Recent research released by ifs School of Finance and Prudential shows that over 20% of homeowners between 45 and 54 years old are considering equity release.
Howard Dapin, a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell specialises in equity release. He said: "Many people are considering equity release in order to provide for retirement as many feel that it is no longer sufficient to rely on savings or a state pension. Speaking to an expert can ensure that people get the best product for them.
"There are many things to think about such as interest rates, long term benefits and the best scheme for you at a time when there is a myriad of different schemes on the market. It is important to seek legal advice if you are considering an equity release scheme for your home."
There are two types of equity release schemes that allow property owners to release the money from their homes, a home reversion plan and a lifetime mortgage.
In its basic form, all or part of your home is sold to a private company known as a 'reversion company' and in return you will receive a cash lump sum, an income or both. You can remain in the house rent-free or for a nominal monthly rent, for the rest of your life. When the property is sold, usually after your death or when you move to alternative accommodation, the reversion company receives the proceeds of sale, depending on what share of the property you have sold.
With a lifetime mortgage you borrow against the value of your home releasing a loan which can be used to provide an income, a lump sum, or both. The loan does not have to be repaid until you die or when you move to alternative accommodation. Interest, usually at a fixed rate, is compounded monthly and 'rolled-up' and added to the outstanding loan.