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Equity release

A popular way to unlock some of your property’s value, tax-free, so you can take control of your finances and put the life in later life.
Equity Release explained video backdrop


When it comes to equity release, we all have questions.

What, for instance, is it exactly?
Equity release is a way for homeowners over 55, whose property is worth at least £70,000, to release tax-free cash from their homes. It is an increasingly popular way for people in, or approaching, retirement to boost their finances.

And will we still own our home?
Yes – and with Key’s plans you can stay in it for as long as you like.

Will we have to make monthly repayments?
No, not unless you want to. The loan, plus rolled-up interest, will be paid back when your plan comes to an end.

Could our family inherit the debt?
No – all of Key's plans come with a ‘no negative equity’ guarantee, so you’ll never owe more than your home is worth and there’ll never be a debt for your family to take on.

How much can we release?
This depends on your age, how much your house is worth and your general health. On average, Key customers have had access to £90,000.

What do people usually use the money for?
Key customers spend the tax-free cash on many different things, such as repaying existing debts, travel and home improvements.

So, what’s different about Key?
Because Key takes a personal and honest approach to equity release, it's good to know we can answer all your questions in a way that's right for you. By ordering our free expert guide, using our free online calculator, or by calling us.

Key - equity release that’s right for you.

Use our free equity release calculator to see how much you could release

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What is equity release?

Equity release is a way for homeowners aged 55 or over whose property is worth at least £70,000 to release tax-free funds from their home without having to sell up or move. It can play an important role in taking control of your later life finances, and the safeguards that are built into our plans allow you to tap safely into some of your property wealth without having to worry about making monthly repayments if you don’t want to.
The money you unlock through equity release is all tax-free and can be spent in a variety of ways. So, whether it’s repaying your existing mortgage, supporting your loved ones when they need it most or simply boosting your retirement finances, equity release could help you live the later life you want.
Find out how much you could release from your property by using our quick and easy calculator.

Calculate now

Am I eligible for equity release?

Before you start your equity release journey, it’s important to understand if you’re eligible. To take out equity release:

  • ​The youngest homeowner must be at least 55 years old
  • You'll need a minimum property value of £70,000

How does equity release work?

The most common form of equity release is a lifetime mortgage. A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home which allows you to take advantage of your property’s value without the need to make monthly repayments, unless you choose to. That’s because the loan, plus roll-up interest, is repaid when the plan ends, which is usually when you pass away or move into long-term care.
Through a lifetime mortgage, you can unlock thousands of pounds, tax-free, to help fund what’s important to you in later life while still retaining full ownership of your property. And with a Key lifetime mortgage, you’re able to personalise your plan’s features and protections , as well as how you receive your funds, so you can ensure it suits your needs.
At the end of your plan, your home is usually sold and the loan repaid. With all our plans, you can never owe more than your home’s worth, meaning you can’t pass on any equity release related debt to your beneficiaries. And if there’s still equity in your home when your plan ends, you can pass this on as an inheritance.

Equity release has helped thousands of homeowners across the UK take control of their finances so they can live the later life they deserve. See how it could help you put the life in later life by requesting your free, comprehensive guide.

What are the different types of lifetime mortgages?

Lump sum lifetime mortgage

A lump sum lifetime mortgage, as the name suggests, allows you to unlock tax-free funds from your home in one single lump sum. It could be ideal if you’re looking to use your release for big-ticket items such as repaying your existing mortgage, debts or helping a family member onto the property ladder.

  • Available for homeowners aged 55 and over
  • You retain full ownership of your home
  • No requirement to make monthly repayments
  • Use the money you release for a variety of purposes – including repaying an existing mortgage or helping loved ones

Drawdown lifetime mortgage

drawdown lifetime mortgage, meanwhile, allows you to access some of your tax-free funds as an initial lump sum but also keep some in reserve to draw down from as and when you need it. You might prefer a drawdown if you don’t need all your money in one go or would like a cash reserve you can count on for costs later in life – paying for care, for example. It has the same qualifying criteria as a lump sum lifetime mortgage. 
A drawdown can also help you reduce the total cost of your lifetime mortgage as interest is only charged on the money you release, which could potentially save you thousands

See how much you could release

Get specialist advice

Equity release is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and it’s an FCA requirement to receive specialist advice before taking out a plan. We have more than 20 years’ experience helping over 55s with tailored advice, and our expert advisers will take the time to understand your needs before making a recommendation that’s personal to you, including telling you if we don’t think equity release is right for you.

