How we've helped people like yourself
"It’s a fantastic company. I’d recommend them to anyone"
Alan Jones, 73
When you’re a recent widower in your 70s and recovering from surgery following a cancer scare, the last thing you need to be worrying about is a mortgage.
But that’s exactly what 73-year-old retiree Alan was doing after an 18-month period he freely admits “hasn’t been easy”.
Alan retired from his 40-year career in engineering in 2005 at the same time as his wife. They went on to buy a static caravan in Caernarfon that they could enjoy for short breaks away from their home in south Wales, where they’d raised their two (now grown-up) children.
“Unfortunately, my wife passed away last year. We had 12 very good years together [when we retired] before she became ill,” he says. “We did plenty of walking and enjoying life to the full.”
He recalls: “When she retired we were offered a good discount on a house because she worked for the council, so we purchased again in 2006 and got a mortgage through a mainstream bank on interest only, because it was a lot cheaper.
“The plan was to sell the house and the caravan after 15 years and buy a little house in North Wales because that's where we both loved.”
It was only after Alan’s wife died unexpectedly that his housing situation got complicated. There were issues with the Land Registry department, which Alan describes as “a nightmare”, because they’d incorrectly registered him and his wife as unmarried partners.
This caused legal complications. Coupled with his age and circumstances, he received little solace from various lenders and brokers who would quickly and frequently write him off for any kind of help.
And when he explains his situation, it’s easy to understand his frustrations as his current lender, stalled on renewing his mortgage.
“I don’t have any credit cards and I don’t owe any money,” he explains. “My pension is a stable income for the rest of my life, so it’s much more secure, and I know my children don’t need anything because they’re doing very well in life.
“I was worried I was going to be kicked out of my house and have to sell the caravan until I spoke to my son, who put me in touch with a broker he knew.”
When he was subsequently recommended LiveMore, he says things then started to improve. He felt he was being listened to and understood again.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” he continues. “I kicked my previous lender into touch [because] they weren’t very helpful at all.
“It’s far easier for me to manage a mortgage now than when I was first married with two young children. That’s when you need the money, not when you’re retired and you’ve got everything in place.
“[LiveMore] is a fantastic company. I’d recommend them to anyone, I really would, because they’ve been absolutely brilliant and I’ve had no problems at all. I wish there’d been more places like that around 15 years ago, really.”
Now, with his mortgage concerns a thing of the past, Alan busies himself with his allotment and volunteering with a local football club. It can be a hectic schedule, he explains – so much so that he won’t even let something as significant as cancer surgery get in the way.
Since his wife passed away, Alan’s main source of companionship has been his shih tzu dog Fred – who seems to be as glad as Alan that the caravan remains in the family, thanks to the new mortgage.
“Fred has been my saviour,” he says. “I don’t know what I would have done without him.
“But my little dog, he loves it up there [in Caernarfon] because we’re only 100 yards from a two-mile-long beach. It’s lovely.
“If we want to go away for a nice quiet night, that’s where we go. I’m so glad we still have it.”
"This is what makes LiveMore unique"
Mrs R has devoted her years in work - and in semi-retirement - to helping children and young adults who've endured challenging starts in life. But when it came to making home improvements and remortgaging her house, as a single woman in her 60s with multiple incomes, her financial advisor warned that options are more limited.
During her professional life in education and social care, Mrs R worked in some of the most difficult environments: areas suffering from riots and social unrest; deprived inner-city schools; and working with children whose lives had been continually disrupted due to their family circumstances.
Since semi-retirement, Mrs R’s commitment to vulnerable children hasn’t waned either through her work with charities and support groups.
“All the way through my life, I've only ever been looking for ways that I can make a difference to children,” she says. “And I was never happier than when I was actually teaching.”
However, Mrs R was to find her own circumstances challenging as she approached the end of her fixed-rate mortgage. Having moved from one of the cheaper areas of the country to one of the most expensive, to be near her family, she was looking for some financial assistance to make home improvements.
“I wanted the back of my house to be a beautiful liveable space – it’s south facing so I wanted to sit and look out at my garden as opposed to looking out at the road in front,” she explains.
“I needed additional money to do that, but even though I didn’t have any other debt and a good credit profile, my existing lender wanted me to take out a second mortgage on top of my first. It just felt messy.”
Mrs R’s issue was that her high street lender had a somewhat blinkered view of her income streams and her affordability and suggested she would have to move to a repayment mortgage before they would give her the extra capital.
“I don't see the need to own my house outright so I wanted to stay interest-only,” she continues.
“The other problem is that most lenders will only take into account two income streams, but I have five – my pensions and two incomes from part-time and self-employment. In a couple of years’ time, when I start getting my state pension, I’ll have six.
“Individually, none of these are sufficiently large to service a mortgage of the size I was asking for but, when you add them all up, it's a fairly decent income.”
Mrs R sought the help of a financial advisor, who put her in touch with LiveMore, where everyone’s circumstances are appraised according to their own merits instead of applying rigid rules and criteria.
“That's what makes LiveMore unique,” Mrs R says. “And it’s what a lot of people are looking for now. [As a society] we’re moving away from everybody having one job.
“I've not had one job – I've reinvented myself and I'm still doing it now.”
Through a more detailed exploration of her income streams, LiveMore were able to offer Mrs R a five-year fixed-rate mortgage on a payment plan that worked for her, which also released enough funds to create the open plan living space she’d always wanted and give her the freedom she desired.
“LiveMore have enabled me to have the value of my own roof, my own front door and my security on my own terms,” she beams. “For me, that's a wonderful place to be.”
A great reward after a working life spent giving to others.
"It’s like a huge cloud has been lifted"
Soaring rental prices are a growing issue for anyone who isn’t on the property ladder. So, when a retiree and senior citizen is considering selling his house and joining them due to mortgage issues, it’s a sure sign something isn’t right.
David Higginson, 69, was approaching the end of his mortgage deal with a high street lender, having been paying for his Manchester home on interest-only terms since before the 2009 financial crash.
Armed with a generous final-salary pension and a reasonable chunk of equity in his property, it wasn’t unreasonable that he expected to be able to renew with his existing lender. But, when the time came to have this discussion, he was to be sorely disappointed.
