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A lifetime mortgage is secured against your home, think carefully before securing debts against it. Ask for a personalised illustration to fully understand the risks and benefits before considering.

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Overall Representative Example for a Lifetime Mortgage from Fluent Lifetime

Most Fluent Lifetime customers have received a fixed annual interest rate of 2.84% or lower, based on an average loan size of £50.000, the overall cost for comparison is 3.2% APRC.

The information contained on this page has been approved for the purposes of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by Fluent Lifetime Ltd, an appointed representative of Fluent Mortgages Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 458914.

A lifetime mortgage is a form of equity release. Think carefully before securing your home against debts which you could lose if you fail to meet the terms of that mortgage. Check the mortgage meets your needs if you want to move or sell your home, or you want your family to inherit it. Liftetime mortgages can affect tax and benefits. See a personalised illustration from a qualified lifetime mortgage adviser..

Fluent Lifetime is a Lifetime Mortgage broker, not a lender. They are not limited in the range of lifetime mortgages they will consider for you. Fluent Lifetime does not offer home reversion plans. Fluent Lifetime Ltd. Registered in England and Wales. Company Registration No.11226852. Data Protection Reference number ZA451714. Registered Office: 102 Rivington House, Chorley New Road, Horwich, Bolton BL6 5UE. Telephone 01204 472060

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Information written by Holly Bennett Last updated on 06 December 2021.

What is a lifetime mortgage?

A lifetime mortgage is a type of equity release that lets you unlock cash tied up in your home without having to move, if you’re 55 or over.

You borrow against a portion of the value of your home and take the money as a lump sum or in smaller amounts, or both, and interest is charged on the amount you borrow. Monthly repayments are optional because the loan plus interest can instead be fully paid off when you die or move into long-term care, or when your home is sold.

The interest the lender charges will either be a fixed rate, meaning the rate won’t ever change, or, if it’s a variable rate, the interest rate can’t ever exceed a set cap.

The amount you can access with an equity release loan is based on the value of your home, which must be your main residence. How much you can borrow also depends on things like your age, medical history and lifestyle factors. If you have a specific health condition or smoke, for example, you may be offered an enhanced lifetime mortgage, where you can borrow more and get a lower rate of interest, based on life expectancy. You’ll need to answer all health questions accurately, and the provider may check the information with your doctor.

You can continue to live in your home until you die or move into permanent, long-term care. If you take out a joint equity release plan with your partner, one of you can stay even after the other passes away.

You don’t have to be mortgage-free to get a lifetime mortgage, but if you have any mortgage left to pay on the property, you’ll usually need to use the lump sum for that first. Otherwise, you can use the money however you like, but it might go towards:

  • home renovations.
  • a more comfortable retirement.
  • a family holiday or a leisure activity.
  • private health treatment or care bills.
  • a cash gift for family members.

What to consider when choosing a lifetime mortgage

When comparing providers’ lifetime mortgage plans, or calculating how much you could borrow, you should keep in mind:

  • The amount of equity you need to release.
  • Whether you want to access it as a lump sum or as smaller amounts, or both.
  • The value of the property you’re securing the loan against.
  • Your age, and the age of your partner, if it’s a joint application.
  • If you’re mortgage-free or have some left to pay.
  • If you want to ring fence an amount for inheritance.
  • If the interest is fixed or variable.

If you think equity release might be right for you, you should consider comparing it to other options as well, and talk to a qualified equity release financial adviser. They can help you find the most cost-effective plan for you, or suggest alternative ways to raise the cash.

As well as the interest rate charged, you’ll have initial setup costs, including adviser fees, arrangement fees, legal fees and surveyor’s valuation fees.

You can try our equity release calculator to get an idea of how much equity you could potentially release, but for a personalised illustration speak to an adviser.

Equity Release FAQs

What is equity in a house?

House equity is the amount you own outright, mortgage-free. It’s the difference between the value of your property and how much you still owe on your mortgage.

With a repayment mortgage, the level of equity you own in your home increases as you pay it off. If your property also increases in value, the amount of equity you hold will increase, too.

What is equity release?

Equity release is a way of accessing wealth that’s tied up in your home without needing to move, and there are two types of product: a lifetime mortgage and home reversion plan.

The most common form of equity release is a lifetime mortgage and is available if you’re aged 55 or over. You can take the cash as a tax-free lump sum or in smaller amounts up to the maximum amount agreed, and interest will be applied to the loan amount as and when you borrow it. You can stay living in your home for the rest of your life, or until you move into long-term care.

You don’t usually pay back the loan over time, like a traditional mortgage. The loan amount and interest is usually repaid in full when you die or move into a care home, and the house is sold. Though some lenders will allow you to repay some interest, or interest and capital before then, depending on the plan you choose.

What are the different types of equity release?

Lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans are the two main types of equity release. Our comparison service is meant to help people who are looking for a lifetime mortgage.

Lifetime mortgage: With this type of equity release, you take out a loan which is a percentage of the value of your property. You take the cash either in one tax-free lump sum at the start or in smaller payments, or both. You may also have the option to increase the amount you’ve borrowed in time, up to a maximum sum agreed.

