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How long does equity release take?

Your Money
Tuesday 29 August 2023

At Key, equity release typically takes 6 weeks from application to completion.

Equity release could unlock some of the tax-free funds tied up in your home in later life. Understanding how long it takes to release equity from your home may be a key concern as you weigh up the next steps, however, there can never be any guarantees.

In this guide, we'll explain how long the equity release process can typically take – and what you can do to help make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Equity release: A brief refresher

First, a brief reminder of what equity release is and what it involves.

If you're aged 55 or over and own a home worth at least £70,000, you may be able to access some of the funds locked up in your property. You don't need to sell your home – and you won't need to move out.

At Key, we will talk you through your later life options and see if a lifetime mortgage is right for you. This is a type of equity release where you take out a loan against the value of your property. The loan, plus compound interest is repaid when the plan ends, typically upon the sale of the property, when you or the last remaining applicant pass away or move into long-term care.

How long does the equity release process take?

There's no hard guarantee on how long the equity release process will take. The process involves several stages and it's possible that issues could cause delays, but 6 weeks is a typical timescale.

The first step is to use our free equity release calculator. You'll see how much you could unlock and what plans might be available, which you can consider together with your other options. Next, you'll get in touch with one of our equity release specialists to begin the process.

At a glance, the process usually involves the following stages:

  1. Speak to a specialist: One of our specialists will answer your initial questions. If you'd like to find out more, they'll arrange a consultation with an expert equity release adviser.

  2. Talk to your family: Equity release is a big decision, so we encourage you to take your time researching and discussing it with your family. You can invite them to appointments too.

  3. First advice appointment: A dedicated equity release adviser will find out more about your circumstances and requirements and discuss the options available including other later life lending options, letting you know whether equity release could be suitable for you.

  4. Finding the right plan: If you decide to continue with the process, your adviser will search our range of lifetime mortgages to find the most suitable option for you.

  5. Second advice appointment: Your adviser will present their expert recommendation and a personalised illustration of how it could work financially, and answer any questions you may have.

  6. Application: Should you decide to go ahead, your adviser will complete an application form with personal details and paperwork such as identification and proof of address.

  7. Valuation: An independent RICs surveyor will also visit your home to assess the value of your property for equity release purposes.

  8. Offer: You'll be issued with a lifetime mortgage offer following a satisfactory valuation, including full terms and conditions for your approval.

  9. Legal advice: Your solicitor will get a copy of the offer and arrange a meeting with you. They must provide you with independent legal advice as part of the process and they must also witness the signing of the documents.

  10. Completion: The last stage is completion. Your solicitor will transfer your funds to you, allowing you to start using it for the things that matter to you. Find out more about the key steps and typical timescales involved below.



How long does equity release advice take?

You must get advice before releasing equity – it's a regulatory requirement. Such a huge financial decision is not right for everyone, so it's essential that you take your time and properly consider the advice that you receive.

You'll have at least two equity release meetings, usually taking between one and two hours each. The first appointment will let your adviser find out more about you and outline your later life options and process. If a lifetime mortgage is deemed to be the most suitable option for you, your adviser will then search Key's range of lifetime mortgages to find the most suitable plan for you. In the second appointment the adviser will present the recommendation and answer any questions they may have.

So, you can expect a total of two to four hours before submitting your application. While there are no regulated timeframes between appointment dates, they usually take place at least a few days apart.

With Key, you can start the process by requesting a call back. One of our equity release specialists will answer your initial questions and arrange a consultation with a qualified equity release adviser at a time that suits you.

How long does an equity release application take?

As soon as you've considered all the advice and answers that you've received, the next stage of the process is to start your application. You'll need to provide personal details about you and any joint applicants, if there are any. In addition, you must also provide details about your property.

If you have this information to hand, your equity release adviser could complete the required documentation relatively quickly. Your completed application is then sent to the lender.

Our usual process from application to completion takes 6 weeks.

How long does equity release take after valuation?

After you've submitted your application, the offer is subject to valuation by a surveyor.

They will make an assessment. This ensures that your property meets the underwriting criteria and gives us an estimation of the value of your home for equity release purposes.

The valuation itself should take less than an hour but the surveyor will then need to make an official report. This typically takes around 48 hours.

You'll be issued with an offer following a satisfactory valuation including full terms and conditions of your plan for your approval. You'll then need to take legal advice and wait for the equity release to be completed. While we can't make any guarantees, we'd expect this to take at least 6 weeks - depending on whether any additional information is needed.

How long does equity release take to complete?

With a valuation done and all the checks completed, it should soon be possible for your solicitor to provide a completion date. This is when the equity release process is completed, and the tax-free funds are ready to be released to you.

It's not possible to give a guaranteed timescale for how long it takes equity release to complete. At Key, however, the typical time from application to completion is 6 weeks.

What could slow down the equity release process?

Unfortunately, there are a few issues that can slow down equity release applications, including:

  • Unregistered title deeds
  • Title deed restrictions
  • Property sales and purchases
  • Lease extensions
  • Separation agreements

The most important thing is that you disclose all relevant information to your adviser during your initial consultations. They'll be able to give you a more accurate estimate of how long the process could take given your personal circumstances.


Benefits & Potential drawbacks of Equity Release



  • 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

  • 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  



Contact Key for equity release advice

For equity release advice, book an initial appointment with one of our equity release advisers. They'll be able to help you to compare your options and find the right option for your financial future. If you want to see how much equity you could release, try our free online calculator.

Things to consider

  • All our equity release mortgage advice relates to Key lifetime mortgages only - a loan secured against your home
  • Equity release will reduce your estate’s value and may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits
  • A lifetime mortgage may result in limited or no property equity remaining and will reduce your financial options in the future
  • 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
  • £1,299 advice fee only payable on completion
Page last updated: Tuesday 16 April 2024