“I’d started worrying about [my mortgage] for a few years because, having been paying interest only, I realised I wouldn’t have enough cash to clear it,” he explains.
“I got in touch with my lender to ask them what I should do and they just weren’t interested. They told me not to worry and to ring them back in six months’ time. It wasn’t particularly helpful.”
With his options seemingly limited – dismissed and disenfranchised due to his age and circumstances – David even contemplated selling his two-bedroom, semi-detached property. He was worried he wouldn’t be able to afford his future repayments, and he knew equity release wasn’t right for him.
“I must get either an email or a letter every day from some company about equity release,” he reveals. “It’s unbelievable – I was never interested in that.”
As the end of his existing deal neared – and feeling largely ignored by the high street lender and the rest of the mainstream market – David sought help from a broker, who directed him to a retirement interest-only mortgage, and LiveMore.
“I spoke to the brokers at the end of June; it was all completed by September,” he says. “It was very quick really and, on the whole, I found the experience quite easy.
“I have spent the last three years worrying about what I was going to do. It’s like a huge cloud has been lifted off my shoulders straight away.”
David is now certain that LiveMore’s targeted product and service was the right choice – one he didn’t even know he had after his initial discussions with his former lender.
“There must be lots more people like me in the same sort of situation,” he says.
“I’d be paying a lot more if I had sold and gone out to rent. I am going to carry on paying the mortgage so, at the end of the day, I’ve still got equity in the house.
“This way, I know what I’m going to be paying all the time. Even though I am paying slightly more than I was with my previous lender, I am better off. If I was renting, it’d be double.”
As a volunteer at a local National Trust property, and having spent years in the wine trade, David knows only too well the rewards of properly looking after certain vintages.
Now, thanks to LiveMore, David himself feels more valued, more content and – most importantly – more comfortable at home.
"We felt euphoric when we realised it was possible"
Gary & Elizabeth
It’s rare for anyone to say applying for a mortgage made them feel 40 or 50 years younger. However, for one couple in their 60s and 70s, this was the difference they experienced between high street lenders and LiveMore when borrowing for their purchase of a house by the sea.
Gary, 71, a retired consultant surgeon, and his wife Elizabeth, 62, a former NHS nursing practitioner, had been looking to sell their apartment in south London.
However, they instead decided to find out if they could keep the apartment as a rental asset and start afresh by buying their dream home in Cornwall.
“I wanted to live in Devon or Cornwall, as having seen it, I was just desperate to go back,” explains Gary, who worked across the country as an NHS consultant surgeon – including in the south-west.
“I felt elated, euphoric when I realised it was possible.”
He continues: “At first I thought getting a mortgage should be straightforward because I'd never had a problem before, but… this time I found people were talking a different sort of language to me because I’m not 35, or even 55, anymore.”
Gary’s experience isn’t uncommon. Many high street lenders are unwilling to be flexible when it comes to older borrowers and are ultra-conservative when factoring in pensions and other income streams for their affordability calculations.
“The arrangement fees and interest rates were high and the amount they wanted to lend was miserly,” he explains. “We couldn’t even have afforded the garage of the place we were trying to buy.”
Fortunately, Gary and Elizabeth’s financial advisor knew of LiveMore and put them in touch. Elizabeth, who grew up in south London, says the difference was refreshing.
“[When we started speaking to LiveMore] it was like being 20 again,” she smiles.
“If you pass the age of 50 in this country, it can feel like you’re useless or you're just stuck in a home and discarded.
“Other lenders would look at our pensions and say, ‘there's nothing we can do’. We were absolutely snookered and the whole thing felt very negative. Fortunately, LiveMore was the other side of the equation. It was very smooth.
“What I also found positive was that when I spoke to LiveMore and told them my age, I didn’t hear a 22-year-old pausing and saying, ‘Ah, ok…’ [LiveMore] just made me feel like a normal person applying for a mortgage. You underestimate how different that is.”
By factoring in the couple’s likely rental income from their apartment, as well as their pensions and other investments, LiveMore’s mortgage offer began to look more enticing than one of the other options they investigated – equity release.
“I wasn’t overly familiar with it, but we looked at it and took lots of phone calls about it – in some ways too many because [the lenders] bombarded us with adverts,” Elizabeth says.
“We were a bit suspicious of it – they wanted thousands of pounds up front with no guarantees after that. We decided it wasn’t right for us.”
After opting not to pursue equity release and exploring their options with LiveMore, Gary and Elizabeth opted for an affordable, interest-only mortgage to make the move from the capital to the West Country – and they’ve not looked back.
“We’ve always loved travelling but it's lovely here, especially summer in Cornwall,” Gary adds.
“As I look to the left there are rolling fields and Canadian geese flying past. It’s wonderful. Really, we just haven't had the urge to go anywhere since we moved to be honest.”
"It wouldn't have worked, until we discovered LiveMore"
Applying for your first mortgage can be a daunting, stressful time. Now imagine you’re a semi-retired widower, a mother of four, undertaking this on your own and against your own property because your youngest child needs your help to afford their first home.
Georgie Wallace moved to England from Dublin when she was 19 and met her husband David at university. They got married and both began working in the same drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre together, before starting to raise a family in Reading, Berkshire.
Sadly, aged just 43, David tragically died – leaving Georgie with two children still at home alongside their eldest two who’d already moved out. And she says the experience of raising her children alone “changed her”.
“All parents feel responsible for their children, of course, but it's deeper when you're a lone parent,” she says.
“You're trying to compensate and make life better for them. I felt like their happiness was my responsibility and I don’t think I’ve ever really shaken that off. It was sad, and a difficult time for our family, but we got through it.”
With all her children now grown up, Georgie’s sense of responsibility towards them remains. Indeed, this led her to seek out her first ever mortgage, to help her youngest son Jamie, as David’s life insurance had paid for the house Georgie still lives in today.
“Jamie and his partner were trying to buy a house,” she reveals. “It was his partner's grandfather's – so a specific house that was special to them as a couple – but he couldn’t raise enough money. His partner is disabled and a student, and trying to get a mortgage with only one wage was impossible.”
