Home Reversion Plan vs Lifetime Mortgage

Understanding the differences between a home reversion plan and a lifetime mortgage is crucial for homeowners considering equity release options in the UK. This article will walk you through the key aspects of each option, helping you make an informed decision that suits your financial needs. As with all financial decisions, seeking professional advice, tailored to your personal circumstances is always strongly recommended. 

What is a Lifetime Mortgage?

A lifetime mortgage is a type of financial arrangement designed primarily for older homeowners, typically those over the age of 55, which allows them to release equity from their property without the need to move out. This equity release scheme has gained popularity in the UK as a means for retirees to supplement their income, fund home improvements, or provide financial assistance to family members. Here’s a detailed explanation of what a lifetime mortgage entails:

Definition and Basic Concept

  • Equity Release: A lifetime mortgage involves unlocking the value tied up in your home while retaining ownership. The amount you can release depends on factors like your age and the property’s value.
  • Loan Against Home Value: Essentially, you’re taking out a loan secured against your home. This loan, along with the accrued interest, is typically repayable when you pass away or move into long-term care.

How It Works

  1. Loan Amount: You borrow a portion of your home’s value. The exact percentage depends on various factors, including the lender’s policy and your age (the older you are, the more you can typically borrow).
  2. Interest Rates: The interest rates on lifetime mortgages can be fixed or variable. The interest compounds over the life of the loan, meaning the amount you owe can grow quickly over time.
  3. Repayment: There’s no need to make monthly repayments. The loan and interest are repaid from the sale of your home when you die or move into permanent care. However, some plans allow voluntary payments to manage the debt.

Types of Lifetime Mortgages

  • Interest-Only: You pay the interest monthly, keeping the loan balance constant.
  • Roll-Up: No monthly payments; instead, interest rolls up over time, increasing the amount you owe.
  • Drawdown: Offers flexibility to draw down funds as needed, with interest accruing only on the amount drawn.


  • Financial Freedom: Provides a lump sum, regular income, or both, enhancing your financial situation in retirement.
  • Stay in Your Home: You continue to live in your home for the rest of your life or until you move into care.
  • No Negative Equity Guarantee: Most plans come with this guarantee, ensuring you never owe more than the value of your home.


  • Reduced Inheritance: As the loan plus interest is repaid from the sale of your home, it will reduce the amount you can leave as an inheritance.
  • Impact on Benefits: Releasing equity may affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.
  • Interest Accumulation: The rolled-up interest can grow rapidly, increasing the debt over the years.

A lifetime mortgage is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration. It offers a way to access the wealth tied up in your home, providing financial flexibility in retirement, but it also has long-term implications for your estate and personal finances. It’s always advisable to seek independent financial and legal advice before proceeding with a lifetime mortgage.

What is a Home Reversion Plan?

A home reversion plan is a type of equity release scheme specifically tailored for older homeowners, usually those aged 65 and above. This financial product allows individuals to access the equity tied up in their homes without the need to move out. Unlike lifetime mortgages, home reversion plans involve selling a portion or all of your property to a reversion company. Here’s a more detailed and descriptive look at what a home reversion plan entails:

Basic Concept

  • Property Sale: In a home reversion plan, you sell a part or your entire home to a home reversion provider in exchange for a lump sum of money, regular payments, or a combination of both.
  • Retain Residency: Despite selling a share of your home, you are entitled to live in it rent-free for the rest of your life or until you move into long-term care.

How It Works

  1. Valuation: Your property is valued by the provider to determine the amount of money you can receive.
  2. Sale Percentage: You decide what proportion of your home you want to sell. It could be anywhere from a small portion to the entire property.
  3. Payment: Based on the proportion sold and your property’s value, the provider offers a lump sum or regular payments. This amount is typically lower than the market value of the share of the home being sold.
  4. Lease Agreement: You enter into a lease agreement, usually at a nominal rent, allowing you to live in the property for the rest of your life.

Key Features

  • No Loan or Interest: As it’s not a loan, there’s no interest to pay, and you don’t accumulate any debt over time.
  • Security of Tenure: You have the legal right to stay in your home for life or until you need to move into care.


  • Debt-Free Option: Ideal for those who want to avoid taking on debt in their retirement years.
  • Clear Inheritance Planning: Since you know exactly what portion of your home you’ve sold, you can plan your estate and inheritance more clearly.
  • Flexible Options: Some plans offer the option to sell more of your property later on if you need additional funds.


  • Reduced Asset Value: Selling a part of your home means losing the full benefit of its potential increase in value over time.
  • Impact on Inheritance: The portion of the property sold will not form part of your estate for inheritance purposes.
  • Reduced Benefits: Releasing equity can affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits.
  • Irreversible Decision: Once entered into, home reversion plans are typically irreversible and can limit your future financial or moving options.

A home reversion plan offers a way to unlock the value in your home without taking on a loan, but it does involve selling a part of your most significant asset. It’s a decision that should be made after careful consideration and ideally with independent advice from financial and legal experts. This option can provide financial relief and greater freedom in retirement but also comes with important implications for your estate and long-term financial planning.

Comparing Home Reversion and Lifetime Mortgages

Comparing home reversion plans and lifetime mortgages involves understanding the key differences and similarities between these two popular types of equity release schemes. Both are designed to help older homeowners access the equity tied up in their homes, but they operate in fundamentally different ways. Here’s a detailed and descriptive comparison of the two:

Key Differences

  1. Ownership vs Sale: Lifetime mortgages involve borrowing against the value of your home, while home reversion involves selling a part of your property.
  2. Debt Accumulation: Lifetime mortgages can lead to debt accumulation due to interest, whereas home reversion plans do not involve debt as there’s no loan.
  3. Market Value Impact: With home reversion, the amount received is less than the market value of the sold share, whereas, in lifetime mortgages, the loan amount is generally more closely aligned with the property’s value.
  4. Flexibility: Lifetime mortgages often offer more flexibility in terms of how and when you access the equity and may allow for further borrowing in the future.
  5. Inheritance Considerations: Both reduce the value of your estate, but in different ways – through debt in lifetime mortgages and through the sale of assets in home reversion plans.


  • Equity Release: Both allow homeowners to access the equity in their homes without moving out.
  • Age Restrictions: Typically available to older homeowners, usually those aged 55 or above for lifetime mortgages and 65 or above for home reversion.
  • No Required Regular Income: Neither requires the homeowner to have a regular income to qualify.
  • Residency: Both allow you to remain living in your home until death or moving into long-term care.

Choosing between a home reversion plan and a lifetime mortgage depends on individual circumstances, including your financial needs, attitudes towards debt, and plans for your estate. A lifetime mortgage may be preferable for those who wish to retain full ownership of their home and are comfortable with accruing debt, while a home reversion plan might be more suitable for those who want to avoid debt and are willing to sell a portion of their home. It’s crucial to seek independent financial advice to fully understand the long-term implications of each option.

The information contained in this article should not be relied upon instead of professional financial advice. It is advisable to seek advice from an independent financial advisor who will take all aspects of your financial circumstances into account prior to giving advice.