Refinancing A Reverse Mortgage – Should you?

Receiving Letters to Refinance Reverse MortgageCurrent reverse mortgage borrowers are receiving letters encouraging them to refinance.  While refinancing a reverse mortgage is an option, let’s explore whether it should be considered.

Just like refinancing a conventional, or what we call a forward, mortgage, borrowers consider refinancing a reverse mortgage when they need more money.  But just like a forward mortgage, one needs to make sure they are going to receive a benefit when they refinance.  And just like a forward mortgage, when refinancing the closing costs are part of the transaction.

When I receive the calls from my borrowers who have received the letters or encouragement on their statements I start with these questions:

  • How long ago did you take out your reverse mortgage?
  • What was the value of your home at that time?
  • What is the value of your home now?
  • What is your current loan balance on your reverse mortgage?
  • Are you receiving monthly payments?
  • Do you have funds in a Line of Credit?
  • Why would you want to refinancing?

These questions are pertinent in helping one decide if it makes sense to consider refinancing.

Keep in mind the factors used to determine the amount a senior can receive from their reverse mortgage include:  the interest rate of the program chosen, the age of the borrower (the older one is the more funds one can receive), and the home value based on an FHA appraisal or the FHA Lending Limit.

The first three questions are important in determining if you will be able receive more money when refinancing.  As one aged during the time home vales were increasing refinancing made more sense because borrowers were more likely to be able to receive additional funds.

As you know, during the housing crash home values decreased.  Now while home values have started to increase, we often find that the borrowers will still not receive additional funds from refinancing their reverse mortgage. (However some states the values have increased faster and higher than others.  In MN, while increasing, the values have not increased enough to warrant refinancing in many situations.)

If, however, the initial reverse mortgage was taken when there was a lower lending limit, i.e. $251,750 and the current home value is, say $400,000, then refinancing may be considered.

For many years the FHA Lending Limit was based on the county in which one lived.  In 2008 the Lending Limit was changed to a national limit of $417,000.  In 2009 and through the end of 2016, the national limit was $625,500.  January 1st through December 31, 2017 the FHA Lending Limit for reverse mortgages has been increased to $636,150.

Is refinancing a good idea just because the Lending Limit has increased?  Not necessarily, especially if one’s home value isn’t in the higher valued range.

The current loan balance is important because when refinancing the reverse mortgage, the current reverse mortgage needs to be repaid.  If there aren’t enough proceeds to pay off the current mortgage and to receive additional money then refinancing doesn’t make sense.

The next two questions, whether they are receiving monthly payments or have funds in a line of credit, are important because most likely it doesn’t make sense to refinance a reverse mortgage if they still have funds available to them that will last them for a few more years.

With a forward mortgage sometimes refinancing is done to reduce the interest rate.  With the reverse mortgage generally it doesn’t make sense to refinance for the interest rate.  Remember one isn’t making payments with a reverse mortgage so the interest rate doesn’t impact their monthly cash flow, it only impacts the amount that will be repaid when the loan becomes due and payable.

It is important to note that the reverse mortgage is non-recourse which means there is no personal liability to the borrower or their heirs if the loan balance is higher than what the home can be sold for.

The funds available to borrowers are determined by the age of the youngest borrower, the Expected Interest Rate and the program chosen.  If the Expected Interest Rate is higher, less funds will be available.

Until 2008 all reverse mortgages were adjustable rate mortgages.  Don’t panic, this isn’t a bad thing with a reverse mortgage.  With the adjustable rate reverse mortgage there is more flexibility by having the option of a line of credit, monthly payments, a lump sum or a combination of these.

The adjustable interest rate is made up of an index and a margin.  The index is based on the LIBOR and the margin is determined by the lender.  HUD set a floor at 5.06% which means the funds available will be the same if the interest is at 5.06 or below.   Currently the interest rates are remaining low, below the floor so one generally will not receive more funds if they were to refinance.

In 2008 a fixed rate option was introduced.  With the fixed rate one has to draw all funds as a lump sum; the line of credit and monthly payment options are not available.  One is not going to gain a benefit of more funds available by refinancing for a lower interest rate.  However we have had some who refinance from a fixed rate to an adjustable rate to receive the flexibility the adjustable rate option offers, especially if one chooses to make payments on their reverse mortgage.

When refinancing one will still have closing costs so you have to consider if refinancing will offset off set a lower interest rate and/or funds one is receiving.

The Streamline Refinance of the FHA Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM reverse mortgage requires a calculation demonstrating borrowers receive at least 5% more or they must go through the counseling session to review their situation.  Some lenders require the counseling for any borrower refinancing their reverse mortgage.  This is a strong protection to help borrowers from falling for a lender’s marketing letters and thinking refinancing may be a good idea when it really isn’t.  Unfortunately it can cost seniors to find out this information as counselors are allowed to charge, generally $125 for the counseling session.

