The global pandemic has disturbed every corner of our lives, from health and finances to holidays and ceremonies. Many people have been forced to put plans on hold until further notice.
In these current circumstances, older homeowners looking to access cash tied up in their property are concerned about whether they can still release equity during lockdown and whether it is a good idea to do so.
For some, equity release can provide a vital source of finance during these challenging times when unemployment and loss of income have affected so many.
Releasing equity during lockdown
It is still possible to release equity from your property during lockdown. Equity release lenders, the industry body and solicitors have reacted quickly and risen to the challenges that have presented themselves as a result of the pandemic.
Here are some of the changes that have taken place to facilitate equity release during lockdown:
- Desktop valuations – Physical property valuations are currently not possible due to social distancing rules. Lenders across the sector are now carrying out desktop valuations using existing data on property values coupled with an expert recommendation from a RICS chartered surveyor.
- Telephone advice – Equity release advice is usually given face-to-face; however, many lenders and equity release specialists are now providing advice remotely and over the phone.
- Legal advice – Anyone looking to release equity must seek independent legal advice to ensure they are making a sound and suitable decision for their circumstances. The Equity Release Council, the industry body for the UK equity release sector, recently announced a temporary update to legal advice rules during lockdown. It is usually a requirement for customers to receive legal advice in a face-to-face setting, however, the council’s temporary measures allow legal advice to be given remotely. Learn more about the new process here.
Should you release equity during lockdown?
When you release equity from your property the cash is yours to spend however you like. Some of the most popular reasons for equity release include:
- To make home improvements
- To repay existing mortgage debt
- To clear credit cards and loans
- To live a more comfortable lifestyle during retirement
It is important that you seek advice from an independent financial adviser to make sure that your decision is appropriate for your financial circumstances, not only now, but for the long term. There are some reasons why people release equity that might not be such a good idea during these current times. For example, to buy a new car, to book a holiday or to make home improvements that are not essential to your wellbeing.
If you would like to learn more about equity release and to discuss your options, call Barry Leigh, one of our Equity Release Specialists, on 07980210953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re one of our clients and would like some guidance, or if you’re an introducer looking for advice on behalf of your clients, please feel free to get in touch with Barry Leigh.