This is a follow-up to my post “Equity Release Revisisted” which prompted me to look into the subject again and start a new series of blogs on the subject. I first wrote about this in 2012 and then again in 2015. (You can find my earlier posts by clicking on Equity Release in the TAG CLOUD).
If Equity Release is such a good thing, why are Equity Release sales people so shy about giving out information ? They all portray an image of being open and honest and above-board, but, they won’t give you any hard facts.
Normally when shops display their goods they put the prices on them, it is only exclusive jewellery shops and fashion retailers that don’t have prices in the window and then you know they are going to be very expensive.
Perhaps that the point. Equity Release sales people know their products are expensive so they won’t tell you the price until you are subjected to the hard-sell interview first. You cannot get past the TV commercial or newspaper advert without signing up to an interview / interrogation / intimidation or as they would say ‘consultation’.
Here are a few examples of these suspect approaches :-
- AGE PARTNERSHIP. Claim to be the biggest provider of Equity Release with a logo that has a remarkable resemblance to AGE UK. Though as far as I know they are not connected at all. They have a staff team of 500, whose youthful looks don’t leave you thinking they have too many years of experience in life, nor in financial services. They are the firm who advertise on TV. But, also are economical about the size of their application fees.
- DREWBERRY. They have the usual blurb about the virtues of Equity Release and a ‘free Equity Release calculator’. But, when you start to put in basic information — age, date of birth etc. —- it asks for a phone number, so that they can contact you and follow-up with the hard sell. No phone number means you get no information about what loan you could receive !
- ONE FAMILY. But, a curious name for an Equity Release company, until you realise they are playing on the idea that the whole family can benefit from the early liberation of your wealth. And before you know where you are you may have nothing left. And of course the loan company will have most of it. And the local agents will have their commission.
- MORE 2 LIFE. Same old spiel, although when I downloaded a brochure, it did have a few examples which told you a bit more. So if you borrow £85,000, after 15 years you will owe £194,000 ! It also has a ‘free calculator’, but, again you have to give them your phone number before they will give you an answer !
- PURE RETIREMENT. Sounds good, who wouldn’t want a loan from them, especially when they claim to offer honest, simple solutions? But, when you download their brochure it is no more simple and honest as all the others, full of if’s and maybe’s. They may pay your fees, there again they may not. Their ‘application and valuation fees are transparent from the start’, but, they won’t tell you how much they are. That doesn’t sound very transparent to me.
I could go on with many more examples, but, it gets boring after a while trying to find some simple facts about Equity Release. I guess that is what they all count on.
After hours of research on the internet, over a period of several weeks, I am still not much further on in trying to get some basic facts and figures about the cost of Equity Release. I’ve ended up with a lot more questions than answers so I’ve got to keep digging.