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A Quick Guide to Equity Release

equity release

Have you heard of ‘unlocking the value of your home’? Do you know what it’s all about? If you’re over 55, chances are you’ve seen or heard this phrase several times from targeted advertising.

While ‘unlocking value’ might sound like an elaborate spiritual journey or magic trick, instead, it’s quite dull and refers to equity release.

So, what is equity release? Is it a good idea? How does it work?

In this quick read, we go through the essentials. 

What is equity release? 

In simple terms, equity release is turning some or all the value of your home into tax-free cash without having to sell or move. The amount depends on the value of your home minus the mortgage or any loans you have on it.

It’s a long-term loan that is repaid by the sale of your home once you pass away (or enter long-term care). It can be paid in a lump sum or smaller amounts over time in the form of a lifetime mortgage agreement or home reversion plan (when you sell part of your home to a home reversion company).

Why get equity release? 

There are many reasons, and often it’s pitched by lending companies as a way to enjoy your golden years.

People use the money to fund things such as home-based care, adapting a property to suit changing needs and helping children with property deposits. It’s your choice how you spend the cash that is released.

Is it a good idea? 

As with any large loan, equity release has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages include regular cash payments or a one-off lump sum to top up your retirement income and the opportunity to enjoy any increase in value of your property since you purchased it.

If you choose a lifetime mortgage agreement, you can still live in the property and be a homeowner.

What are the disadvantages of equity release? 

It is a complex and binding financial agreement.

It impacts the amount of money the beneficiaries of your will are likely to get once you pass away. Also, equity release can lower the amount of means-tested benefits (such as pension credits and council tax support) you previously might have been entitled to and may reduce the amount of care you are eligible for.

If you opt for a home reversion plan, the financial company will part-own your property.

What to do if you’re considering equity release? 

If this is something you’re considering, it’s important to consult a financial adviser to understand the full implications. There are many specialist equity release advisers you can speak to, and charities such as Age UK may also assist.

At Chamberlains, we hope this short guide has been useful. If you are considering selling your home, please contact us on 01626 365055.

 

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Guide for First-Time Property Sellers

Guide for First-Time Property Sellers

Selling a property for the first time? Here’s a helpful guide to help you navigate the process. A two-minute read.

Putting your property on the market can be stressful at the best of times, and even more so if you’ve never done it before. But don’t worry. With planning and preparation, you can avoid some common property pitfalls.

Let’s assume that you’ve made up your mind that it’s time to sell. Here are the next steps that you need to take.

Do your research

Look at similar properties already on the market and note their asking price and state of repair. How does your home compare? If it needs a spruce-up/declutter, make a to-do list and get started. You’d be surprised what a difference a lick of paint and a few minor tweaks can make.

Nail your admin

Go through bank statements and get a clear picture of your earnings and expenditure (no cheating), so you know what you can afford in terms of mortgage repayments. It’s also worth getting together all the paperwork for your home: deeds and details of leasehold or share of freehold arrangements (if applicable). This will speed things up further along the selling process.

Money talks

Your big move will most likely involve purchasing another property, so discuss your financing options with an independent mortgage adviser. Be aware that if you have an existing mortgage, you may get hit with an early exit fee if you sell and move mortgages to a different provider.

Choose an agent

Recommendations from family and friends can provide a useful starting point but always talk to more than one agent. We suggest you invite three agents around to value your property. Ask lots of questions and be wary of agents giving unrealistically high valuations – they’re telling you porkies to land the listing.

Also, steer clear of agents trying to lock you into an extended tie-in (some make you commit for 24 weeks and an additional 28-day notice period). If they need half a year to sell your home, they’re not very good.

Instruct a solicitor

It’s useful to have a legal eagle on board before the sales process kicks into full swing. Again, ask around for recommendations and talk to your agent, who will also have contacts. As with choosing an agent, the cheapest isn’t always the best. Go for a solicitor with a good reputation.

Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You’ll need to get an EPC (it’s a legal requirement), and your agent will help you arrange this.

