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Senior Specialties - Online: Reverse Mortgages

   Moderated by Richard WeathermanAdvantage Plus Caregivers

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a form of equity release (or lifetime mortgage). It is a loan available to home owners or home buyers, enabling them to access a portion of the subject home's equity. The home owners can draw the mortgage principal in a lump sum, by receiving monthly payments over a specified term or over their (joint) lifetimes, as a revolving line of credit, or some combination thereof.

In a conventional mortgage the homeowner makes a monthly amortized payment to the lender; after each payment the equity increases by the amount of the principal included in the payment, and when the mortgage has been paid in full the property is released from the mortgage. In a reverse mortgage, the home owner is under no obligation to make payments, but is free to do so with no pre-payment penalties. The line of credit portion operates like a revolving credit line, so a payment in reduction of a line of credit increases the available credit by the same amount. Interest that accrues is added to the mortgage balance.

Title to the property remains in the name of the homeowners, to be disposed of as they wish, encumbered only by the amount owing under the mortgage.

If a property has increased in value after a reverse mortgage is taken out, it is possible to acquire a second (or third) reverse mortgage over the increased equity in the home in some areas. However most lenders do not like to take a second or third lien position behind a reverse mortgage because its balance increases with time. It is rare to find reverse mortgages with subordinate liens behind them as a result. A reverse mortgage may be refinanced if enough equity is present in the home, and in some cases may qualify for a streamline refinance if the interest rate is reduced.

A reverse mortgage lien is often recorded at a higher dollar amount than the amount of money actually disbursed at the loan closing. This recorded lien is at times misunderstood by some borrowers as being the payoff amount of the mortgage. The recorded lien works in similar fashion to a home equity line of credit where the lien represents the maximum lending limit, but the payoff is calculated based on actual disbursements plus interest owing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a reverse mortgage?
2. Can I qualify for FHA's HECM reverse mortgage?
3. Can I apply for a HECM even if I did not buy my present house with FHA mortgage insurance?
4. What types of homes are eligible? 
5. What are the differences between a reverse mortgage and a home equity loan?
6. Will we have an estate that we can leave to heirs?
7. How much money can I get from my home?
8. Should I use an estate planning service to find a reverse mortgage lender?
9. How do I receive my payments?
10. What if I change my mind and no longer want the loan after I go to closing?

1. What is a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that lets you convert a portion of the equity in your home into cash. The equity that you built up over years of making mortgage payments can be paid to you. However, unlike a traditional home equity loan or second mortgage, HECM borrowers do not have to repay the HECM loan until the borrowers no longer use the home as their principal residence or fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage. You can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if you are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property you are purchasing.

2. Can I qualify for FHA's HECM reverse mortgage?

To be eligible for a FHA HECM, the FHA requires that you be a homeowner 62 years of age or older, own your home outright, or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at closing with proceeds from the reverse loan, and you must live in the home. You are also required to receive consumer information free or at very low cost from a HECM counselor prior to obtaining the loan. You can find a HECM counselor online or by phoning (800) 569-4287.

3. Can I apply for a HECM even if I did not buy my present house with FHA mortgage insurance?

Yes. You may apply for a HECM regardless of whether or not you purchased your home with an FHA-insured mortgage.

4. What types of homes are eligible?

To be eligible for the FHA HECM, your home must be a single family home or a 2-4 unit home with one unit occupied by the borrower. HUD-approved condominiums and manufactured homes that meet FHA requirements are also eligible.

5. What are the differences between a reverse mortgage and a home equity loan?

With a second mortgage, or a home equity line of credit, borrowers must have adequate income to qualify for the loan, and they make monthly payments on the principal and interest. A reverse mortgage is different, because it pays you – there are no monthly principal and interest payments. With a reverse mortgage, you are required to pay real estate taxes, utilities, and hazard and flood insurance premiums.

6. Will we have an estate that we can leave to heirs?

When the home is sold or no longer used as a primary residence, the cash, interest, and other HECM finance charges must be repaid. All proceeds beyond the amount owed belong to your spouse or estate. This means any remaining equity can be transferred to heirs. No debt is passed along to the estate or heirs.

7. How much money can I get from my home?

The amount you may borrower will depend on:Age of the youngest borrowerCurrent interest rateLesser of appraised value or the HECM FHA mortgage limit of $625,500 or the sales price; andInitial Mortgage Insurance Premium--your choices are HECM Standard or HECM SAVER

In addition, the more valuable your home is, the older you are, and the lower the interest rate, the more you can borrow. If there is more than one borrower, the age of the youngest borrower is used to determine the amount you can borrow. For an estimate of HECM cash benefits, select the online calculator from the HECM Home Page. Many online reverse mortgage calculators can provide you with an estimate of the amount of funds you can borrow.

8. Should I use an estate planning service to find a reverse mortgage lender?

FHA does NOT recommend using any service that charges a fee for referring a borrower to an FHA-approved lender. You can locate a FHA-approved lender by searching online at www.hud.gov or by contacting a HECM counselor for a listing. Services rendered by HECM counselors are free or at a low cost. To locate a HECM counselor Search online or call (800) 569-4287 toll-free, for the name and location of a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you.

9. How do I receive my payments?

You can select from five payment plans:

  • Tenure- equal monthly payments as long as at least one borrower lives and continues to occupy the property as a principal residence.
  • Term- equal monthly payments for a fixed period of months selected.
  • Line of Credit- unscheduled payments or in installments, at times and in an amount of your choosing until the line of credit is exhausted.
  • Modified Tenure- combination of line of credit and scheduled monthly payments for as long as you remain in the home.
  • Modified Term- combination of line of credit plus monthly payments for a fixed period of months selected by the borrower.

10. What if I change my mind and no longer want the loan after I go to closing?

How do I do this? By law, you have three calendar days to change your mind and cancel the loan. This is called a three day right of rescission. The process of canceling the loan should be explained at loan closing. Be sure to ask the lender for instructions on this process. Mortgage lenders differ in the process of canceling a loan. You should ask for the names of the appropriate people, phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses, or written instructions on whatever process the company has in place. In most cases, the right of rescission will not be applicable to HECM for purchase transactions.

Ask Your Senior Reverse Mortgage Specialist?

Group Feed
Robin Beamon joined the group Senior Specialties - Online: Reverse Mortgages.
Posted Monday, May 22, 2017
Richard Weatherman joined the group Senior Specialties: Reverse Mortgages.
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013

Recently Updated Profiles
Robin Beamon, Richard Weatherman

 

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