The lender charges interest on the loan, which usually rolls up and is added to the total loan value. This is called compound interest. So unlike a traditional repayment mortgage, interest is calculated on the loan and interest already added, so what you owe soon increases. Some plans let you make repayments to help cover the interest, or even some of the capital. You may also be able to reserve some of the property’s value for inheritance.

The lender is repaid when you die or move into a care home, once the house is sold. Any remaining amount can be left to beneficiaries you name in your will. You keep full ownership of the property until then.

Home reversion plan: This option is less common and isn’t a loan. Instead, you sell some or all of your property to the lender at below the market rate. Though it depends on your age, you’ll typically only get between 30% and 60% of your property’s market value. You usually need to be 60 or over to take out a home reversion plan.

You receive a tax-free cash lump sum or regular payments, or both, and can stay living in your home, rent-free, as a tenant, without any interference from the provider. You also remain responsible for the upkeep of your home.

When you die or go into long-term care, your home is sold and the home reversion provider gets their share of the proceeds from your estate, with anything remaining going to your beneficiaries.

If you’re considering home reversion, find out what happens if you die soon after taking out a plan, as some plans will offer a rebate, known as capital protection.

Is releasing equity a good idea?

If your home has grown in value since you first bought it, equity release may seem a useful, immediate way to unlock that cash.

It shouldn’t be taken lightly, though, so make sure you weigh up the alternatives and take advice from a qualified equity release adviser or independent mortgage broker. The Financial Conduct Authority regulates equity release, which means providers and advisers of these plans have to meet clear standards. You can only take out equity release through an independent adviser.

Be aware that if you take out equity release:

  • It may impact your eligibility for means-tested state benefits, like pension credit and council tax reductions.
  • It will reduce how much inheritance you can leave to loved ones.
  • Compared with selling it on the open market, you won’t get the full value of your home.
  • Compound interest mounts up over time, which means paying a high amount of interest on top of the original loan by the end of the agreement.
  • You’ll usually need to pay an arrangement fee and other charges at the outset, including the cost of legal advice.

Most lifetime mortgages offer a no negative equity guarantee. Plans approved by the Equity Release Council come with this as standard. This means the total amount owed will never be more than the value of the property, even if the value drops substantially. Make sure this is mentioned in the terms and conditions of your deal.

» MORE: Is equity release a good idea?

Is there a better alternative to equity release?

You should consider other ways to unlock the value of your home or raise the cash you need before taking out equity release, which may not be the cheapest way to borrow. Alternatives might include:

  • Moving to a home that costs less, perhaps in a cheaper area, or by downsizing.
  • Remortgaging, where your lender agrees you can borrow more than you currently owe on a mortgage. Though older borrowers may find it harder to pass affordability checks, and a bigger mortgage will increase monthly repayments.
  • A retirement interest-only mortgage, which lets you remortgage an interest-only mortgage in later life without interest rolling up.
  • An unsecured or other secured loan, which you repay over time.
  • Grants from the government for making your home energy efficient or for other improvements.
  • Considering if family or friends could provide financial support.
  • Drawing on any investments, savings or other assets.

Can I sell my house if I have a lifetime mortgage?

You can sell your house if you have a lifetime mortgage and ask to transfer your equity release to the new property, if it meets your lender’s criteria and is considered a suitable alternative property. For example, your lender may ask questions about when and how it was built, to reduce the risk of structural problems in the future that could affect the value when it’s sold.

If your provider doesn’t allow this, or you don’t want to transfer your loan, you’ll need to pay off the whole amount when you sell your property.

Can I buy a house with a lifetime mortgage?

It’s possible to use a lifetime mortgage to help raise funds to buy a new home. This could mean using the equity from the sale of a property, or other savings, as a deposit, and using a lifetime mortgage to make up the rest of the purchase price. So it could make up the shortfall if you’re looking to move to a more expensive home.

What is Fluent Lifetime?

Fluent Lifetime is an equity release and later life broker that’s part of Fluent Money Group, based in Greater Manchester. It was awarded Best Financial Adviser in the five or fewer advisers category at the 2021 Equity Release Awards.

What services does Fluent Lifetime offer?

You can talk to Fluent Lifetime’s qualified equity release advisers about your personal circumstances and the options available, and ask them any questions you might have. If equity release isn’t right for you, they’ll tell you.

They’ll search the market and compare suitable plans and, after a second chat, if you decide you want to go ahead, they will prepare the paperwork. An independent solicitor will check the agreement before you sign. It usually takes eight to 10 weeks for the whole process, from application to the money being released.

You can use the MyFluent app to track your application online, get in touch with your case manager, and carry out electronic ID checks to speed things up.

All plans recommended by Fluent Lifetime have a ‘no negative equity’ guarantee, so you’ll never owe more than your home’s value.

Fluent Lifetime does not offer home reversion plans.

About the author:

Holly champions clear, jargon-free writing. She’s been creating finance content for leading organisations for over 10 years, with expertise in insurance, wills and probate, and all things health. Read more

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