In her attempts to support her son, Georgie says she gave serious consideration to equity release before realising the sums didn’t quite add up for her.
“I investigated it fully but, with the amount I’d have had to take out and the compound interest, I would have ended up having to sell this house if I really wanted to help [my son],” she says.
“I might [sell my property] at some stage for my own sake anyway, but I don’t want to be forced into it.”
Just when Georgie’s options seemed to be running out she found LiveMore – opening up entirely new prospects for borrowing through what she describes as a “very easy” approvals process.
“It just wouldn’t have worked, until we discovered LiveMore,” she says. “It was quite stressful working with the two houses, and the other mortgage company Jamie was borrowing through kept asking for more and more paperwork.
“But as soon as LiveMore came on board, I haven’t felt insecure at all. Everybody was very pleasant and helpful. it’s just been much, much better.”
With all the mortgages confirmed, and her son’s house purchase completed, the family’s attention can now turn to the exciting part – what comes next.
“At the moment the house isn’t in good repair – he got it quite cheap – but he’s got plans for it and he’ll bring up the value,” she says, before revealing that the mother-son bond between the two of them seems to be stronger than ever.
“The house has a long garden and he’s even said he wants me to build a tiny house at the bottom of his garden and go and live there,” she smiles.
"I wouldn't do it because I wouldn't tie myself into his future like that, but it's a very kind and sweet thing to do. I'm just very happy as we are.”
A close family, indeed.
"LiveMore have taken a chance on me when others haven't"
Moving to a new country – especially later in life – can be challenging. This was certainly the case for Douglas Pegler who’d lived in South Africa since he was a child but, with both his own children in university, chose to emigrate to the UK in 2006 at the age of 50.
Paying the bills that went hand-in-hand with his family’s higher education was putting pressure on Douglas’s finances at the time, so a long-term interest-only mortgage made the most sense for him – but that was before the worldwide financial crash three years later.
“I didn't bring much money with me [to the UK] so, between myself and a mortgage advisor, we talked ourselves into an interest-only deal,” says Douglas, who is a metallurgist engineer by trade.
“In hindsight, if it’d known what was about to happen to the global economy, I might have thought it wasn’t the best idea.”
Having swapped Johannesburg for the Midlands, Douglas admits “life slipped on without getting much extra money in the bank”, while at the same time he began to incur some credit card debts too.
It was then that, with his 15-year mortgage close to ending, his lender got in touch – but not in a way that felt constructive.
“They sent me letters, ‘we need to do something about your loan, what are we going to do about it?’,” he recalls.
“I had no idea. Eventually my existing mortgage company simply said they’d be terminating the loan. They weren’t willing to help me at all.”
This was to be a familiar pattern for Douglas, who feared he’d be forced to sell his home without a new mortgage – until LiveMore stepped in.
“One lender was looking fairly good, until suddenly they decided I didn't fit their profile, which was so disappointing,” he explains.
“I've got a four-bedroom house, it's comfortable and nice, and I didn't particularly want to move Fortunately, my broker came up with LiveMore.”
As a result of LiveMore’s more comprehensive financial reviews, taking each customer’s full situation into account, the specialist lender was able to agree a loan in time for Douglas to stay in his family home for the foreseeable future.
“I know I'm going to have to sell up at some stage and downsize but not yet,” Douglas smiles.
“I'm also hoping that, when that does happen, there’ll have been enough growth in the house’s value to pay off all the outstanding finances.”
So, having made a new life in a new country, Douglas’s new lender has now given him the boost he needed at just the right time.
“LiveMore have done a very good job,” he says. “They’ve been willing to take a chance on me, which the other banks weren’t, and that’s been such a help for me and my family.
“I’m just overjoyed with it all."
"This was the first time she didn't feel like just a number"
Life in your 90s has its challenges, which makes it all the more frustrating when you’re told you can’t do something that you very clearly can.
That’s exactly the scenario 92-year-old Mrs North found herself in when, as a fiercely independent single woman with a good grasp of her finances, she fell in love with a penthouse apartment and set about trying to secure the borrowing to buy it.
Mrs North is a retiree with two pension incomes, not to mention qualifying for some state benefits, so she believed affordability wouldn’t be a problem for her. Unfortunately, numerous high street lenders took a different view as soon as they saw her age on the application forms.
The other major stumbling block appeared to be the way Mrs North’s various incomes stacked up. Although she felt she’d be comfortable repaying her home loan, lenders kept rejecting her on the basis that she derived her monthly earnings from multiple sources, which didn’t fit with the strict, inflexible criteria put in place by most mainstream mortgage providers.
Fortunately, just when Mrs North began to lose hope her penthouse apartment would be no more than pie-in-the-sky thinking, she discovered LiveMore.
For the first time, Mrs North felt she was treated as more than just a number – her age was no longer the single biggest factor in her application.
LiveMore took a more stringent look at Mrs North’s finances, adopting a common-sense approach to calculate her actual affordability and not just what the industry standard criteria suggested, which showed the full amount she was asking for was realistic for her circumstances.
By submitting her two pension incomes as well as her benefits package, Mrs North was delighted when LiveMore gave the green light to her application for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage – at the full amount she needed.
Now, independently minded Mrs North is quite literally living the high life after recently moving into the penthouse property she had been longing for.
"Nobody else in the market offers what LiveMore do"
Older borrowers often find themselves disadvantaged in the mortgage market, simply on the basis of their age and not their earnings – both real and potential.
Mr Laurence, a 71-year-old former UK tax director at a multinational media group, had few financial concerns because of the pensions and investments he and his wife had built up during their working lives.
Armed with some money to invest, Mr Laurence wanted to remortgage their house to part-fund the purchase of a second home in Manchester, to be closer to his children and grandchildren. However, despite approaching brokers, estate agents and even accounting firms to try to find a lender that would accept him, he kept coming up against a brick wall.
“My broker said, ‘it's impossible. You cannot do what you want to do at your age’,” Mr Laurence explains.