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) ethics committee set a guideline that reverse mortgage borrowers who want to refinance must wait a minimum of 18 months along with the “closing cost test” and “loan proceeds test.”

The last question or why you are considering is important in the decision to refinance because there could be valid reasons to refinance that benefit you.  Some include a title change, i.e. adding a younger spouse to title when they turn 62, taking on a new spouse are a couple reasons.  Reverse Mortgage Borrower Contemplating Options

While options should always be considered, after reviewing the above questions and your answers, at this time refinancing generally doesn’t make sense for the majority of reverse mortgage borrowers.  Hopefully seniors don’t get sucked in with marketing letters & statements by completing an application so that the lender can just take an application when refinancing doesn’t make sense for them.

For further details on the reverse mortgage 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.

© 2017 Beth Paterson, Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog, 651-762-9648

This material may be re-posted provided it is re-posted in its entirety and without modifications and includes the contact information, copyright information and the following link:

Related articles:

Blog posts’ information is current as of date post published, program is subject to change in in the future. Contact us for current information, 651-762-9648.

This site or the information provided is not from, or approved by, HUD, FHA, or any US Government or Agency.

Our Experiences with Getting Our Reverse Mortgage

Happy With Reverse MortgageActual reverse mortgage borrowers have good things to say about their reverse mortgage experiences.  Let me share what some of our Minnesota reverse mortgage borrowers have said.

Dave shared, “Having had an accident that eliminated my of my teeth, total dental implants was required.  Without a reverse mortgage I could not have raised the money to have the implants done.  It was a great relief to be able to smile again and eat sweet corn again.”

To increase his cash flow Bernie did a reverse mortgage and had this to say, “After talking with 2 other reverse mortgage representatives, receiving apologies for non-functioning DVDs, and talking to an attorney, I chose Reverse Mortgages SIDAC.  It is so helpful to deal with local persons.  Both Beth and Steve followed up with everything.  They were very helpful in personal visits and phone calls.  Beth has also been helpful with other senior issues.”

Larry and Karen* did the reverse mortgage to stabilize their finances.  They found Reverse Mortgages SIDAC to be friendly, courteous and respectful of them.  Additionally they shared they found that all pertinent information was discussed regarding reverse mortgage options and costs and the details were explained so they understood them.  They also felt that they were informed of what to expect during the processing and kept informed of the status through the process.  In addition they said they received explanations of the forms that were signed at closing.  Overall they shared their experience was positive.

Mike shared, “Without the help and knowledge of Beth Paterson who first told me about the reverse mortgage to buy I would never have been able to get our beautiful new townhome, which my wife needs because of her mobility to navigate a lot of stairs.  I owe Beth a big debt of gratitude.  She is the best!  She is knowledgeable and she cares and worked tirelessly for us.”

Wayne recommends us stating, “Reverse Mortgages SIDAC is very customer focused and will settle for no less than what the applicant request’s objectives are.  They knew the “system” very well and lead the borrower though it step by step.  Above all, Reverse Mortgages SIDAC is respectful and honest.”

Helping them out of foreclosure, Gary and Cathy* said, “Thanks so much! Beth and Steve you guys are the best!”

Satisfied Reverse Mortgage BorrowerYvonne wrote, “My experience with Beth and Steve was very enjoyable.  I was always able to reach one of them.  I paid off my mortgage, so eliminated the monthly mortgage payment!  It has made a big difference in my quality of life to have that additional income every month.”

To supplement her income, Marilyn did the reverse mortgage, sharing, “I didn’t really want to have to do this reverse mortgage because I’m too proud.  But thank goodness it was there for me.  Steve was so very helpful as was Beth.  At closing all documents were in order perfectly.  I’m very glad I reached out to this company.  Everything went so well.”

Bonnie did the reverse mortgage to “secure my retirement” allowing her to retire.  Of her experience she said, “Beth and Steve were wonderful!  Caring, efficient, thoughtful. All are words that describe them and their service – I had contacted a nationally advertised company but did not feel at all comfortable with them.  I went with Reverse Mortgages SIDAC because they are local and knowledgeable about Minnesota and my needs here.”

“Having Beth and Steve to guide me through every step of the process was the blessing that made a reverse mortgage possible.  We were able to complete the process in time to obtain the maximum possible funds under the old system, making my dream of remodeling possible,” Matthew stated.

