Thomas Webster, Managing Director at Guardian Advice

Equity release was the fastest growing sector of the mortgage market in 2016 in terms of customer numbers, the equity release council says. But there is still a stigma attached to this ever-growing financial service.

If you are over 55 and looking to raise tax free funds using the equity in your home a lifetime mortgage could give you the freedom to enjoy your retirement. Here are the top 3 equity release myths we come across when advising:

I won’t own my own home any more, so I might lose it: A surprisingly common misconception. People are regularly relieved to hear that a lifetime mortgage means they remain the owner of their home.

I don’t want another mortgage now. I can’t afford the repayments: The downside of discovering that the most popular equity release product is actually a mortgage! Doubts are often dispelled once learned that no repayments are normally required until the borrower dies or goes into long term care.

I don’t want my children to be inheriting a debt: The ‘No Negative Equity Guarantee’ invariably comes as a pleasant surprise to people with little prior knowledge of equity release products.   

If you or someone you know is interested in releasing equity in their home the first step is to find an independent mortgage adviser with the specialist qualifications needed to give advice on lifetime mortgages. Also look for your adviser to be members of the Equity Release Council as this means they voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics.

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