With the population living longer, there are a number of people aged over fifty-five who are looking for financial products which can help them to achieve their retirement goals. With these considerations and the availability of the internet, it is unsurprising therefore that there has been an increasing popularity in home equity calculators.

Why equity release?
For the majority of people aged fifty-five and over, there are fewer opportunities available for additional income streams or conventional financial products. Equity release provides the option to release the equity tied up in your property without the need to move home. For people in the age group of the over fifty-fives,  a home equity calculator can help to establish whether they can raise enough funds from their home to supplement their pension, which may have decreased over time in real terms, finance a project or fund a new purchase.

Whereas a conventional mortgage would not generally be accessible for this age group to fund the purchase of a new property and the repayments would compromise their fixed income, an equity release lump sum is tax free and available for any purpose. The range of products, plans and schemes have been specifically designed and developed for this age group to provide more applicable financial solutions.

Making Initial Enquires
Regardless of your reason for interest in equity release, you primary concern is likely to be the amount which would be available for you. The first step before making any plans to proceed is to establish the maximum amount which could be borrowed. A home equity calculator can provide a quick and easy online solution to calculate the maximum possible release for your circumstances. This can help to finalise the decision as to whether you would like to proceed and speak to a professional equity release adviser. Using a calculator can also mean that when you do meet with your financial adviser, you will have already made some initial enquiries and have some basic knowledge about the available schemes and a good idea of how much equity could be released. The calculators are easy to use and you should ensure that you are prepared to provide relevant and correct information to achieve an accurate calculation.

Types of Plans
There are a great variety of home equity calculators and many will provide some insight into different types of plans. If you are looking to release the maximum amount of cash possible, you will most likely be directed towards a lifetime mortgage plan. Enhanced plans are available to those who are a certain age or older and have a history of poorer health. These calculations will be based on the likelihood that you would not live as long as someone who is aged fifty-five and in good general health. Some calculators will allow you to make direct comparisons between the types of plan to establish which would be better suited to your needs and preferences.

Information Requested
If you are interested in equity release and using a home equity calculator, you must be prepared to answer some personal and financial questions. You will be asked to supply basic details such as your age, current property value and if there is an existing mortgage on the property. However, you will usually also be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your health and lifestyle. This will include questions such as if you smoke in excess of ten cigarettes per day, whether you have a history of stroke or heart problems and whether you are currently suffering from any other health conditions. However, unlike many financial products where poor health can increase the cost of premiums, with an equity release lifetime mortgage, those with a poor health record will be able to release a higher percentage of the equity in their home. It is important to answer all of these questions as honestly as possible in order to determine an accurate assessment of what the maximum lump sum is possible for you.

If you are considering equity release but are concerned about whether it would be suitable for your circumstances, a home equity calculator may provide some reassurance. It can be a very quick and effective way to determine whether you would like to proceed further or seek out an alternative financial solution for your requirements. It can be worth taking the time to seek out a good calculator which provides tailored examples for your situation and some comparisons of possible plans. This will enable you to make an informed choice about whether or not you should proceed any further.