Having been the first volume lender to offer remote valuations, equity release lender, more2life, has today announced that – in line with Government safety guidelines – it will now offer customers access to physical valuations as well.
Dual track approach to valuations
The lender will be introducing a dual track system alongside its valuation partner, e.surv, using a combination of both physical and remote valuations to help customers move forward with equity release applications. more2life’s dual track process will ensure that, in cases where physical valuations are not possible*, there will be a rapid remote valuation alternative available to homeowners to ensure they receive the necessary lending quickly and efficiently.
more2life’s return to physical valuations follows the government’s announcement last week that it was starting to lift restrictions on home visits, as part of a gradual easing of the national lockdown. more2life’s in-person valuations will continue in accordance with the latest guidance on safe home inspection practices and suitable risk assessments will be undertaken as part of the booking process prior to any physical valuation being carried out in a customer’s home.
Dave Harris, Chief Executive Officer at more2life, comments: “With the later life lending market facing significant challenges, more2life is working hard to be as flexible as possible with regards to valuations – an area that we know from our own research is a real cause for concern for advisers. If we can do a physical valuation on a customer’s property, we will do so but if we can’t, then we can provide a remote valuation instead. It is all about helping advisers help their clients and keeping the market moving at a time at a time of huge uncertainty.”
Building understanding of valuation options
With remote valuations a relatively new innovation in the later life lending market, research** on over 350 advisers suggests that they are keen to understand more with 45% saying that a Q&A on this topic is one of the most useful workshops that a lender could provide. With this in mind, more2life has launched a video series explaining how these valuations work which is designed to support those advisers who find that physical valuations are not possible for their clients.
Six month rate & term guarantee to support customers
Changes to legal advice rules last month enabled the equity release market to introduce fully remote processes for the first time in the sector’s history, providing a solution to customers who needed to access their housing equity during lockdown to. While more2life announced that it would guarantee rates and terms for a six-month period to provide these customers with much needed certainty, the reintroduction of physical valuations will now enable many more of these customers to move forward with their applications.
Dave Harris continues: “As our recent research shows, education and resources on how to navigate the ‘new normal’ is what many advisers are demanding. Over the coming weeks, it will be up to lenders and trade bodies to provide intermediaries with the tools they require to ensure they are aware of how to handle property valuations and the remote advice process amid government restrictions. The cooperation of the industry will better help many advisers in their conversations and dealings with older clients, especially as the government announces further updates and the industry starts moving back towards a more ‘normal’ working environment.”
Earlier this year, more2life launched its manifesto, which sees the brand focusing on three core areas: technology, resources for advisers, and a broad and innovative product range. Today’s announcement reflects the brands efforts to champion support measures for advisers and customers through the current turbulence.
*In homes where residents are clinically vulnerable or parts of the country where physical valuations are not currently permissible
** = Research undertaken on over 350 later life and equity release advisers in May 2020 via surveymonkey.
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