How does equity release work?

If you're 55 or over, your home could look after you with an equity release Lifetime mortgage. Find out how our equity release Lifetime mortgage works with our handy video.

Why choose a Nationwide Lifetime mortgage

Releasing equity can unlock the hidden potential in your home – whether you’re looking to do home improvements, clear debt, or take that trip of a lifetime.

An equity release Lifetime mortgage has:

  • No mandatory monthly payments

    Your mortgage is paid off from the proceeds of the sale of your home when the last borrower moves into long term care or dies. So, you don’t have to make monthly capital or interest payments. But, if you don’t, bear in mind that the balance will increase over the term.

  • A maximum loan amount of £1 million

    The maximum loan amount depends on your age, and how much your property is worth. If you live in Wales or Scotland, the maximum loan amount is £515,000.

  • Downsizing protection

    After 5 years, this lets you downsize and repay your loan in full, without incurring an Early Repayment Charge (ERC). It's only an option if you move to a lower value property that doesn't meet our lending criteria.

With Nationwide you also get:

  • No fees

    There are no valuation or product fees with this mortgage.

  • Free specialist mortgage advice

    Our specialist mortgage advisers can help you decide if releasing equity is right for you, and how much you could release from your home. Plus, there’s no obligation to apply.

  • £1,000 cashback on initial completion

    You’ll need to take independent legal advice for this type of mortgage but, you could put the £1,000 cashback towards these legal costs.

  • A ‘no negative equity guarantee’

    This means when your property is sold, if there's not enough left over to repay what's owed, your estate won't have to pay the extra.

  • Flexible repayments

    If you want to, you can repay up to 10% of the loan amount each year without incurring an Early Repayment Charge (ERC). If you’ve held a Lifetime mortgage with us for at least 15 years, you won’t pay any ERCs at all.

  • The flexibility to borrow more in the future

    This option is subject to eligibility criteria.

To apply for a Lifetime mortgage

You need to be:

  • aged 55 to 84 (or 94 if you already have a Nationwide mortgage)
  • applying for a mortgage on your main residence only.

Is a Lifetime mortgage right for you?

Entering into a Lifetime mortgage or any kind of equity release may reduce the amount of inheritance you can leave for loved ones. It may also affect your tax position and eligibility for state benefits. Our specialist mortgage advisers can talk you through this.

Read our guide to releasing equity

A Nationwide equity release Lifetime mortgage is not available for:

  • Certain types of properties

    You cannot apply for a Lifetime mortgage if you live in a Grade I or II* listed property or sheltered accommodation. It is also not suitable for properties that are above, next to, or opposite commercial premises.

  • Those using affordable home ownership schemes

    For example, if you are using a shared ownership or Right to Buy scheme.

  • Some areas of the British Isles

    You cannot apply for one of these mortgages if you live on the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Channel Islands, non-mainland Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Attend our releasing equity with Nationwide event

On the 7 June 2022, we're hosting a free, online event about releasing equity with Nationwide. Our specialist mortgage advisers will talk you through our range of borrowing options, plus you can ask any questions you might have.

Speak to us and find out how to apply

To find out if our Lifetime and retirement mortgages are right for you, and how much equity you could release from your home, get in touch.

We can arrange an appointment for you with one of our specialist mortgage advisers.

Member stories: Helping Andy and Christine enjoy retirement

With help from our mortgages for over 55s, they’re living retirement, their way.


Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your mortgage is secured on your home. Check that this mortgage will meet your needs if you want to move or sell your home or you want your family to inherit it. If you are in any doubt, seek independent advice.