It’s a booming market, after all: last year saw a record £3bn lent in UK equity release, smashing the previous record £2bn lent in 2016.
But even aside from the market’s growth, getting qualified makes sense as a way of targeting older consumers.
The qualification completes the suite of mortgage exams, meaning I’m better qualified to offer broader advice to older clients who are increasingly interested in equity release as a product.
We meet a lot of older people who want mortgages but struggle to access mainstream products – equity release can sometimes provide a solution for them.
Rather than refer them elsewhere if it is an option, why not help them ourselves?
Right conditions for growth
And while the boom the market is seeing now might not last forever, the conditions are in place for long-term growth in equity release lending.
Many people nowadays are in their thirties before they get their first mortgage – meaning we will increasingly see more people still with mortgage debt at retirement.
Recently we’ve also seen many older homeowners with interest-only mortgages looking for options to help them make their final payment.
Equity release offers those reaching their golden years without having paid off their mortgage a solution allowing them to clear that debt and no longer have to make monthly repayments.
We also see people interested in equity release for other reasons. Some want to release part of the value they have built in their own home to help their children get onto the housing ladder.
Others are keen to tap into property wealth to help fund home improvements, ranging from traditional conservatory extensions to fitouts for accessibility needs such as wheelchair ramps, or to cover ballooning care costs.
So it was with the potential to tap into that interest in mind that I sat Retirement Advantage’s Equity Release Exam Workshop earlier this year, to get the training needed to get qualified to offer equity release.
Good for business and clients
I found it tremendously rewarding. It gave me the confidence, knowledge and support to sit the exam straight away, and pass.
I can now talk to clients in supervised cases about using property wealth; and with the help of The Right Mortgage & Protection Network’s in-house accreditation and training courses, soon I will be well prepared to advise on these cases solo.
For advisers considering whether to get equity release qualified, I would say that now is the time to do it.
The product will only become more relevant with an aging population, and the industry has changed beyond recognition from the reputation it had back in the nineties.
Equity release won’t be right for everybody. But getting qualified gives you the knowledge to be able to offer it when appropriate to a client’s needs.
And it means you won’t have to refer clients elsewhere. That’s better not only for your business: but for clients too.