Designed for seniors, a reverse mortgage is a loan that allows the homeowner to convert some of the equity in their home into cash or monthly income, while retaining home ownership. A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a relatively new product. A reverse mortgage provides unique benefits for its target market eg: someone over 62 who lives in his/her primary residence, who has substantial equity in his/her home, and who has little or no income. A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in your home that you don't need to pay back for as long as you live in the home. Eligibility for a reverse mortgage is set by the Federal Government; The Federal Housing Authority FHA tells HECM lenders how much they can lend you, based on your age and your home's value.
The mortgagor is not required to make any payments, the home is owned by the bank upon the death of the mortgagor and the transaction is structured so that the loan amount will not exceed the value of the home at that time. That feature should raise a red flag. That means the homeowner isn't given the fair market value of the property initially because the bank must figure in the interest over the possible life of the loan.
Good credit is not relevant because the home provides the security for the loan. In some cases the heirs have the option to pay off the mortgage when the owner dies but the cost can be extremely high. This type of mortgage has higher up front fees than conventional mortgages and those costs become part of the original mortgage which accrues interest at a rapid rate. This is an important factor to consider because the mortgage must be paid in full if the owner decides
to sell the property or if their heirs desire to keep it after their death. Especially troublesome is the fact that many reverse mortgage lenders will send a loan officer to the senior's home to sign the loan documents and the senior has no benefit of having another pair of eyes and ears present at the transaction.
To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you need to be at least 62 years old, occupy the home as a primary residence, and either own your own home outright or only owe a small amount on your existing mortgage loan that can be paid off at closing with the proceeds from the reverse mortgage.
In general, a reverse mortgage is tax free and has no income restrictions. Additionally, most payments from a reverse mortgage won't affect Social Security or Medicare benefits. In fact, many seniors use a reverse mortgage to supplement their Social Security and Medicare, allowing for more financial security.
Reverse mortgages also work in a purchase transaction. You can purchase a home without making a single monthly mortgage payment. This option allows seniors to move close to family when the need arises. There are various ways seniors can benefit with a reverse mortgage including receiving additional tax-free monthly income or a lump sum payment, cancelling a current mortgage payment, funding long term care insurance and in-home care, renovations and repair work to their homes.
In many states, the Reverse Mortgage, or Senior Reverse Mortgage, allows for a new home purchase with the use of reverse mortgage funds, this rule does not apply nationwide. Although HUD and the FHA recently passed the HECM Reverse Mortgage home purchase program, allowing you to purchase a new home with reverse mortgage proceeds, borrowers in Texas are not yet eligible. Rules in individual states may vary. Please see a specialist in your own state for more details.