the phone or face to face. Your adviser will provide you with a written illustration detailing costs, how the interest will accumulate and early repayment charges.
Only when you are completely happy to go ahead will you proceed to the next step.
- Apply for your chosen lifetime mortgage
When you are ready to go ahead with your chosen lifetime mortgage, your adviser will complete the application form for you to sign and send it to the mortgage provider. They will also require proof of identification so the lender can carry out the relevant credit checks. Typically this will include a form of identification such as your passport, driving license or birth certificate and proof of your address.
- Arrange a valuation of your home
Once the lender has received your application, they will arrange for an independent surveyor to value the property. You may be required to pay for this service but some companies include an equity release valuation at no extra cost.
It is the surveyors job to assess your property to establish the market value, comparing similar properties that have recently sold in your area and the condition of your home.
- Receive a formal mortgage offer
When your lender has received and is happy with the equity release valuation and your application, you will receive a formal mortgage offer. The offer should be checked by you, your adviser and a solicitor, so make sure you have once in place so you don’t slow the process down.
- Seek legal advice from an equity release solicitor
The time it takes to release equity from your home can be dependent on your how long it takes your solicitor to complete the legal work. Using a specialist equity release solicitor or one that has experience with lifetime mortgages can help speed the process up.
In addition to completing the paperwork, it is the solicitor’s job to make sure you understand and are happy with the conditions of the loan. They will also make the necessary arrangements if you are using equity release to repay an existing mortgage.
You will then be required to sign the agreement so the solicitor can return the documentation to the lender and request a completion date for the funds to be released. How long this part of the process takes will depend on the complexity of your application, but typically you should allow 1 to 2 weeks.
- Complete and receive funds
Once any requisitions (further questions) have been raised by the lenders solicitor and resolved, your lifetime mortgage provider will arrange for the money to be transferred, usually by BACs or CHAPs which is quicker. Any fees would typically be deducted prior to you receiving the funds.
What can delay the equity release process?
The time it takes to release equity from your home with a lifetime mortgage can be delayed, sometimes by months if the situation is complex. Here are some of the more common situations that can slow the equity release process down:
- Property not registered at The Land Registry
- Leasehold property
- Property held in trust
- The title deeds are in the name of a deceased owner
- Unrealistic initial property valuation
- County court judgements and restrictions on the title deeds
If you believe there may be a potential issue which could slow your equity release application process down, speak to your IFA or broker. They will be able to discuss the options available to you and if necessary, give you a more realistic timeframe if they feel your application could be delayed.
What should I do now?
If you are ready to speak to someone about equity release and talk through the timeframes, help is available.
Our equity release help and advice guide explains the options available to you with top on how to make the right decisions.
Alternatively, if you would like to see how much equity you could release from your home, our calculator is free, quick and easy to use.
Or if you’re still uncertain, you may want to consider the pros and cons to help you decide if releasing equity is a good idea for you.