“It was crazy. I had been fully sustainable for 10 years and in fact, my money was going up. But every single [lender] my broker went to turned me down because they have a maximum age at the end of the mortgage of 75. At that point, I was finished.”
Fortunately for Mr Laurence he’s not the kind of man to give in easily. Even as his broker was advising him to shelve his second home plan, encountering dead end after dead end, it was Mr Laurence who then decided to take on the task by himself.
“I think a normal person would have given up, to be honest,” he goes on. “I went to a challenger bank, who were the only bank willing to consider me, but they were very difficult to deal with.
“At that point it wasn't just a journey, it had become an odyssey. And surely someone of my age shouldn't have to go through that just for a mortgage.
“There’s an expression ‘a Sisyphean task’ and I did feel like I was pushing a ball up to the top of the hill every day. It came down and hit me every night.”
With few options left, Mr Laurence acted on what he calls “a rumour” that a lender called LiveMore was offering a different approach to older borrowers. So, he put in a call.
“My dealings with LiveMore were absolutely superb,” says Mr Laurence, who secured the remortgage he needed and has now completed on his second home purchase in Manchester.
“Normally, you're just a number, but I had people’s names and when I wrote in with queries I got replies. It was incredible. As far as I can see, there is nobody else in the market who offers what LiveMore do. If there is, I didn't find them.”
Mr Laurence’s case is not unusual among retired borrowers, who often find their age is a genuine barrier to accessing services considered to be routine by people at an earlier stage of life.
“I genuinely feel that [LiveMore] are actually a benefit to society,” he says. “As I get older, I realise people of my age are more and more vulnerable and I think that, for no reason whatsoever, the rest of society would have abandoned me if I hadn’t put the work in myself.
“It’s insane when you think about it because, between my wife and I, we must be earning something like six times the average income. Why would you abandon someone like that?”
Now, thanks to LiveMore – not to mention his own steadfastness in pursuing his goal – Mr Laurence’s hard work has paid off and his flat in Manchester is a lovely, spacious home that enables him and his wife to regularly spend quality time with their family and loved ones.
"Impressive is an understatement"
“I’d managed my finances just fine my whole life, only to be told I couldn’t have a mortgage now I’m 50-plus. It’s a bit insulting really.”
This is 70-year-old Tim Wood, whose situation is reminiscent of many older borrowers when they get closer to retirement age. In 2007, when Tim and his wife divorced, he sold his share of their marital home and took on part-ownership of a local housing association flat.
In a bid to leave as much inheritance as possible for his children and grandchildren, Tim looked into buying the remaining 50% share of the flat but quickly began to run into problems.
“At that time property prices were spiralling and the housing association were causing delays,” he explains. “With the costs mounting up, I decided to pull out.”
Undeterred, Tim approached a mortgage broker. He asked them to find a lender who would offer him the amount he needed on the terms he wanted – specifically a long-term fixed rate on an interest-only basis, but with the flexibility to allow him to pay back some of the capital, penalty-free.
The name that came up? LiveMore.
“They turned out to be utterly superb,” says Tim. “They took all four of my income streams into account, including my pensions, which was important to get the full amount I needed.”
Unfortunately for Tim, who has mobility issues and has suffered with disabilities since birth, he was due to undergo a planned surgery – putting pressure on the transaction to be completed within just a few weeks. He doubted it would happen, but was to be pleasantly surprised.
“Impressive is an understatement,” Tim enthuses. “Everything seemed to be against me, but LiveMore worked closely with both the housing association and the solicitors to get all the paperwork arranged.
“They even stepped in to ensure completion happened on time when everyone else started dragging their heels. I was amazed at how straightforward it was.”
He continues: “I complain about most things, I must be the grumpiest old man there is, but I have to say LiveMore’s customer service was impeccable – they were personable, approachable and always used plain English.
“The combination of both my broker and LiveMore was fool proof.”
Now, having had successful surgery – just two days after completion, no less – and his home ownership woes behind him, Tim is looking towards a brighter and more financially secure future.
“I'm paying £100 more per month for my mortgage, but it’s fixed for five years whereas my rent would have increased annually,” he reveals.
“I also used part of the mortgage advance to repay some debts, so it actually works out I'm better off. Especially with no more money wasted on rent.”
Not someone who does things by halves, it turns out Tim’s just been through another big life event too.
“In the middle of the Covid pandemic, exactly 37 years after we first got married, my wife and I remarried,” he smiles.
“My wife loves our matrimonial home, but with my mobility issues, it’s not practical for me. I did consider moving out of my flat but decided staying put was my best bet. Besides, I love that it’s close to the sea and perfectly adapted for my disabilities. I’m just very happy in my home.”
"I've got the security I want until I'm 80"
Cruising the country roads of south-west England in her Lotus sports car, Susan would seem to be enjoying a pretty comfortable semi-retirement.
But, despite appearances, her life story to this point has featured more bumps in the road and less smooth running than you might expect.
“I've never been out of debt, be it a mortgage or a loan or whatever, but then recently and completely out of the blue one of my cousins died and I inherited a bit of money – hence the car,” says Susan.
“I have brought up two children on my own from the age of 23 as I was unfortunately married to a violent alcoholic. Later I had financial issues when my second husband died and my step-children took everything. I’d been a widow for 20 years until I met my current partner.”
These days, Susan is far happier. She spends time with her other half, who’s just as much of a car enthusiast as she is and she holds positions on the boards of various organisations – specifically local and national not-for-profit bodies in the healthcare sector, mainly championing mental health provision.
Unfortunately, her age and circumstances proved to be a barrier when, aged 73, she looked into renewing the mortgage on her Somerset apartment.
"In the last forty or fifty years, I've had several mortgages with different companies. I’ve moved more than thirty times in my life but, as you get older, it just seems to be more difficult to get a mortgage,” Susan laments.
“My last lender wouldn’t renew simply because I'm in my 70s. All I wanted was security for the next few years. That was the most important thing to me but, with the companies I went to, I just had to jump through so many hoops and got nowhere”.
With two children and four grandchildren to consider, Susan said equity release didn’t seem appropriate for her because it would reduce any inheritance she’d leave behind. That’s when she came across LiveMore, who turned out to be refreshingly different throughout the mortgage application process.
