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How long does equity release take?

Equity release is the process of turning the equity in your home into cash. But the process isn't instant, it can take a few weeks or months before you can access the money.

What is equity release?

There are two ways to release equity from your home:

  • taking out a loan against part of it, with a lifetime mortgage, or
  • selling part of it, with a home reversion plan.

A lifetime mortgage is the most popular form of equity release. This is a loan that you'll pay back to the lender when your home is sold either when you die or when you go into long-term care (for example a care home). You'll still own your home in full until it's sold.

With a home reversion plan, you sell a portion of your home. When your home is sold when you die or go into long-term care, the buyer will get their share of the money.

With both products, you can choose to get the money in a lump sum or in instalments.

The money you release from your home with a lifetime mortgage can affect your entitlement to means-tested state benefits. A lifetime mortgage will also reduce the amount of inheritance you'll leave behind.

To take out equity release you'll need to speak with an equity release adviser. They'll talk you through your options, and will help you to find the right solution for your circumstances.

Find out more about equity release: What is equity release and how does it work?

How long does it take to release equity?

A lifetime mortgage application usually takes between 5 and 8 weeks in total. The process involves a lot of legal work and how long it takes will depend on how efficient and experienced your solicitor is.

If you want to keep delays to a minimum, it's worth taking some time to find a solicitor who is experienced in equity release.

The key stages of equity release

1. Consultation

Lifetime mortgages can only be taken out through a qualified, regulated adviser. They'll discuss your unique situation to find out if equity release could be a suitable option.

They'll also answer any questions or concerns you have. At this stage, your adviser might be able to estimate how much money you could release and offer some early suggestions.

2. Fact find

If you’re happy to go ahead after your consultation, your adviser will look into your finances in more depth.

They'll discuss your priorities to help you decide if equity release is right for you and whether you'd prefer a lump sum or to get your money in instalments.

3. Presentation

Based on the information your adviser has gathered, they'll then research equity release products from across the market to find the ones that meet your needs.

They'll present their recommendations to you and explain how the products differ.

4. Application

Once your adviser has made you aware of the benefits and risks of their recommendation, it’s decision time.

When you’ve weighed up the options, your adviser will complete the application with you and send it to the provider.

5. Valuation

Your provider will assess your application, do credit references and they'll send an independent surveyor to value your home.

6. Mortgage offer

As long as the provider is happy with their valuation of your home and your application, they’ll send you a mortgage offer.

You and your adviser will work with a solicitor to check that everything is in order. Your solicitor will then complete the legal work.

7. Solicitor's appointment

Before completing on your lifetime mortgage, you'll need to meet with your solicitor, either at the solicitor's office or in your own home.

During the appointment the solicitor will make sure you understand the agreement that you're entering, take copies of your ID and arrange for you to sign the mortgage offer acceptance.

8. Completion

Once all legal work is complete and the mortgage offer is signed, your lender will arrange a date to send the money to your solicitor.

In most cases, all legal and adviser fees will be taken out of the money that's released on completion so the money you are sent will be all yours.

The legalities of equity release

Releasing equity from your home is a major decision. To protect you, the Equity Release Council says in its rules and guidance that you must have independent legal advice as part of the equity release application process.

The equity release solicitor’s role begins when you’ve received what providers refer to as an ‘offer’.

They'll carry out an identity check and check the title deeds and other paperwork related to your property to comply with money laundering regulations.

Paying off your mortgage with equity release

If you're paying off an existing mortgage with the money you've released, your solicitor will make this payment.

They'll arrange a completion date with your lender and transfer the money into your bank account.


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Important: The loan amounts above are an illustration of the amount you could borrow. The actual amount may vary depending on your individual circumstances. The figures are not guaranteed and do not constitute an offer to lend.

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