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RoyaleLife CEO Robert Bull Warns of the Dangers of Early Equity Release

Equity release may seem like a good strategy in the short term, but the CEO of the UK’s largest provider of bungalow living for the over 45’s warns that the practice is, for many people, not the ideal financial strategy.

The issue is that while equity release on the face of it saves on payments during the first few years, the longer the agreements last, the more you will end up paying. That means less money is passed on to your loved ones, friends and charitable causes when you pass away.

What Is Equity Release?

Equity release is available to those aged 55 and over and is a series of options that allow you to gain access to the cash that is tied up in your home. With equity release agreements, you gain access to the money you release, either as a lump sum payment, in smaller increments or a combination of both.

Supporters claim that it is a way for you to remain in your home while gaining access to funds as a one-time, or steady stream of income, to be used for regular expenses, to pay off debts, or improve your lifestyle.

While on the surface equity release may seem like a simple way to increase your spending power, there are serious downsides. Robert Bull, the chief executive of RoyaleLife, warns that equity release plans can be fraught with problems.

Robert notes that equity release plans are not like conventional mortgages, which are often paid off over the duration of the loan. Equity release plans work differently where the loan, along with accrued interest, is paid back later. That timing is usually when the borrower passes away or transfers into long-term care. This is a real concern, as it means that families must address a major financial issue while dealing with difficult emotional transitions for themselves and their loved ones.

Calling the back-loaded financial obligation a “sting in the tail,” Robert Bull worries that equity release plans can mean that older homeowners may end up having nothing to pass on to children, grandchildren and loved ones when the time comes.

The Disadvantages of Equity Release Plans

There are several equity release pitfalls that should be considered before making this critical financial decision. Consider the following:

  • Borrowing against your home’s value. The long-term factor is the key attraction of equity release plans. But the short-term gain of flexibility in terms of finances and available monies means that the costs are deferred. By the time a major life change occurs, the bill, which can be hefty, becomes due.
  • Benefits eligibility. Equity release could affect your eligibility for some government means-based benefits and grants like pension credits, savings credits and council tax benefits.
  • Home value. Using an equity release plan can seriously reduce the amount of inheritance you can pass on. It also makes the process of settling your estate complicated, especially when it involves leaving your home to loved ones. In many cases, the home needs to be sold to repay the debt incurred by the equity release.
  • Additional fees. If you’re considering an equity release plan, you’re likely to pay arrangement fees and even a professional adviser. 
  • Taking out an additional mortgage. With an equity release plan in place, you are unable to take out additional loans on your property.
  • Changing your mind. Depending on the plan, if you choose to end the equity release, you may incur costly penalties.

A realistic option for homeowners

Robert Bull and his company, RoyaleLife, offer a different option for those looking to maximise the value of their biggest asset – their home. The RoyaleLife Home Part Exchange scheme provides you with 100 per cent of your home’s market value, based on two independent valuations.

A RoyaleLife bungalow can then be purchased with the proceeds of your current home value, deduct the bungalow’s cost, and keep the difference. 

For example, if your home is worth £500,000 and you purchase a bungalow for £300,000, you keep the remaining £200,000. Use this money as you wish - to provide for your family as part of their inheritance, pay off debts or simply enjoy your golden years.

Not only will you free yourself from the worry about having funds available for an inheritance, but you also will not be stuck with the hidden costs of home purchases. There are no estate agent fees or solicitor fees. There is no stamp duty to be paid. Buy your new RoyaleLife bungalow and release cash to do with as you choose.

RoyaleLife bungalows come fully furnished with modern appliances and comfortable furnishings, ridding you of the stress of large-scale removal fees. 

“New ideas are of crucial importance at RoyaleLife as the company looks to innovate at every opportunity as they continue to redefine bungalow living in the UK,” Robert Bull said. “Offering certainty in an uncertain world, not only will my company enable people to release valuable cash when moving home, but it will make their move a much easier and quicker experience.”

Jamie Richardson

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.

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