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Is Equity Release the Best Way to Buy a House in Sweden a Year Before We Sell in the UK?


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My husband and I are going to move to Sweden when he retires as he wants to be nearer to his family. We own our home outright. We are thinking of taking out equity release for £150,000 to buy and decorate a property about a year before we move out of and sell our current home. Is this a good idea? Is there a better option of releasing money from the property? Our house is worth approximately £650,000.

A I’m not sure that it is a good idea. But that’s because I can’t imagine being able to manage the renovation of a property at long distance, not to mention the cost of insuring an empty property that is miles away. But if you are made of sterner stuff than I am, you may be pleased to hear that, according to Andy Vickery, an equity release expert and mortgage adviser at the independent brokers Money Release, “lifetime mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low, so now might be the best time for you to look at equity release”. But it is worth noting that if you want to release just under 24% of the value of your home (which is what £150,000 represents) the younger of you has to be over 60. If you are under 60 the most you will be able to release is £97,500 (which is 15% of £650,000).

Another factor is the interest rate that you’ll be charged. Vickery says the lowest interest rate is currently 6.2% fixed for life, while the highest is 9.39%. On the plus side, you don’t actually have to pay out the interest as it is added to the amount you initially borrowed. On the minus side, because of the interest added to the original loan, there will be less left over when you come to sell the house. It would be cheaper and simpler to wait until you have sold your UK property to buy your Swedish home.

You should also investigate whether you need to get a residency visa now that the UK is no longer part of the EU. As a third-country national (unlike EU, EEA or Swiss citizens) you won’t be able to live, work and own property in Sweden without the necessary visa. It would be helpful to read through the UK government’s advice on living in Sweden, which was last updated in March 2022, and also the advice on the Swedish website Migrationsverket.

Source : The Guardian

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