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Lump sum vs drawdown lifetime mortgage

  • There are two ways to access your tax-free funds
  • You can take the money in one go (lump sum)
  • Or in chunks when you need it after an inital release (drawdown)

Am I eligible?

You could be eligible if you're:
  • A UK homeowner aged 55+
  • With a property worth £70,000+
Calculate now

What is a lifetime mortgage?

A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home, allowing homeowners aged 55 or over to release tax-free funds tied up from their property.

Retain home ownership

  • With a lifetime mortgage, you’ll still own your own home. And the plan typically won’t come to an end until you, or the last remaining applicant, either passes away or enters long-term care. 

No monthly repayments

  • There are typically no monthly repayments to make, as the loan, plus roll up interest, is repaid when the plan comes to an end. If you want to reduce the long-term cost of your plan, you can make repayments of up to 10%-12% without any early repayment charges.

Choose how you get your funds

  • You can release funds from your home in a one off lump sum or a series of smaller amounts following an initial release, which is known as a drawdown lifetime mortgage.

How does a lump sum lifetime mortgage work?

lump sum lifetime mortgage allows you to receive your tax-free funds all in one go. It’s ideal if you have something specific in mind, such as gifting the money to a family member for a deposit on a new home.

A lump sum lifetime mortgage can help you access the funds you need in full straightaway. Here's some other benefits and potential drawbacks to think about.

Lower interest rates
Lump sum lifetime mortgages sometimes come with a lower rate of interest compared to a drawdown lifetime mortgage, which can help reduce your total cost of borrowing.

Interest rates don’t change
When you release further funds from your drawdown lifetime mortgage, the money released is subject to the prevailing interest rate at the time. With a lump sum lifetime mortgage, however, your interest rate is fixed for the entirety of your plan.

May be more expensive
As compound interest will be rolled up on the money you’ve released, you may end up owing more if you take all your available cash in one go. 

Limited ability to release further funds
With a lump sum lifetime mortgage, you can’t release further funds unless you apply for a further advance. This is subject to the lender’s criteria, your age and your property’s value at the time of application. 

How does a drawdown lifetime mortgage work?

Firstly, you agree an overall sum of money you can borrow. You then take an initial sum and have the option to release further amounts when needed, subject to a minimum release

Here's some other benefits and potential drawbacks to keep in mind if you're considering a drawdown lifetime mortgage.

Release funds when needed

Save on interest

  • A drawdown lifetime mortgage also allows you to potentially save a considerable amount in interest over the lifetime of your plan, as the interest only accrues on the money you’ve released

A few things to keep in mind

  • Your lender may have the option to withdraw your additional borrowing facility, though interest will only be applied to the funds you've released

  • If you choose to make a drawdown, the funds will be subject to the prevailing, fixed interest rate at the time

How could a drawdown lifetime mortgage reduce my cost of borrowing?

As you only pay interest on the funds you release, you could potentially save thousands over the course of your plan with a drawdown lifetime mortgage. Here's an example to help you understand how this could work for you.

ⓘ Illustrative example

This example is for illustrative purposes only and shows there are two customers who both have access to a lifetime mortgage facility of £81,703 at an interest rate of 6.74% (future drawdowns will be charged at the prevailing interest rate) - Key Market Monitor Q1, 2023.

Customer A

Customer A decides to take all their cash in one go through a lump sum lifetime mortgage, so interest is charged on the full release amount from day one.

(Orange bar)

Customer B

Customer B, meanwhile, takes an initial loan of £51,703 to meet their immediate requirements, so interest is only charged on this lower release amount. Customer B then decides to make two further £15,000 drawdowns over time, taking their total release amount to £81,703.

(Blue bar)

Customer B saves £32,851 in interest charges
While Customer B still borrows the same £81,703 over 15 years, because they take their money in stages, their total cost of borrowing is lower as interest is only charged when they release their funds. As a result, Customer B saves almost £32,851 in interest charges over the total life of their plan. This example is over 15 years but it could be longer or shorter.

Am I eligible for a lifetime mortgage?

If you're thinking about releasing equity from your home, it's important to find out if you could be eligible.

You can check this by using our free online calculator.

To take out a lifetime mortgage with Key, you must be a UK homeowner:

  • Aged 55+ (including all joint applicants)
  • With a property worth £70,000+

Back to "What's in this guide?"

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a lifetime mortgage?

If you're considering a lifetime mortgage, it's important you understand the product in detail. Here's some useful things to think about.

