What is a Lifetime Mortgage?

A lifetime mortgage is a special kind of loan for homeowners who are 55 or older. It lets you take money from your home’s value without having to move or sell it.

You can borrow part of your home’s worth, and how much you get depends on your age and how much property value.

This isn’t like a regular loan which you have to pay back every month. Instead, you pay back everything – the money you borrowed plus the interest – when you die or if you have to move into care.

How Do Lifetime Mortgages Work?

Lifetime mortgages are similar to regular mortgages because they let you borrow money against your property. But, they differ significantly in how interest is handled and other key aspects.

To qualify for a lifetime mortgage, you must be at least 55 years old. Unlike a conventional mortgage, you don’t have to make monthly payments on a lifetime mortgage. Instead, the interest accumulates over time, which can add up to a lot of money.

A lifetime mortgage also provides more control over how you manage the loan. For instance, you may choose to pay some or all of the interest to reduce the size of the loan. This flexibility enables you to align the loan with your specific needs.

If you choose not to make any payments, the interest will continue to accumulate. Ultimately, the entire amount, including all accumulated interest, will be repaid when you die or require long-term care.

Here’s an example to illustrate this:

Suppose you take out a lifetime mortgage of £100,000 at an annual interest rate of 5%.

YearInterestTotal Owed

In the first year, the interest is £5,000, so you owe £105,000. In the second year, the interest increases to £5,250, so you owe £110,250. This pattern continues, with compound interest accumulating over time.

The repayment process for a lifetime mortgage is managed through the sale of the home, streamlining the process and reducing stress for family members.

How to Apply for a Lifetime Mortgage?

If you’re contemplating a lifetime mortgage, here’s a straightforward guide to help you navigate the process:

Detailed flowchart infographic outlining the entire process of applying for a lifetime mortgage, from initial assessment to final agreement.
  1. Understand Your Needs and Eligibility – Assess your financial needs and determine if a lifetime mortgage is suitable for you. Consider the impact on inheritance, entitlement to means-tested benefits, and your long-term financial planning.
  1. Seek Professional Advice – Consult with a professional mortgage adviser who specializes in equity release products. They will assess your unique situation and guide you towards the best decision for your needs.
  1. Evaluate Different Products – Lifetime mortgages come in different forms, such as drawdown, lump sum, or enhanced versions. Understanding the various features and interest rates will help you select the best product for you.
  1. Choose a Provider – Select a reputable provider, preferably a member of the Equity Release Council, to ensure compliance with established standards.
  1. Submit an Application – Complete and submit the necessary application forms. You can either do this with your broker or directly to the lender.
  1. Property Valuation – The lender will need to have your property valued to determine how much you can borrow. This often involves a professional surveyor visiting your home.
  1. Legal Assistance – Engage a solicitor to help with the legal aspects of the mortgage. They will ensure you understand all the terms and conditions.
  1. Receive an Offer – Once the valuation and legal checks are completed, you’ll receive a formal offer from the lender. Review it carefully and make sure you understand all the terms.
  1. Finalise the Agreement – Sign the necessary paperwork and finalize the agreement with the lender. The funds will be released to you or your solicitor.
  1. Ongoing Management (if applicable) – Depending on the type of lifetime mortgage, there may be ongoing decisions or management, such as optional interest payments or drawdowns.

Who Qualifies for a Lifetime Mortgage in the UK?

To qualify for a lifetime mortgage, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. These include:

Informative checklist infographic detailing the eligibility criteria for a lifetime mortgage in the UK, featuring age, property ownership, home value, and more.
  • Be at least 55 years old. Some providers may set a higher minimum age.
  • Own your home outright or have a small mortgage.
  • Live in your home as your main residence.
  • Your home must be worth a certain amount at least £70,000 or more.
  • Your home must be in good condition. Some providers may have specific requirements related to construction type or location.
  • You may need to pay off any existing mortgages on your home.

In addition to these criteria, some providers may also consider other factors, such as your health and income. 