“Previously it's been backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards. Will I get it? Won't I get it?” she says. “All I heard from LiveMore was ‘no problem’. There wasn't any messing around, trying to juggle this and that – everything just went very smoothly”.
"I’ve had a considerable number of mortgages in my life and LiveMore’s service was very open, very straightforward.”
Now, having secured a seven-year fixed rate deal with LiveMore, (which she understands can be ported to a new property if she wishes) plus the possibility of extending the deadline when this mortgage runs out, Susan is free to plan an exciting future – and not just around which car she’ll be driving!
“I didn't feel I was being ripped off, I understood everything that was in my mortgage, and it’s portable and can be extended. It gave me a great feeling of reassurance. Why would I go anywhere else?”
"I've got nothing but good things to say about LiveMore"
As someone who, by her own admission, “isn’t a great one for change”, Monique was understandably cautious when it came to renewing her mortgage.
Monique is in her late 50s, has lived in her east London home with a repayment mortgage since 1996 and is a civil servant in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where she’s worked for more than 40 years.
Unfortunately, when Monique’s mother passed away in 2018, this became a catalyst for her to reassess her situation and decide that change was something she needed.
“My mum was my last living relative,” she explains. “I've got no siblings or children of my own so I started thinking, why should I have a repayment mortgage?”
“I've got no one to leave it to, apart from a charity, otherwise the government will just get it all back after my years of service with them. I decided I'd be better off paying less and spending my money while I'm alive.”
At first, Monique was drawn to equity release, but once she investigated further, it became clear it wasn’t right for her.
Finding herself in limbo, and unimpressed by the best equity release offer she eventually received, Monique started looking at alternatives and came across retirement mortgages, including one provider in particular – LiveMore.
“I found that, with a lot of high street lenders, it's like you're penalised because you’re older,” she says.
“But LiveMore were a new company on the market and seemed to do things differently. Being a civil servant I'm lucky that I've got a final salary pension and I know that, whatever happens, I'll get a full state pension when I get to 67.”
“I can comfortably afford the interest only payments and, if I decide to pay back more or move house and pay it off, or just port the mortgage, I’ve got the flexibility to do all those things too.”
Now, having resisted change for so long, Monique seems to be actively seeking it out.
“As I get nearer to retirement, I’m looking at moving out of London to somewhere more rural,” she says. “Maybe a nice little bungalow near Norwich, in Norfolk, would be lovely.”
However, there’s one thing that seems very unlikely to change: “I can't see me moving my mortgage anywhere else. I'm very happy with how it is and with LiveMore.”
“Just prior to completing the mortgage, I received a call from LiveMore and they were really nice. They took me through all the paperwork, asked whether I was happy with the process and checked all my details, including when my direct debit was coming out and if this was the right day for me.”
Monique adds: “I can’t understand my gas or electricity bills, but I can understand my mortgage. I have to admit, I’ve been quite impressed. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about LiveMore.”
"Our home is special… LiveMore made it possible for us to stay"
Mr and Mrs Atkins
Wealth comes in many forms. Financial affluence is certainly one, but as we grow older, our happiness, our health and our time – especially when we share it with those we love – is often of far greater significance than money.
That’s why, when generous people like David and Theresa Atkins find themselves marginalised because they’ve prioritised the latter over the former, it can be incredibly frustrating.
“We have nine children so we’re a very large family,” smiles David who, is now in his mid-70s.
“We owned a nice, four-bedroom detached house with no mortgage. However, seven of our children went to private school and six to university and we also had to look after both our mothers, who were in care homes. All that costs a lot of money.”
“We downsized to a three-bedroom, semi-detached house, after some of the children had left home and we took out an interest-only mortgage on that instead.”
The arrangement suited David, who worked in the insurance industry and Theresa, a bilingual secretary, stay-at-home mum and later, a nursery carer. That is until, out of the blue and after they’d retired, their lender contacted them.
“They just said ‘we don’t allow mortgages when you’re over 75’, and that was that. We had to redeem the mortgage in full that same year,” says Theresa.
“We’d been with our lender for goodness knows how long, never defaulted on our mortgage, had a perfect credit rating and we could comfortably afford to keep paying it.”
“It just seemed ridiculous to us – it was a bizarre decision based purely on our age.”
After the initial shock had worn off, the Atkins’ looked at their options – but their lender was refusing to compromise and they were unable to pay off the remaining balance.
“Somebody said we should just say ‘sorry, we can't afford to pay it’, stay in the house and see if they would throw us out,” says Theresa. “But we didn't want to take that route.”
Theresa continues: “We had to make a decision. We could have sold up and either bought a tiny little flat, done shared ownership or rented somewhere – none of which we wanted to do.”
“Our sons would have clubbed together and paid the mortgage off, but we didn't want to take money from our children, even though they would’ve happily done that.”
“The problem was that no lenders seemed to want to take us on at the age of 75. There was no ‘let's talk about this’, it was just ‘what's your age and the equity amount’ and then the answer was ‘no, we can’t help you’.”
Fortunately, the Atkins’ mortgage broker stepped in and directed them to LiveMore – specialists in designing mortgages for those who are that bit older and, for whatever reason, don’t fit the strict criteria set by mainstream lenders.
“I think sometimes, when people of our age need a mortgage, we’re judged. Others think ‘what have they done wrong in their life? Why haven't they bought their house?’,” Theresa frowns.
“We made choices in our marriage and with our children, about how we would use our money and we're happy with that choice,” David adds. “It felt like LiveMore understood that.”
Now, since agreeing a mortgage offer at the age of 75, David and Theresa haven’t looked back.
“The process with LiveMore was smooth and very efficient – even down to the little things, like calling us back exactly when they said they would, or changing our payment dates to suit us,” David continues.
“LiveMore made it possible for us to stay in our home. Ok, we wouldn't have been destitute – we’d have bought a flat or something like that – but this is a special place for us.”
“It’s where we lived with our children and without LiveMore, we wouldn't still be here. We’re just really thankful for that.”