Lifetime mortgage benefits

Your specialist equity release adviser will explain:

  • You can unlock cash from your home, tax-free, to help meet your needs in later life
  • You’ll always retain full ownership of your home and can stay in it for as long as you wish with a Key lifetime mortgage
  • You can choose to make reduced or no monthly repayments to suit your circumstances
  • You’ll never owe more than your home’s worth with a Key lifetime mortgage
  • You may be able to remortgage your plan in the future to release further funds or secure a better interest rate, although this isn’t guaranteed and may be subject to early repayment charges

Potential drawbacks

Your equity release adviser will also outline the following important things to think about:

  • A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home and subject to compound interest, meaning the amount you owe can grow quickly
  • Equity release will reduce the value of your estate and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits
  • Equity release may leave you with limited or no property equity remaining
  • Equity release will reduce your financial options in the future
  • A lifetime mortgage is a long-term financial product and is not designed to be fully repaid until the death or entry into long-term care of the last remaining borrower, otherwise early repayment charges may apply

How to release equity from your home

Use our free calculator

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

Speak to an adviser

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

Free expert guide

Get a copy of our free, comprehensive guide to lifetime mortgages. You’ll learn how they work, have your questions answered and help you put the life in later life

Why choose Key as your equity release adviser?

It's a regulatory requirement for anyone considering equity release to get specialist advice before taking out a lifetime mortgage. So why should you choose Key as your equity release company?

We're regulated experts

Key is regulated and a proud member of the Equity Release Council

Trusted award-winners

We've won 80+ awards and 17,000+ excellent Trustpilot reviews, making us the UK's most trusted equity-release specialist


Highly experienced

We have over 25 years' experience in helping more than a million over-55s with tailored equity release advice on later-life products. Our knowledge means that, once we've taken the time to understand your needs, we’ll have a sound idea of what the right plan is for you.

Customer stories


ⓘ Did you know...

Over the years, more than a million customers have benefitted from our expert advice, experience and professionalism from Key. We've been rated 'Excellent' on Trustpilot and you can check out the great things our customers have to say about our equity release plans.

John's story

69, Retired

“I sat down with the adviser and he went through every single detail and concerns, plus a lot more which I didn’t know about. They took care of everything… it’s so uncomplicated… the process is so easy.”

Read more on John's experience

Watch more of our customer stories

Lifetime mortgage FAQs

When it comes to releasing equity from your home, we understand that you may have questions too. To help, we have compiled the answers to the questions we get asked the most. If you are still unable to find the information you're after, we are just a phone call away.

If you’re looking for ways to release funds from your home, you may be wondering “is equity release the same as a lifetime mortgage?” A lifetime mortgage is one of two types of equity release, allowing you to free up tax-free funds in later life. The other type of equity release is a home reversion, which Key don't offer.

The other type of equity release is a home reversion plan, which involves selling all or part of your home to a provider in exchange for a lump sum. We offer lifetime mortgages only, allowing you to keep full ownership of your home.

A key benefit of lifetime mortgages is that you retain full ownership and can continue living there for as long as you like.

A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home. Usually, when you or the last remainng applicant pass away or move into long-term care, your home will be sold to repay the loan. Any remaining funds from the sale will be passed on to you or your nominated beneficiaries.

We're proud members of the Equity Release Council and provide lifetime mortgages that meet their standards, including the No Negative Equity Guarantee. This is an important protection which ensures you'll never owe more than the value of your home when your plan comes to an end.

This means there's no risk that you'll pass on debt accrued through equity release to your loved ones. In the unlikely event that your home decreases in value enough to leave a shortfall between the sale proceeds and the amount you owe, the no negative equity guarantee writes off the remainder of your loan.

If you currently receive or are eligible to claim means-tested benefits, taking out a lifetime mortgage may affect your eligibility as it will change your financial situation. Our advisers can review your current position and discuss your options moving forward including how a lifetime mortgage may affect any benefits you receive.

You may wish to repay some of your lifetime mortgage early and reduce the size of the loan you accrue interest on. Subject to criteria, we may be able to help you personalise your plan with the option of making ad-hoc repayments of up to 10%-12% of the initial amount you've borrowed each year.

Additional repayments, including repaying in full, may incur early repayment charges. Your adviser will explain these terms clearly so you know what your options are.

Things to consider 

  • All our equity release advice relates to Key lifetime mortgages only - a loan secured against your home
  • The loan, plus compound interest, is typically repaid through the sale of the property when the last remaining applicant passes away or moves into long-term care
  • Our fixed advice fee of £1,299 is only payable on completion

Read our equity release articles

Equity release isn't something you should rush into. Read our RetireWise articles to learn more about how it works and whether it's right for you.

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How long does equity release take?

Is equity release safe?

Page last updated: Thursday 14 March 2024