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What are the benefits of lifetime mortgages?

lifetime mortgage allows you to access some of your property’s value without having to downsize and leave the home you love. And as all our plans meet Equity Release Council standards, there are a number of benefits that can help ensure you live the later life you want.

No monthly repayments

With a lifetime mortgage, there are typically no monthly repayments for you to make unless you choose to. Instead, the interest accrued on your lifetime mortgage is added to the loan and rolled up. This is commonly known as roll-up or compound interest. The loan, plus interest, is then repaid when the plan comes to an end, which is usually when you, or the last remaining borrower, either passes away or enters long-term care.
Typically, once this has happened, your home can be sold and the mortgage provider will take their money from the sale proceeds. Any remaining money will then go to you or your estate.

No negative equity guarantee

All of our plans meet the Equity Release Council standards and come with several assurances, including the no negative equity guarantee. With it, you’ll never owe more than your home’s worth. So, any debt you accrue through equity release can’t be passed on to your loved ones after you’ve gone, even if your property falls in value. 

Guarantee an inheritance

With some of our plans, you can choose to guarantee an inheritance for your loved ones through inheritance protection. This ringfences a percentage of your property’s future value to leave to your family no matter how much interest accrues. Speak to your dedicated adviser about this feature.

Move home in the future without penalty

Although you may not want to sell up and move now, you may need to in the future. And with downsizing protection you can.
Should you wish to move home in the future to a property that doesn’t meet our lending criteria, you can repay your loan without an early repayment charge. Downsizing protection is only available after five years of taking out a plan.

Is equity release regulated?

Yes, equity release is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whose aim is to make financial markets work well so that consumers get a fair deal. They do this by securing an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, protecting and enhancing the integrity of the UK financial system and promoting effective competition in the interests of consumers.
As an extra safeguard, all our equity release advisers hold specialist qualifications and we’re a member of the Equity Release Council (ERC). We only recommend lifetime mortgages that meet ERC standards.

How much could I release?

The amount of money you could release is based on your age, general health and lifestyle choices, as well as the value of your property. On average, homeowners across the UK released more than £113,000 from their properties through a lifetime mortgage in 2021.

  • You’ll need to release a minimum of £10,000
  • The maximum amount you can borrow will be based on the age of the youngest homeowner, their health and lifestyle, and the property’s value
  • The older you or your partner are, the more money you could potentially borrow 

But the amount you choose to release is always personal to you, so why not use our free calculator to get an idea of how much you could borrow.

Calculate now

How much does equity release cost?

The cost of your equity release plan can vary as it depends on a few factors. That includes how much you wish to release, how you choose to personalise your plan, how old you are, how long your plan lasts and your plan’s interest rate.  
As well, just like with a regular mortgage, there are other costs to take into consideration too, such as surveyor’s, solicitor’s and advice fees.

At Key, all our equity release advice relates to our range of Key branded lifetime mortgages, and our fixed advice fee of £599 is only payable on completion of your plan. That means you can find out if equity release is right for you without it costing you a penny.

More on how much equity release costs

Key offers low fixed rates for life

Our lifetime mortgages have annual interest rates from as low as 3.76% fixed for life and most customers have received a fixed annual interest rate of 3.70% or lower. The overall cost for comparison is 3.89% APR.

*Lowest available rate correct as of 4 May 2022. All other stated rates correct as of 4 May 2022. Interest rate received and plan features are subject to eligibility. Ask for a personalised illustration.

We're here to help

Don't just take our word for it, hear what our customers have to say...

Michael and Carol

64 & 63, approaching retirement

"All the worries and the stresses have gone now, we can just look forward to having a nice relaxing retirement…We’re planning to go away on a couple of cruises."
Read more on Michael and Carol

Watch more of our customer stories

Ready to see if equity release is right for you?

With more than 20 years’ experience, Key has helped over 1 million people decide if equity release is right for them. We take the time to understand your needs before making a recommendation that’s personal to you. We always act in your best interests, and if equity release isn’t right for you, we’ll tell you
We’ll ensure you consider all your options, including downsizing or using other forms of borrowing, and there’s no pressure to go ahead. Your adviser will give you all the information you need to make smart, well-informed decisions about your later life finances in your own time.