"It's setting me up for the next stage of my life""
“Life can throw us many difficult challenges and stop us in our tracks but, once we’ve taken stock and dusted ourselves down, we just have to move forward.” This is Audrey Savill – the proud owner of a beautiful bungalow she’s in the process of renovating. However, her decade-long journey to get here has been a painful one.
She began it as a happily married woman; with a successful job in London and a good-sized family home; making plans to help her daughter buy a house where she planned to have children of her own. However, Audrey was to endure significant hardships along the way.
“Ten years ago, I found out my husband was having an affair and we divorced,” she sighs.
“Then my daughter got a terminal diagnosis five or six years ago. I really enjoyed my job in the City, but my daughter needed help, so my priorities changed.”
“I left work to make sure my granddaughter was cared for. When my daughter very sadly died, my granddaughter was only three.”
In 2020, confined to her house due to the coronavirus pandemic, Audrey says she began to “really think about what's important in life” and decided where she was living “wasn't working anymore”.
“It was a lovely little mews conversion in a terrace. It had lots of emotional attachment for me because I’d originally helped my daughter buy it, then I later bought it from her following my divorce. Eventually it just became a bit too small,” she reveals.
“The soundproofing wasn't good either and with young families on either side, I was sitting in lockdown thinking, ‘I'm in my 60s now and I don't want to hear arguing and babies crying through the walls’.”
After an exhaustive online search, Audrey found a bungalow she loved. However, as a lone buyer of retirement age, she wasn’t sure if she could afford it. That is until her financial adviser told her about specialist over-50s lender LiveMore.
“I was moving from terracing to detached, from a house to a bungalow and to a more expensive area. I had a big gap financially,” she explains.
“I used to work in a bank myself so, before LiveMore, I always thought a mortgage at 60-odd was impossible, but it’s different now. It’s no longer the case that you just try to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible.”
She adds: “I was nervous about it and it gave me a few sleepless nights. I don't ever jump into any major decisions, but I realised that, for me to get to where I wanted to be, that's what I had to do.”
Through LiveMore’s pragmatic and personal approach, Audrey was able to secure a seven-year, fixed rate mortgage which helped fund her purchase and even left her with enough money to make her new home her own as well.
“I love the flexibility of my mortgage – that I could repay some of the mortgage early, without incurring a charge if I want to,” she says. “And now I’m absolutely loving updating and improving my bungalow too. It's given me a great project to work on, especially during lockdown.”
“I've done a lot to it, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and it’ll be a beautiful bungalow once I’ve finished. Next, I’m planning the garden.”
Now Audrey says she can start looking forward at what the future will bring, instead of looking back.
“My intention is to stay here for the rest of my life,” she smiles. “Having got the house exactly as I want it, I'm not moving. It’s setting me up for the next stage of my life, which I'm sure will be a lot happier than the last 10 years.”
"I'll be able to go and see my son and new granddaughter in Australia"
As a divorcee in her 60s, it’s sometimes difficult for Heather Corlett to find the money to do everything she wants in life.
Heather has recently become a grandmother to two granddaughters – one in Kent and another in Melbourne, Australia. They were born just two weeks apart, prompting her to make plans to visit both as soon as she could – one, of course, needing significantly more planning (and cash) than the other.
At the same time, Heather’s 84-year-old mother moved in with her – and that had financial consequences too.
“I needed to make some alterations to my house for accessibility and things needed updating a little bit as well,” she says. “I had some money, but I couldn’t go straight in to do the kitchen and the bathroom at the same time.
Facing an uphill battle already, Heather was also constrained by her borrowing history. Before her divorce in 2006 she’d had few bills or assets in her name, forcing her to take on a high-cost subprime mortgage when she moved house.
“I got divorced at 47 and that whole journey was quite horrendous to get to my original expensive mortgage,” she explains.
“I moved it to another bank as soon as possible, but the only way to do that was to have a half endowment, half repayment mortgage. It was a high street lender, who wanted it all repaid by the time I was 65 too and that’s not far away.”
Fortunately for Heather, help came in the shape of firstly her best friend Lorraine – an independent financial adviser – and secondly, specialist over-50s lender LiveMore.
“I happened to be chatting with my friend who works in the mortgage industry,” Heather continues. “She'll often discuss new things that are going on and she mentioned LiveMore as something to think about for the future.
“That was at the same time I was thinking about the alterations to my house, so we said, 'well, why don't we give this a go?'”
Very quickly Heather secured borrowing through LiveMore, that would give her enough spare capital to complete all her plans in one fell swoop.
“It was exceptionally easily. Every aspect of it was very straightforward to deal with,” she beams. “I didn't even know I could do that sort of thing because, once you get over a certain age, there are very few options – certainly from the high street banks.”
“As a customer, you can't always understand why they can't lend to you, particularly when you have the money to repay loans or whatever. It's just very hard to get a mortgage if you're over 50, unless you can pay it all back in the space of 10 or 15 years.”
“When you’re over 60, sometimes you think, 'is anybody interested in hearing what I have to say?’ LiveMore changed that for me.”
There’s one place Heather’s mortgage didn’t achieve what she wanted though…
“If only they’d have supplied a plumber along with the money,” she jokes. “I can’t get a quote from him!”
“But seriously, every time I’ve had to talk to somebody from LiveMore, it's all been easy to understand for somebody like me, who isn't from a financial background. Everything’s been dealt with quickly and efficiently.”
“Now, even though I’m still waiting on that plumber, I haven't had to use any of my capital, so I’ll be able to go out and see my son – and my new granddaughter – in Australia. That means the world to me.”
"I felt there was someone supporting me"
Whether it was the loneliness of lockdowns, financial uncertainty or the ill health of ourselves or our loved ones, we all endured hardships during the Covid-19 pandemic. Retiree Charles Dunn was no exception, but in his case, a major problem he faced was how to afford a permanent new home in the UK.
Charles retired in 2017 from a career spent mainly overseas in international business and, with a more-than-comfortable pension pot and considerable assets in blue chip shares, he didn’t foresee a particular challenge in accessing the finance he’d need.
Unfortunately, it took a while to find the perfect property for him – a maisonette flat in a new West London development. Even more unfortunately, this coincided with the first lockdown of 2020 and a significant slump in the value of the assets he’d planned to rely on.
