While this is a remarkable step for the equity release industry and borrowers alike, a surge in product choice means that criteria and underwriting approaches will differ further between lenders. This makes it more challenging for advisers to navigate the vast number of solutions on offer and gauge which product their clients are most suitable for.
As customer demand continues, gaining confidence with varying lender criteria and underwriting approaches will stand equity release advisers in good stead and help them secure the best outcomes for later life clients.
Support systems are key
Advisers should make use of all available resources when dealing with older clients. Some equity release lenders offer online criteria tools which can help advisers determine a customer’s eligibility for a product, while many will have adviser support teams on hand to offer further guidance and clarity on specific concerns.
Sourcing tools can help too – Air Sourcing for example has an integration with criteria database Knowledge Bank.
Advisers must help themselves to help others
Research is, and always will be, paramount to ensuring a confident conversation with a client.
By researching and familiarising themselves with any hurdles that could delay the equity release journey, advisers will be better able to manage client expectations from the outset and clarify which products clients are able to access.
For example, a flat roof on a property might delay the application process if certain lenders do not accept these as part of their criteria, reinforcing the importance for advisers to confirm any issues and solutions at the start of the process.
An open book
When it comes to navigating the different equity release lender underwriting approaches, a good first step for advisers is to outline the documentation required by the client at the beginning of the process, including detail relating to the condition of the client’s property.
Checking through lender guides can help hugely in this area and ensure advisers understand exactly what they need from the client to move cases swiftly through the underwriting process.
Ultimately, following these steps can vastly improve the efficiency of advisers’ work when supporting equity release clients, all the while helping them keep on top of growing product choice and ongoing customer demand.