You may also have other options available. such as a retirement interest only mortgage.

Try our mortgage finder to understand your options

Releasing some of the equity from your home is simple with Key, usually taking around 8-12 weeks to release your tax-free funds (timescales not guaranteed). Here's an idea of what to expect along the way:

Here to help every step of the way

Use our free calculator

Find out how much tax-free cash you could release from your home now with our equity release calculator

Speak to an adviser

Book an appointment with a specialist equity release adviser at a time that's good for you

Not sure what product is right for you?

To release equity from your home, this typically involves taking out a form of mortgage product. Our later life mortgage finder helps you consider your options

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What our customers are saying

Good service from start to finish
the whole procedure of dealing with Key was straightforward and thorough. We were told how long to expect it to take and Key kept to their word almost to the day. My wife and I are delighted with the outcome allowing us to more fully enjoy our later years.
colin stone
We couldn't be happier with the service from Key. The initial advice was valuable as we were made completely clear about the advantages and disadvantages of equity release and the product was tailored to our needs. Other professionals involved in the process were very efficient and helpful.
Mrs Wendy Rideout
Everyone we dealt with were very friendly & helpful & everything went through without any problems
Just recently completed our lifetime mortgage with Key, Alex who assisted us with this was helpful and after a few teething problems it was finalised within a few months. Equilaw were recommended and were also very prompt at finalising everything, apart from signing some documents we had little to do which was great for us Thank you we now have...
Sharon r Kennelly

Answers to your equity release questions

We know you may still have some burning questions that need to be answered before you pick up the phone to us. It’s important you consider the options available and to make sure that equity release is right for you. Our experienced team have answered some of the more common questions we get asked, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, we’re only a phone call away.

Will I still own my home?

Yes, with our plans, you’ll still own your home and can stay in it for as long as you like.

Will I ever fall into negative equity?

No. All of our plans meet the Equity Release Council standards and come with the no negative equity guarantee, meaning you’ll never owe more than your home’s worth.

Can I move home if I have equity release?

Yes. All of our plans meet the Equity Release Council standards which means you can move home, subject to criteria.

Who handles the legal side of the process?

You'll need to appoint an independent solicitor to handle the legal side of the process to give you peace of mind.

Are there any restrictions on what I can do with the money released?

You can use it in a wide variety of ways – but think carefully about how much you need to borrow.

Can I still leave an inheritance for my family?

Yes, you can. Some of our plans guarantee that a set percentage of your home’s future value will be retained, subject to criteria.

Can I explore equity release if I still have a mortgage?

Yes, however, you will need to repay the mortgage either before the lifetime mortgage completes or by using the money released. 

What happens when you die with equity release?

Your home will typically be sold once you, or you and your partner, in joint cases, have died. The sale proceeds will be used to repay the amount you owe and any money left will go to your estate.

How is my home's value assessed?

Your property will be valued by an independent RICS registered surveyor so you can be confident of an unbiased opinion of your property’s worth.

What do people spend the money on?

The money you release is tax free, and Key customers use it for a variety of things, such as travel, home improvements and paying off their existing mortgage.

Are there other ways to release money from your home?

Key Equity Release offer advice on lifetime mortgages only, the most popular form of equity release – there are other ways to unlock money from your home. Home reversion plans include you selling all or part of your property to a reversion company for less than its market value to receive a cash lump sum. You won’t retain legal ownership of your home, but you can remain there rent-free for the rest of your life.

There may be other ways you could release money from your home, such as standard or retirement interest-only mortgages, your adviser will ensure you consider your options. If you want to explore any of these other options you would need to obtain alternative advice.

Things to consider

  • You have to get equity release advice before releasing tax-free cash from your home - please read all our information and make sure it’s right for you
  • Key Equity Release offer lifetime mortgages only, which is a loan secured against your home. It will reduce the value of your estate and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits
  • All of our plans meet the Equity Release Council standards and come with several protections, including the no negative equity guarantee, which means you’ll never owe more than your home’s value
  • All our equity release advice relates to our range of Key branded products only, and our fixed advice fee of £599 is only payable on completion
  • You should always think carefully before securing a loan against your home
  • See if you could release more cash with your current plan or switching to a different plan may suit your needs better, although you would need to consider any early repayment charges applicable to your plan. 
Page last updated: Wednesday 09 March 2022