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Steve Wilson has 13 years of experience in Mortgage, Protection and Equity Release advice. Having been a qualified advisor in Equity Release for over 10 years, Steve joined MG Financial in 2018. He ensures that he keeps his qualifications up to date, with his latest qualifications being reapproved at the end of 2018 meaning he is right on the ball with legislation and FCA regulations.
MG Financial Solutions is one of only 700 practitioners in the UK qualified to offer advice and deliver the Equity Release service. With that in mind, Steve Wilson, who heads up the service at the North Tyneside based advisors, has put together a guide for anyone considering it, Steve said:
“The equity release market is growing now it is fully regulated by the FCA and it is being used to meet mortgage holders needs in a responsible manner.
“Equity release is available to people in the UK aged over 55, whose circumstances suit this type of mortgage product. Equity can be released by the lender and the loan is paid back when the borrower dies or moves into care and the property is sold. The practice is now fully regulated, with only specialists in the funds allowed to advise and deliver.
“There are choices available from an Equity Release Advisor that free up capital, in payment free terms until an agreed time. This is really attractive to people wanting to help children, pass on financial support, release funds to achieve their dreams or simply just to have the choice to stay in their existing home. Our main advice is that whatever you choose to do, make sure there is complete upfront transparency with your family and loved ones.
“As more parents help their children get on the property ladder, equity release is becoming more popular. The decision to do this, or to pass on funds now rather than wait until inheritance time, has to be a very open family matter and we would always advise ensuring that all concerned parties are consulted.
“Other reasons for following the Equity Release route are emerging, with people not wanting to downsize as their endowment protected mortgage matures with funds still outstanding and older people being more active and wanting to travel in their latter years.
“Whatever your reason, there are a number of steps you should take to safeguard yourself, your property and your money.
“Firstly, make sure that the advisor is an agent of a regulated company, is regulated by the FCA and/or is part of the UK Financial Services Regulator. Also don’t be afraid to ask for proof that they have the relevant equity release qualification, meaning they can give excellent advice.
“Under current rules, all firms offering equity release products must offer free initial advice. The advisor must make sure equity release is right for you and, if it is, only recommends a product suitable for your circumstances.
“You also need to bear in mind that you will have to show evidence of your current and future income, including outgoings, banks statement and pension statements, much as you would when applying for a mortgage. We will need to know all debts, household bills and living costs. It is a bare all process and can be complex so we always recommend independent legal advice and can introduce clients to a number of expert solicitors in the area.”