These are just a few of the experiences reverse mortgage borrowers have had.  Keep them in mind as you hear about reverse mortgages and are considering one.  Work with a reverse mortgage originator who is local, specializes and has experience in reverse mortgages, is ethical adhering to the NRMLA pledge and takes their time to give you the details so you understand the reverse mortgage and will have a positive experience and find the benefits.  If you’re in Minnesota, give us a call.

*Some names changed to protect privacy.

© 2015 Beth Paterson, Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog, 651-762-9648

This material may be re-posted provided it is re-posted in its entirety without modifications and includes the contact information, copyright information and the following link:

What to expect working with Reverse Mortgage Originators: Our pledge to our borrowers

Reverse Mortgage Borrower Satisfed with processI’ve heard from borrowers that when they have inquired about reverse mortgages from some lenders they sometimes feel pressured, receiving numerous phone calls, wanting to send them the counseling information and an application before they are ready to make a decision.

I happen to be sitting at the kitchen table with a homeowner informing her about reverse mortgages, providing her with all the details and facts and answering her questions when she received a call from another loan officer. She kindly explained to the caller that she was actually meeting with me face-to-face, a local originator and was not interested in further communication from them, the caller. Before hanging up, even though she had said she was taken care of, the other loan officer said they were still going to call her back. She expressed frustrations that they didn’t listen to her and that she had also received other calls pressuring her before she had heard about me.

As professional reverse mortgage originators we should respect your decisions and not pressure you into making a decision. Those of us who specialize in reverse mortgages and are members of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) pledge to a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Pledging to serve you with integrity and keep your best interests as our primary consideration, here is the pledge other NRMLA members and I have made that we will:Borrow with Confidence NRMLA Pledge

  • Know and comply with all State and Federal laws and regulations that protect reverse mortgage borrowers

  • Present you with the full range of reverse mortgage products available from our company.

  • Clearly explain the terms, benefits and costs of each product we present.

  • Inform you of your responsibilities as a reverse mortgage borrower including paying real estate taxes on time, keeping the property properly insured and maintaining the home in sound condition.

  • Work with you and, if you request, with your family and financial advisors either face-to-face or on the telephone as frequently as you choose to educate you, answer any and all questions and help you assess whether a reverse mortgage might be beneficial to you.

  • Explain the benefits of and statutory requirement that you have reverse mortgage counseling.

  • Provide you with a list of HUD-approved independent housing counseling organizations that employ exam qualified counselors to serve you. The choice of the organization is yours and yours alone.

  • Help you prepare for your counseling session to make it most effective by providing you with questions you might ask and information you should be prepared to provide to the counselor.

  • Prepare loan comparison projections and an amortization table for the loan being proposed to review at your counseling session.

  • Not charge any fees prior to the completion of mandatory counseling.

  • Help you analyze your financial ability to meet your responsibilities under the reverse mortgage.

  • Recommend that you seek professional advice if you Reverse Mortgage Originators Pledge to Borrowersare receiving assistance from SSI, Medicaid or other government programs.

  • Recommend you seek professional tax advice when appropriate.

  • Allow you to decide when to close on the reverse mortgage loan and not pressure you to make a decision.

  • Provide you with opportunities during the loan process to change your mind and not take the loan.

  • Pay off the existing liens shown of record, verify taxes are paid, and make sure that you have proper insurance upon closing.

CRMP Certified Reverse Mortgage ProfessionalBeyond the NRMLA pledge, there is a select group of specialists, the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professionals (CRMP), who have taken the extra step and demonstrated their knowledge and competency in reverse mortgages by having a minimum of two years’ experience, personally closing 50 or more loans, earning 12 hours of continuing education courses specific to reverse mortgages and ethics, passed a rigorous exam as well as a background check. Each year CRMPs must complete an additional 12 hours of continuing education to remain certified. CRMPs are dedicated to upholding the industry high standards of ethical and professional practices.

I am proud to say I have earned the CRMP designation. You can find a list of the other CRMPs on the NRMLA website.

Additionally Reverse Mortgages SIDAC has their own Code of Conduct that we adhere to.

As you explore the reverse mortgage option, make sure you are working with a reverse mortgage specialist who has experience with and knowledge about reverse mortgages, not just the title, one who adheres to the NRMLA Pledge to Reverse Mortgage Borrowers and even more specifically one who is a CRMP as well as one you are comfortable and respects you.

© 2015 Beth Paterson, Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog,651-762-9648

This material may be re-posted provided it is re-posted in its entirety without modifications and includes the contact information, copyright information and the following link:

Related articles:

Blog posts’ information is current as of date post published, program is subject to change in in the future. Contact us for current information, 651-762-9648.

This site or the information provided is not from, or approved by, HUD, FHA, or any US Government or Agency.