You may have researched and settled that releasing equity on your home may be the best option to achieve your financial goals and plan your estate. However, the eager question would likely be how long it would take to unlock your capital.
Equity release can be a more meticulous process, given the number of steps involved. So how long does equity release take?
Let’s gauge the timeframe by looking at how to get started.
Every journey starts with a single step, or so the saying goes. Nothing is different about applying for an equity release.
You’ve probably considered that equity release is a good idea to unlock the capital you need. Those funds released to some of the value of your home can help achieve the goals of your long-term financial planning.
However, you’ve also seen some complexities in applying for and managing an equity release loan.
All the information about the process may be overwhelming, leaving many not knowing where to get started in applying for the plan. The most straightforward approach to a successful equity release is to speak to a financial advisor first and discuss your needs.
After that initial conversation, you’ll follow a general process to unlock the desired capital against your home’s value.
So before wondering how long everything will take, you’ll need to know what phases make up the equity release process. We’ve outlined the seven stages of an equity release application, from the first conversations to receiving funds.
Discover each phase and more details of the equity release process below.
The best way to get started on the equity release application process is to seek advice from an independent financial specialist. There are a couple of reasons that having a professional by your side can benefit the entire process. These include a comprehensive industry review to find your best plan and unbiased answer to any queries.
Many financial advisors are available, but it’s best to choose the one you trust to ensure a more seamless equity release journey. Once selected, they’ll consult on equity release options that sync with your financial circumstances and lifestyle.
Your advisor will search the market for the best equity release plans for you and narrow down a few choices. They will also present options for the two main types of equity release, a lifetime mortgage or a home reversion scheme.
The specialist will advise which one may be the better option given your circumstances and what plans’ features best suit your financial goals. You should receive concise documentation outlining the expenses, drawbacks, positives, and details behind the equity release plans.
Once you’ve decided on the most suitable plan, you can begin the application process.
Next up is to complete the equity release application that the plan’s provider will give. You will have to allow your financial advisor to complete the paperwork on your behalf. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules state that equity release applications are “strictly an advised process.”
Once the provider has received your application, they’ll proceed to carry out a personal verification and credit check against the applicant. When all looks good on their behalf, they’ll move on to the property valuation stage to gauge your home’s value.
The value of your home is integral to the equity release process as it’s the security against the loan or sale, whether it’s a lifetime mortgage or home reversion scheme. It will also determine the cash you’ll get upon equity release.
The provider will send a surveyor to value the property at the applicant’s expense (sometimes free, depending on the provider). They will analyse the following information:
The surveyor will then give the provider all the necessary information for them to make an offer on your chosen equity release plan. They’ll provide you with a recommendation based on the property’s valuation, personal, and financial circumstances.
After you receive an offer from the provider for your desired equity release plan, the stages that wrap up the process begin. Generally, your financial advisor and a solicitor will receive a copy of the offer to discuss the details and ensure that the scheme is in your interests.
Both may request an in-person meeting to finalise any outstanding queries, information, and details about the offer. Once all looks good to yourself, the professionals and the provider’s criteria have been satisfied; you can accept the offer.
Once the offer gets accepted, it’s time to finalise your equity release. Your solicitor will liaise with the provider’s legal team to set up the terms of your plan (i.e. what happens with your equity release loan after you die).
They will also go through all the rules and regulations regarding your agreed plan. That’s to ensure you completely understand what happens with your capital and any other vital information surrounding your scheme.
Once all criteria and processes are satisfied with your professionals and the provider and all outstanding equity release fees are settled, you’ll receive your funds. Suppose you’ve taken out a lifetime mortgage or home reversion scheme. In that case, you won’t have any requirement for repayments until your house gets sold upon death or moving into long-term care.
There are scenarios where you can repay equity release loans early, covered in our article ‘Can I Pay Back Equity Release?’. Otherwise, you’re free to disperse the funds as you see fit.
It’s critical to note that not every process is as seamless as outlined. There may be hindering factors behind the application. However, we’ve given a general idea of how it works and will state how long it usually takes in the next section.
We compare plans from the leading equity release providers
There are generally two queries behind how long equity release takes. One surrounds the entire process, and the other in how long you’ll need to get the equity release advice you need from a professional. The advice and process are the two most significant portions of getting equity release, so how long will they take?
The advice part of the process doesn’t take too long once you’ve secured your preferred financial professional. You’ll likely attend two meetings that can span one to two hours each.
You’ll spend four hours spread across a couple of days before submitting your equity release application.
Once you’ve settled the details with your financial advisor, you’ll likely wonder how long the rest of the procedure will take. There are many factors to account for, primarily since not every provider operates the same. Still, you can generally expect an eight-week timeframe from the point of application to receiving funds.
Some providers will be lightning quick on the job with a three-week turnaround. Others will be slower where there are complexities, meaning the process could be months. It all depends on your circumstances, the provider’s response times, and how many hurdles appear during the process.
So when will you get the cash you need considering the varying application times?
When your equity release plan gets agreed upon, there are still a couple of procedures to satisfy. Your solicitors will address all outstanding work on the legal side before the money gets transferred to your account. The solicitors need to iron out the terms and title checks which can take a couple of weeks, up to four if the title is particularly complex.
After all the checks are complete, you’ll receive your funds in your nominated bank account stated during the application process.
We’ve mentioned here can be potential roadblocks and challenges to applying for an equity release; what could slow down the application process?
Equity release can be a beneficial plan for your finances but may not be as straightforward as you’d like. Potential hurdles may hinder the application process and cause longer waiting times.
Issues that your equity release application may face include:
Other more specific obstacles can get in the way of your equity release loan. However, the issues mentioned above are some of the most commonly shared. But outside of the problems, are there any ways to speed up the process?
Sometimes matters, as detailed as equity release applications, should take as long as they need to take to avoid complications. However, you may have a deadline for when you need your capital or other matters driving for a speedier application process.
So is it possible to make an equity release application quicker? Suppose you need your equity release capital fast. In that case, this should get discussed with your financial advisor, but generally, there are ways to streamline the process.
These mainly come in the form of flexibility and preparation for the equity release application, including:
Of course, there’s no guarantee that these factors will speed up the process. However, being prepared and flexible can’t help speed up the application more often.
So finally, we get to the more concerning question of whether the obstacles in the equity release path prove too much. Can you be flat out refused in an equity release application?
It’s not common to get refused for equity release as most applicants will eventually meet the provider’s criteria. However, you can get denied an equity release loan in some circumstances.
Here are some of the most common reasons why an applicant may have their equity release refused:
So if the provider denies your equity release application, what happens next?
Suppose you get rejected from an equity release application. In that case, it’s essential to know that it isn’t the end of the road to unlocking capital against your home. You can speak to a professional who will advise on overcoming the obstacles that caused the refusal, or you can seek out alternatives.
We outline the alternatives to equity release in this article here. But since you read this article about how long equity release takes, you may wonder if any of those alternatives are quicker than the existing process?
We’d argue that there isn’t any better or quicker alternative to equity release. However, there might be options more suited to your circumstances.
Arguably, some options like renting a room, applying for a credit card, and a secured loan could be quicker alternatives. But again, they may have hindrances that slow the process, just as an equity release application may have.
You can discuss potential options with your financial advisor or visit our ‘Alternatives to Equity Release’ page to find out more about what’s possible.