09 December 2020

Do you qualify for equity release?

7 min read


If you are considering releasing equity from your home, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Are aged 55 or over
  • Want to borrow at least £10,000
  • Own your home and it’s worth at least £70,000
  • Are able to clear any existing mortgage on the property, either using the equity released or additional funds. Clearing an existing mortgage is one of the most common reasons to release equity.

What is equity release?

Equity refers to the value of your home minus any mortgages or loans secured against it. Equity release allows you to take advantage of that value in your home as a tax-free lump sum.

If you want to get an estimate of how much equity you can release, why not use the equity release calculator? You just need to provide your age, your home's estimated value and your contact details. You will then receive an estimate of how much you could release with a Lifetime Mortgage, the most popular equity release product. With this, you can release a tax-free lump sum from your home, without having to sell it.

The equity release calculator is provided by Responsible Life, the provider of Royal London’s Later Life Lending Service. They are market-leading specialists who can offer advice on a variety of financial products.

What impacts how much I can borrow?


The value of your home

The amount of equity that you can release is largely dependent on the value of your home. The higher its value, the more equity you hold to take advantage of.

The condition of your home is also important to a lender. If you decide to proceed and apply to release equity, the lender will arrange for an independent survey of your home, like they would with a traditional mortgage. The survey will ensure that your home is indeed habitable, confirm the value and that it is suitable to borrow money against.

As a successful release on your home is dependent on it passing this survey, you should not commit to any spending related to your released equity until the money is in your account.

Your age

Alongside your home’s value, your age is the next most important thing that will help to determine exactly how much you can release. The amount that can be released is directly affected by the age of the youngest homeowner.

The older they are, the more of your home’s value will be available to you as a tax-free sum.

The amount of money that you want to release

Equity release might not be the right option for you if you want to borrow more than is available based on your age and home’s value. If this is the case however, then releasing equity could still form part of your financial planning if you can make up the difference by other means.

To find out how much could be available to you, why not use the equity release calculator provided by Responsible Life? It can give you an indication of how much you could release, as well as ensure that you receive a free guide by post and email.

Your financial details

One of the advantages of releasing equity is the flexibility that it allows, particularly with a Lifetime Mortgage. While you will have the option to make payments, there is no requirement for you to do so and you can choose to let the interest build up over time instead. The mortgage is then repaid when the home is sold, either when you die or enter permanent long-term care. Bear in mind though that releasing equity could reduce the value of your estate and affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.

As making payments is entirely up to you, there is no need for an affordability assessment, and your credit history may be less of a factor than it would be with other types of mortgage lending. This would depend on your situation, and the lender’s terms and conditions, but these will be explained further by an adviser provided by Responsible Life.

Whilst you can’t release equity while bankrupt, there are options for those with poor credit histories, or other complicated financial situations like county court judgements (CCJs). You will just have access to fewer lenders.

The location of your home

The amount of equity that you can release from your home is also affected by where in the UK you live. Some lenders do not offer Equity Release products in Northern Ireland, meaning there are fewer available to you.

The best way to find out how your location might impact any potential released equity is to contact Responsible Life’s Information Team on 0800 023 9311. The equity release calculator will also put you in touch with them, while giving you an estimate of the amount that you could release.

Their Information Team can’t offer you financial advice, but can help you to consider other financial options including Retirement Interest-Only Mortgages and traditional mortgages, before arranging an appointment with an adviser if you are ready to proceed.

Got a question? The Responsible Life team are here to help

0800 023 9311

Free from UK landlines and mobiles

Mon to Fri: 9am-8pm. Sat: 9am-5pm.

Royal London have chosen Responsible Life to provide our customers with advice on Later Life Lending products. The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited has a 30% shareholding in Responsible Life and Responsible Lending (Responsible Group) and are part of the same group under FCA disclosure rules.

Responsible Life Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (https://register.fca.org.uk/) under reference 610205.

If you choose a mortgage with required repayments during your lifetime then your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up with the payments. A Lifetime Mortgage will impact the value of your estate and could affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

To understand the features and risks, ask for a Personalised Illustration. Responsible Life’s adviser will talk through the setting up costs of a mortgage before you make any decision to proceed. Only if you choose to proceed and your case completes will Responsible Life charge an advice fee, currently not exceeding £1,690.

If you take out a product recommended by Responsible Life, Royal London Marketing Limited will receive a fee, for this introduction. If you would like further details about this fee, Responsible Life will be able to provide you with this. More information about Responsible Life and how your information is processed is available on their privacy notice. Find out how Royal London manages your personal data.

Royal London Marketing Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 302391. Registered in England and Wales number 4414137.

Responsible Life's registered office is: Mills Bakery, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, PL1 3GE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 7162252.