Dress your home

When it’s time for your property’s marketing photos, talk to your agent about how best to present your home. Take their suggestions on board because first impressions really do matter. 

Here at Chamberlains, we have a great sales track record. Get in touch to find out more about our winning formula. Download our first time sellers guide for more info..  

 

 

 

 

 

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Investing in Property? Choose What Route Suits You

landlords

In this two-minute read, we look at the differences between landlords and property investors.

What’s the difference between a landlord and a property investor? Aren’t they the same thing? Does one rent out properties and the other sell them on? If these questions have got you scratching your head, read on.

Long term vs short term

Keeping it simple, a landlord makes a regular income from renting properties to tenants. They are responsible for maintenance and managing the property. It’s also likely that they hold onto the property for the long term.

A property investor is trickier to define. It might be someone who buys buildings they can add value to before selling on, or someone that invests in other people’s property ventures, not getting involved in the actual build or refurb.

Hands-on vs hands-off

A private landlord has got a lot to do. Once they’ve bought, financed, and refurbished their rental property, they enter the wonderful world of lettings. And while many landlords use our agency to find tenants and manage their property (the easiest decision in our humble opinion), many choose a more hands-on approach. So, they manage the property, taking care of tenant enquiries, emergencies, or repairs.

Being a landlord can be a full-time job, depending on the number of properties and tenants they may have.

A property investor takes more of a back-seat role. For example, they may be part of a joint venture or involved in an equity partner agreement. This is where they put up the capital and other parties do the work.

Property investors with access to a large amount of money may take more indirect routes to their investments such as property funds or trusts, buying shares in large development companies or property ISAs. In each instance, they commit their cash, rather than their time.

Regular income vs one-off payments

A private landlord looks for a good rental yield as a stable and relatively low-risk property investment. They receive monthly rental payments that should cover mortgage costs and could (hopefully) supplement their income. Over time, if they sell their rental property, they may also benefit from price appreciation. Nowadays, many private landlords regard property as an alternative to a traditional pension.

Property investors buying buildings to ‘flip’ or develop look for a one-time payoff once they’ve sold the property.

If you’re interested in becoming a landlord or making a property investment, please do get in touch. 

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What Will the Homes of 2022 and Beyond Look Like?

What Will the Homes of 2022 and Beyond Look Like?

In this two-minute read, we look at how new trends could change our homes next year and in the future.

If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that no one really knows what’s going to happen in the future.

But we’ve dusted down our crystal ball (with the help of some Google searches) to discover the trends forecasted to shape the way our homes look, function, and feel.

Below are five trends that style and design experts are predicting will become a hit in our homes next year.

  • Natural colours – We’ll all be going back to our roots – well, kind of. White, ivory, taupe, and grey will be must-have colours, along with the bounce-back of beige. Shades of green are being widely tipped as next year’s number one colour.
  • Flexible spaces – As the pandemic highlighted, rooms in our homes now need to be multi-purpose. Home offices are still on the rise, and with a bit of careful planning, that space in the corner of your living room could be turned into a study/work/play area. This could spell the end for the man cave as it will be under pressure to become a family den.
  • Good for the planet – As climate and sustainability feature more highly in people’s thinking, our thoughts are predicted to apply this mindset to our homes. Long-lasting materials such as stone, glass, onyx, marble, granite, and light wood will become more popular as furniture and features of home decoration. Indoor plants are also forecasted to experience a boom.
  • Built to last – Has fast fashion hit its peak? Because fast furnishings seem doomed to being consigned to the past. Instead, interior design experts are predicting we will start buying better-made, longer-lasting furniture. It’s a bit like choosing a good estate agent to sell your home, it may cost more, but you won’t regret it in the long run.
  • Going to extremes – In keeping with the theme of cutting down consumption, some experts are confident that extreme minimalism will become increasingly popular. The focus will be on functionality – if you haven’t used an item for a while, it’s time to lose it and create more space in your home.

Whatever happens in 2022, we’re confident that the home moving market in South Devon will continue to see a lot of activity and price growth.

How your home looks and feels helps you enjoy its full potential, and that’s something that’ll never go out of fashion.