It is important to note that the eligibility criteria for lifetime mortgages can vary from provider to provider. It is always best to speak to a financial advisor to get specific advice on whether you qualify for a lifetime mortgage and which provider is right for you.

How Much Can You Borrow with a Lifetime Mortgage?

The amount you can borrow on a lifetime mortgage depends on your age, property value, health, and lifestyle. Here are some of the things you must know:

> The older you are, the more you can borrow because you are expected to live for a shorter period of time and therefore have less time to repay the loan.
> The higher the value of your property, the more you can borrow
> Some providers may consider your health and lifestyle when calculating the amount you can borrow.
> The current interest rates can also affect the amount you can borrow.

The quickest way to find out how much you could borrow is to use our equity release calculator. Note that this is only an estimate and does not constitute financial advice.

[Embedded Equity Release/Lifetime Mortgage Calculator]

Types of Lifetime Mortgages

There are four main types of lifetime mortgages:

Roll-up lifetime mortgage

This type allows you to receive a lump sum of money without having to make any monthly payments. Similar to what we’ve discussed above, the interest on the loan is added to the outstanding balance. This is then repaid when you sell your home, usually when you die or go into long-term care.

Drawdown lifetime mortgage

This type allows you to withdraw money from your home gradually, rather than receiving a lump sum. Interest is only charged on the money that you withdraw, which can be a good option if you don’t know how much money you’ll need in the future.

Flexible lifetime mortgage

This type allows you to make voluntary payments towards your loan. This can be a good way to reduce the amount of interest that you pay, and it can also give you more control over your finances.

Enhanced lifetime mortgage

This type is specifically designed for people with certain medical conditions. It can allow you to unlock more equity from your home and may offer improved interest rates.

Infographic detailing the four main types of lifetime mortgages: Roll-up, Drawdown, Flexible, and Enhanced, with descriptions of each.

The best type of lifetime mortgage for you will depend on your circumstances and needs. It’s important to speak to an equity release advisor to get advice on which type of mortgage is right for you.

Is a Lifetime Mortgage the Right Choice for You?

To decide if a lifetime mortgage is right for you, you need to carefully consider your financial needs, long-term plans, and property value trends.

In a growing property market, a lifetime mortgage could allow you to capitalize on the appreciation of your home.

But, market trends can change. So it’s crucial to evaluate both the advantages and disadvantages in the context of your unique situation.


Flexibility. You have a range of repayment options, giving you more control over your finances.
Stay in your home. You can stay in your home for as long as you want.
No monthly repayments. You may not have to make regular payments, which can reduce your financial burden.
Access to tax-free cash. You can release tax-free cash from your home without selling it.
Peace of mind. Features like negative equity guarantees give you peace of mind that you won’t leave a debt burden on your loved ones.
Fund your dreams. Whether you want to travel, support your family, or pursue hobbies, a lifetime mortgage can help you make them happen.


Interest accumulation. Interest compounds on both the initial amount borrowed and previously accrued interest.
Impact on benefits. Releasing equity could affect your eligibility for means-tested government support, leading to unexpected reductions.
Reduced inheritance. This choice may reduce the value left in your property, affecting your beneficiaries.
Restrictions on moving home. Some lifetime mortgages may limit your ability to relocate or require lender approval.
Additional costs. There are various fees to consider, including arrangement and valuation charges, legal expenses, and early repayment penalties.
Limitations on future choices. A lifetime mortgage could restrict your future financial decisions, such as downsizing or moving into care.

By understanding both the advantages and disadvantages of a lifetime mortgage, you can better assess if it’s right for you. This is a complex financial product, so it’s important to seek professional advice before making a decision.

Who Offers Lifetime Mortgage Providers?

