Specialist solicitors help accelerate equity release applications by up to 20 days

Using a specialist solicitor for equity release applications can save consumers between 15 and 20 working days on average, compared to employing a non-panel high street firm.

New analysis from more2life suggested these delays could comprise up to half of the 40 to 50 day average offer validity term, leaving clients likely to face the threat of rising interest rates through no fault of their own.

Using equity release lending figures and more2life’s data on the number of applications processed by non-specialist solicitors, the equity release lender estimated that more than £757m of equity release business has been impacted in this way between Q1 and Q3 this year alone.

Common issues that cause delays include solicitors using residential processes for equity release mortgages, such as submitting an indemnity policy that lenders cannot accept due to the potential length of the loan. more2life also suggested a lack of familiarity among non-specialist solicitors around timelines and differing criteria between lenders for various risks – including septic tanks and solar panels – is also a common reason for hold-ups in the process.

more2life corporate marketing director, Stuart Wilson, commented: “High street solicitors are essential in providing consumer access to legal services and knowledge, however for industries as individual as the equity release sector, today’s data shows that specialist knowledge is essential to completing an application in the best possible time.

“More and more older homeowners are turning to equity release to help boost their retirement income, fund house purchases or help loved ones financially, meaning having an efficient and smooth process in accessing their property wealth is vital. We urgently need to both promote the specialist expertise of panel solicitor firms and develop new tools for educating solicitors on the specific requirements of equity release compared to other forms of mortgage.

“Greater knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of equity release applications will help customers complete on their lifetime mortgage more quickly and achieve the retirement lifestyle they deserve.”

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