If you need money for home improvements or a business, then you could use your mortgage to generate the credit you need. Although using your mortgage to generate credit shouldn't be your first choice, if other lines of credit are closed to you then releasing equity from your home is a good way to generate a line of credit.
When should you release equity?
Releasing equity should definitely not be your first choice for generating credit. If you need money over a short period, then try using credit cards or save up the money. You could also get a personal loan. However, if you have a lot of equity paid for in your property and you need a large sum of money, then equity release could be helpful. Also, if other lines of funding are not open to you because of poor credit or other reasons, then equity release might be for you.
One way to release equity in your property is to remortgage. You simply have to get a new mortgage, borrowing more than you currently owe on your property. This way you can make use of some of the capital you have already paid back into your home to consolidate debt or make home improvements.
Mortgage for life
Another way to release equity using your mortgage is to change your mortgage to a lifetime mortgage. This means that you take out a mortgage that will allow you to get a lump sum that you can spend as you choose. The interest rates on the loan will be high, and will be allowed to accumulate for your lifetime. When you die, the loan is repaid through the sale of the house. If the value of the loan and interest is more than the house is worth, the lender absorbs the loss. If the loan amount is less then the extra money is distributed to heirs according to your will.
Home reversion is another method of equity release. Home reversion means that you sell a proportion of your house to a company, who will give you a lump sum in return. When the house is eventually sold after death then the company receives the proportion of the house that they paid for, whether that is more or less than the loan that was given out.
Problems with equity release
Although equity release can free up much needed funds, there are a number of flaws with the concept. The major problem is the risk involved. You might be giving up a lot of home equity that has taken you years to build up for a relatively small loan amount. Equity release should be looked at as a last resort, but if you know what you are getting into then using your mortgage to generate credit can help you pay for items that you need or to consolidate high interest debts.