I used the Home for Life Plan because I was coming towards retirement so I was looking at moving somewhere more comfortable. But I was also in a situation where I had bought at the top of the property market twice during my career so the amount of equity I had was limited.
While I was looking around, I saw the Homewise advert alongside some of the places I was looking at and realized that this would actually make things a lot more affordable.
When we started going through the process, we contacted obviously sons and daughters. Once we explained to them what it was and why we were doing it for our own security - but that there would be nothing to pass on to them, they were very supportive. As far as they were concerned, 'look you need this in order to provide comfort' and our stepson, who actually used to work in the financial industry, did quite a bit of work in the background. He came back to us and said 'yes, these people are genuine'.
Homewise improved things by making it possible for me to buy a better place than I could have afforded. In a situation I was in I could have afforded a two-bedroom flat outright - but that would have left me with a leasehold possibly in a tower block.
By using the Homewise service I was able to look and in the end buy a two-bedroom Victorian terrace with a small garden and the difference here knowing that I'm in a small house but it's effectively mine. I've got a garden and I've got no worries. It's mine for the rest of my life.
The first tentative inquiry I wasn't quite sure what the service was about. Obviously I'd heard of equity release plans so I was a bit suspicious - but from the moment I first contacted them, they could not have been more helpful. Sean sat down and explained the whole background of the thing to me, gave me documentation and was quite happy for other people to take up references. So it gradually built confidence in me. It felt like I finally got someone who was in my corner and interested in how things were going for me, and again the support that provided was invaluable.