By A Country Mile

I spoke with two homeowners yesterday, and both had the same question.

This made me realize it’s not even close: by a country mile the most common question I’m asked regarding Reverse Mortgage is, “When the homeowner dies, how does the Reverse Mortgage get repaid?”

How does any loan get repaid?

For the moment, let’s forget we’re talking about a Reverse Mortgage. How does any home loan get repaid when the last person on title dies?

Let’s make up a bank – we’ll call it First Community Bank – and let’s say it holds the mortgage. When the executor sells the home, First Community Bank gets repaid and the family or heirs get the rest. This is a concept we all grew up with. If we put it into an equation, it would be:

Sales price of the home – Amount due on the mortgage = What you pocket

If the family wants to keep the home, they would either pay off First Community Bank, or refinance the home by getting a new loan.

Same thing with Reverse Mortgage

The same holds true with a Reverse Mortgage: when the last homeowner permanently leaves the home, the family can sell the home. The lender gets repaid at closing, and the family gets the rest. The same equation holds, namely:

Sales price of the home – Amount due on the mortgage = What you pocket

If the family wants to keep the home, they repay what’s due on the loan and keep the house, or they refinance the home by getting a new loan.

Rocket Science

My dad was a rocket scientist – literally. He worked on some of the Cold War era’s biggest defense projects, and I grew up in a home where pocket protectors and slide rules, mechanical pencils and graph paper were part of the landscape.

Reverse Mortgages are not rocket science. They are a home equity loan for the years when having a monthly mortgage payment can be a back-breaker. They can be a miracle for adult children struggling to bankroll their parents’ longevity. They can make aging in place possible.

A Reverse Mortgage is not a fit for everyone. But as I’ve said many times, no one is going to get by on just their Social Security. No one is going to make it on their 401-K. Few are going to survive on their pension, their annuity, their IRA, their bank account – or their Reverse Mortgage. But when added together, all these combine to create a long-term means of maintaining dignity and independence in retirement.

If you would like to explore how an FHA-insured Reverse Mortgage might help during retirement, give me a call. I always love hearing from you.


Laurie MacNaughton [NMLS# 506562] is a freelance writer and a Reverse Mortgage Consultant at Southern Trust Mortgage. She can be reached at: 703-477-1183, or

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s