Lifetime mortgages are primarily offered by specialist equity release providers who understand the unique needs of older homeowners. These providers have tailored products designed for those interested in lifetime mortgages. Here’s a list of some leading lifetime mortgage providers:

  • Aviva
  • Legal & General
  • More2Life
  • Canada Life
  • Pure Retirement
  • Just
  • Standard Life Home Finance
  • Scottish Widows
  • LV

Each lender has unique features, so make sure to find the one that fits your needs and situation best. Consulting with an equity release adviser can help you make the right choice.

How Much Interest Will I Pay on a Lifetime Mortgage?

The interest rate on a lifetime mortgage can vary depending on the specific plan you select and its duration. Currently, the average equity release interest rate, as reported by the Equity Release Council, stood at 5.74%.

There are two main types of interest rates on lifetime mortgages: fixed and variable.

Comparison infographic contrasting fixed-rate and variable-rate lifetime mortgages, highlighting their features and differences.

Fixed-rate lifetime mortgages

With a fixed-rate lifetime mortgage, you know the interest rate that will be applied to your loan for its entire duration. This provides stability, but the initial rate may be higher than a variable rate.

Variable-rate lifetime mortgages

The interest rate on a variable-rate lifetime mortgage can fluctuate based on market conditions. This means that your interest could go up or down over time, following specific indexes or market trends.

Are There Other Costs with Lifetime Mortgages?

Releasing equity from your home with a lifetime mortgage can come with additional costs, including:

  • Legal and valuation fees – These fees cover the costs of legal work and the assessment of your property’s value.
  • Application fees – These fees are charged during the application process.
  • Lender’s fees – Some products may include specific fees charged by the lending institution.
  • Completion fee – This is a one-time fee paid at the closing of the loan process.
  • Buildings insurance – This is a regular expense to ensure coverage for the physical structure of your home.
Detailed visual breakdown of the additional costs associated with lifetime mortgages, including legal fees, valuation fees, and more.

It is important to understand the full extent of costs associated with equity release before you commit to a plan. 

Exploring Alternatives to Equity Release

A lifetime mortgage may be a good option for many, but it’s not the only way to access your home equity in retirement. Here are some other options to consider:


If you want to move to a smaller home, you can sell your current property and use the proceeds to fund your retirement. 

This can be a good option if you no longer need a large home or if you want to free up some cash. But, it’s important to factor in the costs of moving, such as stamp duty and estate agent fees.

Loans or Remortgaging

Another option could be securing an unsecured loan or remortgaging your property. This would allow you to repay the loan over time, which can be a more manageable option than a lifetime mortgage. But, it’s important to make sure you can afford the repayments.

Key Takeaways

  • Lifetime mortgages allow homeowners 55 or older to access the value of their home without selling it. There are no monthly repayments, and the loan is repaid upon death or moving into care.
  • There are different types of lifetime mortgages, such as roll-up, drawdown, flexible, and enhanced. Interest accrues over time, and repayment is often managed by selling the home.
  • To qualify for a lifetime mortgage, you must be at least 55 years old, own your home outright, and live in the property as your main residence. The property must also be in good condition.
  • Lifetime mortgages offer flexibility, the ability to stay in your home, access to tax-free cash, and more. But, you need to consider interest accumulation, impact on benefits, reduced inheritance, and restrictions on moving home.
  • Lifetime mortgages are not the only way to access equity. You can also downsize, take out an unsecured loan or remortgage. The best option for you will depend on your circumstances.

Get Matched with a Lifetime Mortgage Advisor Today

Releasing equity from your home is not a decision to be taken lightly. It can have a significant impact on the future value of your estate and reduce the inheritance you leave behind. 

Plus, there are many different types of lifetime mortgages with different rates and features, making it difficult to choose the best one for you.

That’s why it’s important to speak with a lifetime mortgage adviser. They can help you understand your options and choose a product that meets your needs and financial goals.

Lifetime mortgages offer flexibility, security, and control. But they also come with specific concerns and responsibilities.

Are you considering this option? Simply fill out this quick form. We will match you with a top lifetime mortgage adviser who help you make the most informed decision for your future.