If you have a property question you need an expert answer to, contact us today.

 

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Common Reasons Some Properties Can’t Be Mortgaged

Common Reasons Some Properties Can’t Be Mortgaged

In this two-minute read, we look at reasons why a property may be classified as unmortgageable.

Selling a property can be tricky at the best of times, but when a property is deemed unmortgageable things can get complicated.

‘Unmortgageable’ means lenders won’t allow a potential buyer to borrow the money they need to buy a property. For many sellers, this can be a knockout blow and can significantly reduce their options.

Here are five common reasons why lenders won’t finance a purchase.

  • The property is uninhabitable

This applies to derelict properties, buildings that have been abandoned, that pose safety risks or are considered not weatherproof. In addition, properties without a kitchen or bathroom may also be classed as unmortgageable.

As a buyer, you may have big plans to restore a dilapidated property, but a lender may take a different view. If this is the case, always seek financial advice to learn how else you could finance the purchase.

  • Structural problems

If a property resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, chances are it’s got a bad case of subsidence – another big no-no for lenders. Other structural issues affecting whether or not a property is mortgageable include severe damp, dry or wet rot.

  • Short lease

If you spot a flat on the market for well below market value, it may have a short lease (under 70 years). A short lease knocks thousands off the value of a property as a buyer may struggle to get a mortgage (if they can get one at all). They’d also have to pay for a lease extension. This is costly (and can take ages) and there are often restrictions around how long you can own a property before applying for a longer lease.

  • Proximity to commercial or industrial sites

Lots of people live above shops so obviously these properties aren’t unmortgageable, but they aren’t always given regular residential mortgages. Particularly if they are above shops such as dry cleaners or restaurants (where there’s a high risk of fire/smoke damage). Similarly, if you buy near a factory or industrial site, a lender may be more reluctant to provide a mortgage as it may be difficult to sell on.

  • Doesn’t comply with building regulations

Sometimes extensions or building work is carried out without the necessary approval, or doesn’t meet strict building regulations. This can hamper a sale as a lender will need to see the necessary permissions/certificates to provide a mortgage.

Speak to us at Chamberlains to find out how we can help you sell an unmortgageable property.

 

 

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How Sellers in South Devon Can Spot a Committed Buyer

How Sellers in South Devon Can Spot a Committed Buyer

In this two-minute read, we look at ways sellers can identify genuine buyers.

With demand currently outstripping supply in the housing market, sellers are in the driver’s seat, but there is still one hazard that could derail a sale: the flaky buyer.

In a hot market, it’s not uncommon for panicky buyers to make an impulsive offer or go beyond their financial limits.

A buyer might do this because they fear that prices are rising and the market is getting away from them. Or perhaps they’ve been outbid in the past and don’t want to lose out again.

Whatever the motivation, the result is the same: the buyer isn’t committed and drops out weeks or months into the sales process.

Not only is it frustrating for the seller but it could also cost them financially if they’re part of a chain which then collapses because the parties involved grow impatient.

Here are some tips to help you identify genuine buyers.

–         Arrange a second viewing. If the buyer makes an offer after the first viewing, your agent should arrange a second visit to see if they are still as keen as mustard. The buyer should be quizzed about their plans for the property to see if they’ve thought through the purchase.

–         Do the admin. Ensure your agent gets the buyer to fill in an offer form that includes details about their mortgage provider and solicitor. It’s preferable to go with a buyer who already has their ducks in a row.

–         What’s the story? Chat to the buyer about why they are moving. If they’re expecting a baby and have family in the same street, it’s a fair bet that they’re the real deal. If they know little about the area or their story keeps changing, question if they are committed to the sale.

–         Ensure the lines of communication are open. Ideally, your buyer will keep you informed of their progress on the survey, searches, and chasing solicitors. Be wary if things go quiet quickly.

–         Work with an experienced agent. Even though it’s a buyer’s market, a good agent can streamline the process for you. They’ll be good at spotting the genuine buyers from the chancers.

For more advice about selling your home, contact us here at Chamberlains

© Chamberlains 2021