“The stock market crash following the first lockdown cut the value of my shares in half,” he explains.
“I thought ‘I want to borrow as much as I can because I don’t want to sell too many shares’. I thought they would go up in value a lot once the pandemic eased and they’re an important part of my retirement pot.”
Realising he was unlikely to meet the criteria required by mainstream mortgage lenders due to his age and circumstances, Charles sought the services of a specialised mortgage broker – but even they ran into problems when it came to making suitable arrangements.
“We got a loan from a major building society based on my pension income only, but my broker was convinced he could get further borrowing against the dividend income from my shares,” Charles continues.
“It turned out he was mistaken. No one seemed willing to lend against this income stream. That was until we made contact with LiveMore.”
As a specialist lender to over 50s, LiveMore examined Charles’ income and portfolio more closely and offered a mortgage worth almost double the amount he’d received elsewhere.
“They came up with various options and I received a formal offer within a month. That's pretty fast,” he smiles.
LiveMore’s quality of service, including how efficient they were, was something else that pleasantly surprised Charles.
“The team there were absolutely first class – flexible, helpful and always prompt to respond – it was a real pleasure to work with them,” he says. “I can't think of anything I would have wanted to be done differently.”
“I understand it’s more efficient to do things by email, but if I did need to speak about something a bit more complicated, LiveMore would always be there to answer the phone. They were professional, friendly and took a really personal approach.”
For Charles, the peculiarities of buying a new build also contributed to his difficulties.
He continues: “We were trying to complete against a stamp duty deadline and the build had been going on for months, so the mortgage offer actually ran out. That was extended without any fuss at all.”
“Then later, after many assurances from builders and developers, it looked like we had a purchase date so LiveMore sent over the funds. But then we had to send all the money back again because of another delay.
“This had the potential to create all kinds of issues – maybe extra costs or something – but I haven't heard anything about that, which is very nice.”
For Charles, the financial benefits of using LiveMore for a larger loan were clearly important, but in the end, he says the customer service he received had the longest-lasting impact on him.
“I'm very happy to have moved in now, but it was a very stressful time,” he adds. “Looking back, I have a very good feeling about all the interactions [with LiveMore].”
“I felt there was someone supporting me, not just a bigger company going through the motions.”
"We just wanted somebody to actually listen. LiveMore did"
Karen and Chris Allen
A thatched 17th century property on a four-acre plot in rural Norfolk, surrounded by rolling fields and farmland, sounds like a beautiful place to live and raise a family.
Karen and Chris Allen, both in their 60s, have owned this idyllic home outright since they got married. Unfortunately, for all their beauty and charm, older properties are also more prone to issues over the years – which is where the Allens’ story begins.
“We needed an extension because, although the house has got four bedrooms, each one goes into another one, so estate agents only really class it as a two-bedroom house,” explains Chris.
“That's quite a lot of work for us so we needed to borrow about £50,000.”
The Allens began by looking into equity release as a solution, but that’s when their home’s age really started to become a problem.
“Our house is wattle and daub, with thatch in places, clay lump in other places and bricks in others,” reveals Karen. “It's got a beautiful thatched roof and very thick walls at the bottom, but they’re not thick towards the top because that's how many older houses are built.”
“Apparently, to equity release lenders, a wall has to be a certain thickness all the way up otherwise it’s a risk, so they turned us down right at the last minute.”
Chris continues: “We didn’t understand it. The house has been here for an awfully long time so why should it fall down now? We found it insulting for somebody to come and tell us our house is badly made and doesn't meet the rules.”
It turned out their stumbling blocks wouldn’t be related to just the age of the property either.
Chris again picks up the tale: “We said, ‘Ok fine, we'll get a small mortgage’ but the banks wouldn't touch us. We have a house worth in the region of £600,000, all paid for. If I had the £50,000, I'd lend it to someone like that. How can it go wrong?”
“The trouble is that the majority of mortgage people and banks have no flexibility – if you don't fit into a particular group, they won’t help you.”
Karen adds: “The equity release broker led us on for weeks, then we were told by everyone else, 'No, your house is wrong, and you're too old'.”
Fearing they might not be able to afford the improvements they needed and would be forced to sell, the Allens found a new broker from their local area. A new option, LiveMore, was put forward and things began looking up.
“We just wanted to speak to somebody and say, ‘this is the situation’ and for them to actually listen to us. LiveMore did that,” enthuses Karen.
“We had some money behind us, we didn’t need a lot of money in the context of it and we weren't trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. All we needed was somebody to actually hear what we were saying. We’re so grateful that LiveMore came along.”
By taking the Allens’ full set of circumstances into account, from their ownership situation and incomes to their reasons for borrowing, LiveMore came up with an arrangement that would work for everyone. It meant Chris and Karen could start the work on their home immediately, without impacting on their quality of life or forcing them to leave the house they’d made their home.
“I'm afraid to say, our age group gets rather thrown to one side these days,” laments Chris, “so it's good that there's a company who are saying, ‘no, you’re important’.”
“The lifespan of the whole world is becoming longer so finding people who will cover you from 50-plus to the grave, let’s say, are vital. We need more like them.”
"I never imagined I would be able to get a mortgage at my age."
The views from her new home are what Anne, 73, had always dreamed of retiring to after some 40 years of service in the NHS.
She recalls: “I was initially working as a sick children's nurse in Glasgow, then I trained as a midwife and I did that for a long time. I still occasionally do a little bit of private maternity nursing.”
Anne moved back to Scotland in the late 1990s after working in England for much of her career. A couple of years ago, after a health scare that required an urgent visit to hospital, she realised the peninsula she was living on was no longer suitable for her.
“I had to get in my car and get a ferry that takes 20 minutes across to the mainland to take myself to a hospital. When I got there, I discovered I’d had a heart attack,” says Anne. “So ever since then, my son and daughter said they would feel better if I lived on the other side of the water, near a bigger hospital.”
Anne had always thought about retiring on the other side of the water. “It was my dream to be able to look across at the mountains, the water and everything. But I didn't think I could afford it.
