What are the basic requirements for a reverse mortgage?


To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must be age 62 or older and own your home. Your home must be your principal residence and meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimum property standards.


How is a reverse mortgage different from a home equity loan?


Both a reverse mortgage and a home equity loan use the equity you have in your home to generate cash. However, with a home equity loan you need to make monthly payments on the principal and interest. With a reverse mortgage you don’t need to make any payments for as long as you stay in the home. The loan is repaid only after you permanently leave the home.


How can I use the proceeds?


You can use the proceeds in any manner you see fit. Common uses include paying monthly bills, fixing up your home, paying for prescriptions and health care, traveling, helping children or grandchildren, and planning against an unexpected expense.


How much money can I get?


The amount you can borrow depends on the following factors:


  • Your age
  • Current interest rates
  • Appraised value of your home

What if I still owe money on a first or second mortgage?


In most cases you must have approximately 50% equity in your home. Funds from the reverse mortgage pay off whatever existing mortgages you have on the property. You may use any additional amount you qualify for in any way you see fit.


Will my current income affect my eligibility?


You will be asked for documentation to demonstrate your ability to pay your homeowner’s insurance and your property taxes. Some seniors qualify for a property tax reduction or waiver; check with your local county tax authority for information.


How will a reverse mortgage affect my government benefits?


The funds from a reverse mortgage generally do not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, needs-based benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may be impacted. As a reverse mortgage consultant I can provide general information, but you should contact a legal professional about your particular situation. Call if you would like a list of elder law attorneys.


Can a reverse mortgage be refinanced?


Refinancing a  reverse mortgage may be possible. This option can be advantageous because more equity may be available.


In addition to the interest, are there fees associated with a reverse mortgage?


FHA reverse mortgages have an origination fee, closing costs, and a mortgage insurance premium. These can be paid from the proceeds of the reverse mortgage itself. The costs are paid along with the interest when the home is no longer your primary residence.


Conventional reverse mortgages have notably lower fees; call for details on specific programs.


What has to be repaid when the loan becomes due?


The loan is repaid when the home is no longer your primary residence.


When will the principal and interest charges become due?


The reverse mortgage loan must be paid when one of the following occurs:


  • All borrowers permanently move out of the home
  • The last surviving borrower passes away, sells the home, or does not live in the home for 12 consecutive months
  • You fail to pay property taxes or insurance
  • If the condition of the property falls below what is considered reasonable wear and tear, and the problem is not corrected

What if one of the co-borrowers passes away?


The surviving borrower can continue to own and live in the home and enjoy all the benefits of a reverse mortgage.


 For more details, call 703-477-1183


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