Buy-to-Let and Equity-Release Mortgages Provide Our Retirement Income

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We’ve spoken to countless over-50s who've had difficulty accessing mortgages in later life. Read one couple’s story of working with experts to find the best solution.


Access to mortgages and loans for over-55s is probably one of the greatest market challenges we are taking on at 55/Redefined. We’ve spoken to countless people in this age group who have had difficulty accessing mortgages in later life due to non-traditional income streams and various other reasons. This is one couple’s story of working with the right expert advisors to find the best solution for their circumstances.

Jean Fleet, now 58 and her husband, John, now 60, retired three years ago and are living off income from their holiday lets which they were able to purchase through buy-to-let and equity release mortgages.

“My husband and I took early retirement about three years ago, when I was 55 and John was 58. Prior to that, we ran our own convenience store business. It was 20 years of 14-hour days, 365 days a year and we’d both had enough. We had a little bit of money behind us, in that we could buy our house outright and we also got property on a buy-to-let mortgage,” explains Jeans.

Very early on in her retirement, Jean was asked if she would look after some holidays lets and jumped at the offer.

“After about a year, one came up for sale and I thought, ‘You know what, these are always busy, so we bought it with capital we had,” Jeans says. “It’s one of the best things that we’ve done. And that all went really well but we’re never people to stand still and are always keeping an eye out and another one came up.

To buy the first place, the buy-to-let property, Jean and her partner remortgaged their house to get some equity out of it, rather than use their investments.

“At the time our financial advisor said that was the best way to go. That worked well as we can pay it back, there’s certainly enough money being made from the holiday let to pay it off,” says Jean.

“When the other holiday let came up, which is double the size – a bigger and better one and I had it in my mind that yes, I liked to do this, but the financial advisor advised us no. ‘Why would you do that?’ he said ‘Your investments are still making money. You don’t need to do it, why are you doing it?’. But of course, I still wanted to do it. Then they put us in touch with Rachel from B Financial advisors who then come up with equity release idea.”

Jean was referred to Fluent Money in June 2021 by a mortgage broker who had suggested that equity release might be the right option. Rachel, the mortgage broker, has a relationship setup with Fluent for these types of cases.

When Fluent Money first spoke to Jean, she expressed that she wanted to go for a lifetime mortgage to buy a lodge at a holiday let, as it was already holiday season, she also wanted to go through the process and purchase the property as quickly as possible because she wanted to make the most of letting the property during the holiday season. Give she was also considering paying off the lifetime mortgage after 10 years and to avoid interest rolling up and to ensure the ability to pay the interest and capital off ad hoc, Joe Bradshaw, her Equity Release Adviser at Fluent Money, recommended equity release.

“This product gave Mrs Fleet her the option to pay off without any penalties or early repayment charges,” Joe explains. “It also meant Mrs Fleet was able to make as many payments towards to capital and interest through the life of the loan.”

Thanks to product innovation over the past five years in equity release, Jean was able to take out a lifetime mortgage to purchase a lodge. This came with a competitive fixed rate for life, ability to make payments and able to repay without penalties when she was able. This would not have been possible previously.

“This demonstrates the importance of considering all product options available to the customer when delivering advice, particularly in later life lending,” Joe says. “At Fluent, we offer specialist advice on equity release but also consider mortgages, bridging and loans as part of our product offering to later life customers.”

Jean and John now have a buy-to-let and two holiday lets and are thrilled with their investments.

“Although we do have to work at them to do changeovers and all of that sort of thing,” Jeans says, “it’s only a street up from us, so it’s not too much and it now means that not only can we repay that equity release within a few of years, but also there’s enough money to live on without using any of our capital, so it has given us a nice little income.”

You can take a look and Jean and John’s equity release property, Honey Bee Lodge, here on Airbnb.

To speak to our mortgage partner, Fluent Money, about equity release – and other mortgage options – set up a free call now. Fluent Money have the largest panel of lenders that provide equity release, second-home mortgages, buy-to-let, retirement interest-only mortgages, and the expertise to support you hand in hand to get you the funding that you seek.

And if you’re interested in getting into holiday letting but don’t want to take on managing the property yourself, are here to the rescue. Read: “How We Use Holiday Homes to Supplement Our Income and Pension” and “10 Reasons to Get into Holiday Letting” for all the details on how easy the process is and the potential return on investment you might expect. For more on this, watch our Instagram Live “How to Use Holiday Letting to Generate Retirement Income” below.