“My daughter sent me a link for this flat – I saw the price and I said: ‘in my dreams’.”
After selling her home, Anne knew she would need help on top of that to have a chance of securing her dream flat. Unfortunately for people like Anne, who have worked hard for decades and been careful with their finances, high-street lenders often refuse to help based on age alone.
A friend recommended speaking to a mortgage broker, and their conversation about Anne’s needs led them to LiveMore, who have recently expanded into Scotland and offer mortgages designed for people aged 50-90+. LiveMore were able to offer Anne up to 75% of the value of the flat (LTV), meaning she could proceed in buying the property she wanted.
"I got my dream flat and my dream view – I'm really happy.”
Anne worked with LiveMore alongside her broker and was surprised by how simple the process was. “I never imagined I would be able to get a mortgage at my age,” she says. “It was all quite easy and straightforward. The communication was good. I was kept informed – I can't find fault really with any of it.”
As well as being able to secure her dream flat, Anne was able to make the place feel more like home. "With the little bit that was left over from the mortgage, I was able to have the flat painted and decorated,” she says. “I've had new carpets, and I'm now having windows. I've had the bathrooms refurbished too.”
With the help of LiveMore, Anne is now living in the perfect flat in a location that is more suited to her needs. After decades of heroic service in the NHS, she can enjoy her dream retirement.
"I've got some stunning, stunning views,” she says as she looks out across her balcony. “I couldn't be happier.”
"LiveMore saved my life."
The COVID pandemic affected everyone greatly, but for people who were already facing difficult circumstances, it simply added to their worries.
That was the case for Nick, 58, who was already going through a tricky divorce.
"We discussed selling the house, which I didn't want to do,” says Nick. “I am comfortable here and have all my roots here.”
While Nick's priority was to stay in his home in Birmingham, he worried that he wasn’t in a financial position at that time to get a mortgage on his own, based on his salary as a self-employed driving instructor.
To make matters more complicated, Nick’s income suffered during COVID with the restrictions meaning driving lessons were suspended. He was looking for a solution that would help him to finalise his divorce and then remortgage. This would allow him ultimately to stay in his home and move on with his life.
“I tried to find out what my options were,” says Nick. “The only viable option was to find some way that I could get a mortgage on my own.”
While Nick’s self-employed income had taken a hit during COVID, he was confident this would return to normal levels when the pandemic was over. He also had another source of income, in the form of health-related grant payments that had recently been increased by the Government.
However, whenever Nick and his broker began to explore his mortgage options, these factors were overlooked by every high street lender, who in most cases would not even consider Nick’s case.
“We had a brick wall put in front of us – the computer said no,” says Nick. “We contacted every high street financial source that we could find, but none of them would take into account my income prior to COVID. And none of them would consider what my actual regular income should be post-COVID, so we were stymied.”
At this point, despite having diverse income streams and being confident in his ability to pay a mortgage, Nick began to genuinely worry that he might lose his home.
However, just as he thought he was running out of options, his adviser discovered LiveMore, who offer mortgages designed for people aged 50-90+.
LiveMore's fresh approach to affordability looks beyond salary, welcoming people with diverse income streams.
“This was a Hail Mary. It was our last chance, but LiveMore saved my life,” says Nick. “LiveMore are the only people that would even contemplate looking at my grant income and what my actual self-employed income would and should be post-COVID.”
The application process for Nick was straightforward and he was pleased with LiveMore’s personal approach.
“It was clear to my adviser and me that we were actually speaking to human beings this time,” says Nick. “LiveMore listened to us, and it was like a breath of fresh air.”
Now back to work and busy since COVID restrictions were relaxed, Nick is in a stable position, and can feel positive about the future again after a great experience with LiveMore. “After all the stress and trauma that I went through, from a divorce to realising that I might lose my home, it was emotional.
“It’s as though a huge weight has been lifted from me.”
"Buying houses is always stressful, but this was straightforward."
At 77, Graham feels fantastic and plans to keep living the life he loves.
That includes continuing his work in the medical industry, which he has done for decades. “I’m fairly fit,” he says, “and I see no reason to stop working to be quite honest.
“It keeps the brain cells going. I add value to the company and they're happy that I carry on. I work two, three days a week and then I can spend the rest of the week doing other things.”
Graham was looking for a new home in Oxfordshire after going through a divorce. “I wanted to get a house sorted out in this area because I’d been renting for a while,” he explains. “I found this property and as far as I was concerned, it was in the perfect location.”
After finding the right place, he began to explore his options. He says: “I had sufficient funds for about two thirds of the property, I was looking for some form of mortgage to help with the rest.
“My pension and my shareholding in the company I’m a director of, were tied up. I didn't really want to tap into them, unless I had to. I looked at different options, including equity release as I understand it's not as risky as it used to be. However, I felt it wasn’t necessary.”
Graham also wanted an option that would provide longer-term certainty over his outgoings each month. When he got in touch with his trusted financial adviser to take the next steps, that’s when he learned about LiveMore who design mortgages to suit the needs of people aged 50-90+.
The fast, easy approach from LiveMore was exactly what Graham needed. “Buying houses is always stressful, but this was straightforward,” he says. “I bought the house and have been renovating it since then. It’s a very nice location and I’m very happy here.”
Graham is delighted that LiveMore allow you to design your mortgage to make it work for you. “I'm very happy with the arrangement,” he says.
“If you've got control – that's the main thing. For example, I want to consider paying off some or all of the mortgage over time.” This made LiveMore a perfect fit for Graham. With their mortgages, you can pay up to 10% more of the capital each year if you want, without additional charges.
“That’s reasonable,” adds Graham. “I've invested quite a lot in renovating this house, which had to be done. Now that's finished, I can start planning a bit further forward. I can't see much more happening until the beginning of next year, but it's lovely to have some flexibility to be honest.”
Thanks to his LiveMore mortgage, Graham has the level of certainty and control over his finances that he had hoped for. Now he is free to enjoy his new home and embrace its beautiful surroundings.
“I love the area, I do a lot of walking around here and all the neighbours are very friendly,” he says.
“I see no reason for moving on anywhere else – I'm happy here.”