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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

New ‘silver’ website bans agents and bids to cut downsizing

A new website called Silver Sharers says it’s chief objective is to help older home owners remain in their properties without having to move to downsize.

The website operates a weekly newsletter and the combined service makes clear its objectives when it says; “It's intended to help older people remain in their own homes by filling a spare room with someone who needs one and providing them with some form of payment (either financial or through offering home help).”

It also appears to avoid using lettings agents for the sharing or renting side of the deal by connecting prospective tenants directly with home owners.

The website includes listings of properties owned or rented by older individuals or families with a spare room. 

“We are not open to agents” it says explicitly.

According to the site itself, this is how it works: “To list your property, fill in the form and we'll call you to verify your identity and help you with any questions you may have. After that, your property details are sent out to our database of prospective tenants as part of our weekly newsletter and listed on our Facebook page. Prospective tenants get in touch with us if they’re interested and, once they’ve been verified, we connect you with each other.”

Anyone listing a property pays £10 while those subscribing to the newsletter do so for free - however, the newsletter does “not accept listings from agents or other third party brokers.”

There’s been growing concern in the agency and wider property industries about the issue of downsizing, which some believe would - if it occurred more often - free larger homes for younger buyers.

Research for equity release company Key shows that 15 per cent of owners aged 55 and over - roughly 1.2m people - say they would at least consider moving if they did not have to pay stamp duty. Another 30 per cent, equivalent to almost 2.5m, say their decision on moving would be “influenced” by the scrapping of the duty.

Anxieties about the falling number of older owners moving has led some agents to call for equity release to have some form of tax or duty attached to it, just as stamp duty would have been attached to a downsize house move in many cases. 

Their argument has been that a failure to move has effectively limited the housing stock of larger properties which might have been freed up through downsizing.

You can see the Silver Sharers website here.

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    I don't see how you can morally attach stamp duty to something which is basically taking out a form of mortgage later in life. Much equity release comprises lifetime mortgages which are very similar to standard mortgages for younger people, but where the interest rate is commonly around double, but with the advantage that the borrower has the option of whether to repay the interest yearly or let it accrue over a period. If you love your home which you have lived in for decades and watched your family grow up in and is part of you, why should you be pressurised into leaving it when you only have 10% - 20% of your life left to live?

  • Paul Barrett

    If you are a homeowner under NO circumstances do you ever have a tenant; a lodger yes who has effectively very few rights.
    There are already several FREE websites that provide for lodgers and live-in LL.
    This Silver site caters for the more senior lodger!
    Nothing wrong with that.
    But lodgers must not be referred to as tenants!
    LA aren't needed to source lodgers as there are many free websites.
    Nobody should need the rip off equity release schemes anymore since the advent of the very new lifetime mortgage.
    If your income can support a larger mortgage then as it is IO you can borrow more.
    The more debt the less will be in your estate.
    Lenders love the lifetime mortgage as most are 50% LTV and it keeps a mortgage going til actual death!

    I intend to get one and never repay it while I'm alive.
    My estate should have enough to repay the lifetime mortgage debt.
    Equity release mortgages are so last year!!

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