Bob’s wife passed away so her Social Security was no longer received. To replace the 2nd Social Security check his financial advisor suggested a reverse mortgage so he could stay in his home and maintain his lifestyle.
We met and discussed his situation, the facts of the reverse mortgage and how it would benefit him. During his decision period, a friend suggested he sell and move into a senior apartment. But he wanted to stay in his home where he had lived for many years and with his many memories. He also wanted to keep his dog, his loyal companion. Besides he decided that moving and selling wasn’t cheaper than staying in his home and living in a senior apartment meant he’d have to make monthly rent payments which would not improve his cash flow which was his goal.
A reverse mortgage is a mortgage like any other mortgage, using the equity in one’s home, but has special terms for senior homeowners 62 and over. There are no income or credit score qualifications and no monthly payments required.* (See below for Financial Assessment requirement.) Senior homeowners maintain the title as the reverse mortgage lender does not own the home. Borrowers are responsible for paying their property taxes and insurance as well as maintaining the home. Reverse mortgage borrowers are highly protected – more so than with any other loan.
The HECM Adjustable Rate program allows for borrowers to receive their funds in monthly payments, line of credit, lump sum or a combination of these. The monthly payments can be structured as tenure payments, received as long as borrowers occupy home as their primary residence, or as they need. The line of credit grows so more funds become available in the future. There is also a HECM Fixed Rate option which is favorable if one is pulling all their funds out in a lump sum.
As a non recourse loan there is no personal responsibility to repay the loan as long as the borrower or the estate is not retaining ownership. This means if the loan balance when due and payable is $200,000 but the home can only be sold for $150,000 the borrower or the estate do not have to come up with the $50,000 as long as they are not retaining ownership. The loan is generally repaid from the sale of the property when the home is no longer the primary residence of the borrower, usually when they move, die or sell. If the home is sold for more than the loan balance the remaining equity goes to the borrower or the estate.
In Bob’s situation, the reverse mortgage paid off his current conventional mortgage and eliminated his mortgage payments – this improved his cash flow. Then Monthly Payments were set up to add the extra money he needed each month to maintain his lifestyle. Additionally funds were left in the line of credit for future needs.
A summer after he did his reverse mortgage he used some of the funds to take a desired vacation to Yellowstone National Park with his nephew – creating memories for both of them. After he returned from his trip Bob called me to share how happy he was that he was able to take the trip.
Then, as many of my borrowers do, recently he called again. As we were chatting he said that I wouldn’t recognize his house because he’s done some upgrading. In addition he had the home modified so it would be wheelchair accessible. While he doesn’t need this now, he’s prepared for the future when it will be needed. The joy in his voice showed.
Even though he didn’t have his wife to share his life he is able to have the funds to maintain his lifestyle and be prepared for his future in his home. Bob is enjoying his live with security, independence, dignity and control.
*In April 2015 a Financial Assessment was implemented to determine borrower’s ability and willingness to pay property taxes and insurance into the future. This safeguard help make the reverse mortgage more sustainable so borrowers can remain in their home.
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