Reverse Mortgages are not complicated; but are multi-faceted

Reverse Mortgages are not complicated but multi-facetedIt is often stated that reverse mortgages are complicated or complex transactions. In reality reverse mortgages aren’t any more complex than a conventional mortgage or other financial products. Do you understand all the terms and features of a conventional mortgage or HELOC? Do you understand your 401K’s, stock investments or other retirement plans? What about your credit card(s)… do you know how they work?

Comparing Your Smart Phone To A Reverse MortgageMy smart phone has so many bells and whistles I don’t understand all the options or how it works. They too can seem complex but are really just multi-faceted. I still utilize one and I don’t think I could live without it any more. If people are open to getting the facts, they will likely have a better understanding of reverse mortgage and might just find it useful.

Rather than looking at reverse mortgages as complicated, look at them as they are multi-faceted.

Let’s clarify some of the facets about reverse mortgages.

People still think the bank or the lender will own the home once the reverse mortgage is done. Or the bank or lender will take ownership once the loan becomes due and payable. However, like a conventional mortgage or HELOC, the title remains in the homeowners’ name, the bank or lender does NOT own the home. When the reverse mortgage borrowers are no longer in the home as their primary residence, the loan becomes due and payable.

The amount repaid is the amount borrowed by the homeowners including interest and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums over the term of the loan. (Because one is not making payments, essentially one is making small loans each month.)

After the loan balance is paid off, any remaining funds go to the borrowers or their heirs. As a non-recourse loan, if the loan balance is higher than the fair market value of the home, the borrowers or their heirs don’t have to come up with the difference.

Other false statements often seen or heard are that reverse mortgages are a scam, only the lender benefits. They take advantage of people. Let me clarify, the most common reverse mortgage, the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is FHA insured and regulated by HUD – no, not scams but a valid loan using a home as collateral.

Celebrating having a revese mortgageBorrowers receive many benefits in having funds to use for current needs or retirement and long-term care needs without having to make monthly interest and principal payments, improved cash flow without restrictions on how the funds can be used, being able to stay in their home or purchase a new home.

Originators and lenders do get paid for reverse mortgage loans, but everyone gets paid for the work they do. Personally I find it rewarding to help people, and I’m not ripping people off, in fact I and others I know in the industry are certainly not getting rich in this career…there is a lot of work involved to originate reverse mortgages, but we’re passionate in making a difference for people. In fact, because of all the work, on some loans our compensation works out to very little.

Headlines have stated seniors are losing their homes to foreclosure if they don’t pay property taxes or keep insurance on the home. Think about it, with or without a mortgage if you don’t pay property taxes, the county will foreclose. If you don’t have insurance on your property and the home is destroyed you will have lost your home and you won’t have the money to rebuild or replace it. Neither of these are the fault of a reverse mortgage.

We often see or hear that the reverse mortgage should be a last resort, to refinance with a conventional mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or sell. The problem with this is most seniors don’t qualify for conventional mortgages or HELOCs. And if they do, the borrowers have to make monthly mortgage payments. Even if they can make the payments now, if life happens they may not be able to make the payments in the future. Rather than being a last resort the reverse mortgage can help one pay for retirement, long-term care.

The unused portion of the reverse mortgage line of credit grows so more funds can become available in the future. And the funds in the line of credit could be higher than what one could qualify for in the future. This can be very beneficial to seniors and isn’t available with any other loan.

Seniors often want to stay in their home rather than moving so don’t tell them to sell. If they do sell, where are they going to live? They’d still have housing expenses…can they afford those or wouldn’t having no rent or monthly mortgage payments be more beneficial?

HECM for Purchse If they do wish to sell maybe to downsize, move closer to their children or to purchase the home of their dreams, the HECM for Purchase program gives them the option to purchase without having to make monthly principal or interest payments. And maybe even create a line of credit for future needs.

Have you heard or read reverse mortgages are expensive? Have you looked at the costs of a traditional or forward mortgage? The costs are the same other than the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium. With a conventional mortgage people want to know what the payment will be and what the interest is, they generally don’t pay attention to the costs. But when you look at the costs of the conventional mortgage you’ll likely be surprised, they aren’t really different from reverse mortgages.

HELOC’s may have lower up-front fees but the interest rate may be higher which in the long run could turn out to be more expensive than a reverse mortgage… besides one has to qualify on income, assets and credit. Additionally payments have to be made on the HELOCs. And there is a risk that they HELOC could be called due and at some point during the term the monthly payment must be increased to include the principal, not just the interest.

Other headlines or statements about reverse mortgages state the bank/lender gets the children’s inheritance. Another false one! The homeowners receive funds during the term of the loan, whether to pay off conventional loans or receiving funds monthly or draws from their line of credit. When the loan is being paid, due when the home is no longer the primary residence of the borrower(s), there may or may not be funds left for an inheritance. The lender is receiving payment of principal and interest, this is NOT stealing the children’s inheritance from the remaining equity. With the reverse mortgage, the homeowner is using the funds for their needs or wants. Are you as heirs going to give them the funds they need just so you have an inheritance? What about letting your parents live their quality of life and not worry about getting an inheritance?

The last one I’m going to cover today is the option that lowering your expenses is a better option. Really? Most seniors don’t have this option. Seniors want to maintain their lifestyle and why shouldn’t they? Do you want to be told to lower your expenses, stop getting your hair done, not having cable TV, being able to get together with friends for lunch, go to a family wedding or reunion? Just because one turns 62 doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy life especially when they have equity in their home they can utilize.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages-A Book About Reverse MortgagesTake time to understand and have the facts. Those who do, see the reverse mortgage is not complicated but many faceted and they see the benefits it can bring to their lives.

If you’d like to understand and get the facts on reverse mortgags? Contact us if you are in Minnesota.  As your local broker, we work with several lenders and provide free information and facts with no obligation, meeting in person whenever possible.

For other states, contact your local reverse mortgage specialist who is a broker, one who works with several lenders, has their Broker License/NMLS and preferably holds the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP) designation.

© 2018 Beth Paterson, CRMP, Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog, 651-762-9648

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