0 Equity Release Schemes: More Choice on the Horizon By The Bower Team / In Equity Release In the past, equity release schemes were widely available through a number of lenders that included major building societies and banks. However, with the past few years being extremely turbulent in the financial and property sectors, the availability and choice of equity release schemes has diminished greatly. But there may be good news just around the corner for those keen to get the best equity release scheme available. New confidence in the economy has meant that some lenders, such as More2Life, have begun to reoffer equity release schemes following years away from the sector. Equity release schemes enable those aged 55 and over who want to remain in their home to release some of its value in a lump cash sum, allowing for a more comfortable retirement. Resurgence is Good News for Borrowers Whilst major lenders such as Northern Rock and Prudential stopped lending during the credit crunch, the re-emergence of lenders such as More2Life is good news for potential borrowers, as the increase in lenders prepared to lend will mean an increase in competition, and therefore the chances of over 55s getting a good deal greatly improve. Independent Financial Advice is Vital With competition amongst lenders set to increase, the general public will need to seek professional advice from equity release professionals in order to get the best deal. In fact research from SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans), the equity release trade body, shows that 80 per cent of all schemes — whether a lifetime mortgage or a home reversion plan – are sold through advisers — absolutely vital in all cases. Equity release may involve a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan. To understand the features and risks, please ask for a personalised illustration. Bower is an FCA regulated independent financial advice company that offers specialist advice on equity release throughout the UK. For more information email [email protected] or call 0800 4118668.