Sun Life

SunLife equity release review

In this review, you'll discover the key advantages and disadvantages of SunLife equity release products.

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SunLife offers a range of financial services to make life easier for over-50s, including the ability to release equity from their home to receive a cash lump sum.

What equity release products are available?

SunLife offers a range of lifetime mortgages for customers aged over 55.

This mortgage is a loan secured against your property, with no obligation to make repayments until after you die or move into long-term care.

SunLife offers the following options:

  • Roll-up Lifetime Mortgage. Take your loan as a cash lump sum.
  • Drawdown Lifetime Mortgage. Release your loan over time and only pay interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn.
  • Interest-Only Lifetime Mortgage. Take your loan as a cash lump sum, pay monthly interest on it and then pay off the capital after you die or move into long-term care.

At the time of this review, SunLife was advertising interest rates “from 2.26%” with a price-match guarantee. Under this guarantee, SunLife promises to either match a better rate if you can find one or pay you £500. You’ll also receive a free fingerprint kit worth £59 as a welcome gift.

The rate offered to you will depend on your age, property value and the amount of equity you have built up.

How does it work?

Once your application is accepted, you’ll be transferred your initial lump sum. Interest will begin to accumulate on this figure straight away.

You’ll retain 100% ownership of your home and can remain living there as long as you wish.

You can choose to make early repayments on your loan, but you’ll face a sizeable early repayment charge (ERC).

Once you die or move into long-term care, SunLife will take the capital and interest out of your estate.

Is SunLife equity release safe?

The main danger with a lifetime mortgage is that interest can compound quickly over a long time, meaning there may be little left to leave to your heirs at the end of the term.

However, all lifetime mortgages have a no-negative equity guarantee, so you’ll never owe more than the total value of your property.

On top of that all, the FCA has made it compulsory for you to apply for a lifetime mortgage with the help of a financial adviser. So, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and whether it’s a good decision for you.

Eligibility criteria

You’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 55 years old
  • Own a property in the UK worth at least £70,000
  • Have no existing mortgage or a small mortgage you can pay off with the loan (you’ll have to do this)

How to apply

You can begin your application by calling a SunLife adviser on 0800 633 55 66.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Several products to choose from.
  • Price-match guarantee.
  • Lenient eligibility criteria.

Cons

  • Interest can compound quickly, leaving little for your beneficiaries after you die.
  • There is little flexibility when it comes to early repayments. You’ll nearly always face an early repayment charge.

SunLife customer reviews

SunLife has received positive reviews from customers, according to review platform Trustpilot. It currently has a rating of 4.7 out of 5, based on more than 3,000 reviews (updated 12 April 2021). Many customers cited its helpful and knowledgable staff and good customer service.

Our verdict

The price-match guarantee makes this provider one worth investigating.

With that said, there is no option to pay off your loan early without facing an early repayment charge. Other providers offer more flexibility for you to do this.

Frequently asked questions

We work with Age Partnership, one of the UK’s leading equity release specialists, which scours more than 500 deals to find the best equity release products. We compare only lifetime mortgages, and do not compare any home reversion plans. To understand the features and risks of lifetime mortgages, ask for a personalised illustration from a lifetime mortgage company. Check that this type of mortgage is suitable for your needs if you plan to move or sell your home or you want your family to inherit it. If you're not certain, seek independent advice. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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