If you think equity release is a suitable option for you, consider asking the following questions before you agree to a scheme.
1. Is there a minimum age requirement?
2. Is there a minimum property value?
3. Do I need to own the freehold of my property?
4. Will I receive a lump sum or regular payments?
5. Are the regular payments fixed or will they increase with inflation?
6. Can I live in the property for as long as I wish?
7. Will I be able to move to another property - including sheltered accommodation - without financial penalty?
8. Can I use my own solicitor?
9. What happens if my circumstances change? If I get married will my new partner be able to stay in the property if I die first?
10. How will the plan affect my tax position or my entitlement to benefits such as the minimum income guarantee or council tax benefit?
11. Are there any extra costs - ie for the survey, legal fees, an arrangement fee? Are any of these refunded if I decide to go ahead?
12. Can the interest rate change? If so, is there a cap on that?
13. Is there a risk that I could end up owing more than the value of the house?
14. If you take advice from a financial advisor you may wish to ask them how much commission he or she is going to get for recommending the plan.