Equity release

How long does equity release take?

4 min read

Typically, equity release takes around eight weeks to complete, as long as there are no complications. Continue reading to learn more about the equity release process and the estimated time it takes to complete.

  • Abigail Bolton Senior Digital Website and Content Marketing Executive
    Abigail Bolton

    SEO Specialist and Senior Copywriter

    Published February 19th 2024

home owners in their kitchen wondering what to do next with their house copy

How long does equity release take?

Generally, you’ll find that equity release takes up eight weeks to complete and for you to receive your funds. Lifetime mortgages, the most popular type of equity release, can take less time than this, around four to six weeks. Whereas home reversions take around six to eight weeks, as long as there are no issues with the title of your property.

Learn more about the difference between these two equity release products.

What is the process for equity release?

Before the equity release process formally begins, you should start your journey be researching. This research should include trying to learn as much as you can about the different equity release products and options you may have. It’s also helpful to talk to family members before you start the process and look for an experienced solicitor and financial adviser to help you throughout the process.

Now let’s look at the steps to equity release:

1. Speak to an equity release adviser

The first step in your equity release journey, is to speak to an independent equity release adviser. Your adviser will explain the workings of equity release, the application of interest, and the process of making repayments. They’ll then learn more about your personal circumstances so that they can provide you with their unbiased recommendation.

They’ll provide you with an ‘illustration’, a document which will outlines the fees and costs, the risks and the benefits, as well as how much you’ll owe and the interest that is applied. Your adviser is there to talk everything through so that you have a good understanding of what to expect and will be there the whole way through.

 It takes approximately one week for the initial step of speaking with your equity release adviser. You may want or need several meetings, so you can fully understand your options before moving forward.

 2. Submit your equity release application form

Your equity release lender will require you to submit an application form, which you can complete with your equity release adviser. Once you’ve submitted this to your lender, you’ll also need to confirm your identify, so you'll also have to provide an original copy of your ID and proof of address.

It takes approximately one day to complete your application form, in some circumstances, your adviser may be able to complete it for you, with information provided in your initial meeting/s.

Please note: At this stage, it’s also worth choosing which solicitor you want to take care of the legal work, so there are no delays further down the line. You should look for a conveyancer that specialises in equity release with a lot of experience in this area.

3. Equity release house valuation

Once your lender has received your application form, they’ll arrange for a local surveyor to complete a basic house valuation survey. This is usually desk-based research to work out the current market valuation based on the sale price of similar properties sold in the nearby area. Although your equity release provider may pay for the valuation as a benefit of their service, usually you’ll have to pay for it.

Although it depends on a surveyors and your own availability, it usually takes around one week for a survey to be arranged, completed and for the valuation to be back with your equity release provider.

4. Get your mortgage offer

Once your equity release provider has received your valuation, their underwriter will confirm they are happy lending the amount valued and send through your official mortgage offer. The mortgage offer will be sent directly to you and your solicitor.

It takes approximately one week for your mortgage offer to be confirmed and sent to you and your solicitor.

5. Your solicitor will begin the legal work

Now that your solicitor has received your formal mortgage offer, they can begin to start the legal work. They'll arrange a meeting to discuss their legal advice, which is a legal requirement to get. Additionally, they'll need to witness the signing of the contract/ mortgage deed, so they will do this at the meeting.

Once these have been done, your solicitor will send the mortgage pack back to your lender and request a date for completion.

Like with a house sale, there may be enquiries from the lender’s solicitor that need answering. In the equity release process, these are known as requisitions. Whether your lender has asked for additional information, or additional documents, if requisitions are received, your solicitor will need to provide them with all the required information before you can complete.

It takes approximately three weeks for this part of the equity release process to complete, depending on the complexity of your equity release and the amount of requisitions from your lenders solicitor.

6. Receive your equity release funds and complete

On the completion day agreed, your equity release lender will release funds into your solicitors’ bank account. Any costs to be deducted, such as adviser fees, solicitor fees or debts secured against the property will be taken first. The remaining balance will then be transferred to you.

If payment can be sent by CHAPS, this final step should just take a day for your money to be received into your bank account.

What can slow down the equity release process

Unfortunately, eight weeks is only a guideline for how long it takes for equity release to complete so there are some scenarios where it can be longer than this. Find below some common issues that can lead to delays:

  • If there are any issues with the title of your house, such as if your property is unregistered, or there is still a deceased owner on the title deeds

  • Marital or separation agreement issues

  • If you choose a solicitor that isn’t familiar with equity release and the different equity release products

  • If there are a lot of requisitions

  • If your property requires a lease extension

  • Valuations that are lower than expected

What can speed up the equity release process

Speak with your equity release adviser if timeframes are a concern to you. They will help to provide realistic timings and suggestions to help speed up the process. Some simple ways to help make your equity release as fast as possible are below:

  • Instructing a solicitor when you apply for your equity release

  • Being available for meetings

  • Getting your ID and proof of address ready.

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