Reverse Mortgages Offer New Products for Better Options for Borrowers

Reverse Mortgage OptionsChange doesn’t always have a positive image but change can be a good thing as it is with the recent reverse mortgage product changes that are insured by HUD.  Here is information on the reverse mortgage products available.

First let’s look at understanding the FHA/HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which is currently the most common reverse mortgage, and the only option currently available in Minnesota.  It is federally insured and regulated. Lending limits are set by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The maximum disbursement allowed at closing cannot exceed the greater of 60% of the Principal Limit/Maximum Loan Amount or the sum of mandatory obligations (closing costs, loan and judgment payoffs, set asides, etc.) plus 10% of the Principal Limit/Maximum Loan Amount.

The up-front FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) is .5% for initial draws of 60% or less in the 1st 12 months.  If one draws more than 60% at closing or in the 1st 12 months due to mandatory obligations, the up-front MIP is 2.5%. The maximum distribution of funds allowed at closing and in the 1st 12 months is the greater of 60% of the Principal Limit or the total of mandatory obligations plus 10% of the Principal Limit; the amount drawn cannot exceed the Principal Limit.

*Mandatory Obligations include closing costs, loan and judgment payoffs, set asides, etc.

Features on all reverse mortgage programs include:

  • No monthly mortgage payments however borrowers are still responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance, maintaining the home and abiding by the terms of the loan
  • No income or credit qualifications for the interest rate*
  • No personal liability, they are all non-recourse
  • No equity sharing or appreciation sharing
  • Loan is due and payable when the home is no longer the primary residence of the borrower(s)
  • Independent Counseling is required

Now let’s look at the various program options including the adjustable rate options and the fixed rate options as well as the HECM For Purchase.

The Adjustable Rate Program, offering the most choices on how the funds are received makes it the most versatile reverse mortgage program.

  • Funds available in a line of credit, monthly tenure or term payments, lump sum or a combination of these subject to HUD program limits, i.e. cannot exceed 60% in the 1st 12 months.
  • The available funds in the unused line of credit grow so more funds become available over time.
  • With the Adjustable Program, after the 1st 12 months the remaining loan proceeds become available.
  • One can make repayments which reduce the loan balance and then have the option to re-borrow those funds again via monthly payments or the line of credit.
  • The interest rate is based on the LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) plus a margin.

One of the features of the Adjustable Rate program is the Principal Limit Protection feature, implemented in 2006, this allows the lock of the Expected Rate index – however it does not lock the margin. Click here to learn about the Principal Limit Protection feature.

Reverse Mortgage Adjustable Rate MortgageWith the HECM Monthly Adjustable Rate program the rate can change monthly with the first rate change occurring on the 1st day of the second full month and can occur every month thereafter.  There are no limits on the amount of the rate change each month. With the monthly adjustable rate there is a lifetime cap of 5 percentage points or 10 percentage points above the interest at the time of closing depending on the lender.

The HECM Annual Rate program has the same features as the Monthly Adjustable Rate although the rate adjusts annually with the first rate change occurring between 12 and 18 months from the date of closing.  The rate changes thereafter must occur every 12 months.  The rate cannot change more than 2 percentage points at each rate change with a lifetime cap of 5 percentage points above the initial rate at closing.

With some of the same features as the HECM Adjustable Rate program, the HECM Fixed Rate offers a fixed rate option. There is one interest rate, fixed for the term of the loan, for borrowers who are drawing 100% of their available funds up-front. With this option funds are NOT available in a line of credit or for monthly payments.

One may choose to make a payment on the fixed rate option which will reduce the loan balance however these funds are not available to re-borrower again in the future.

NOTE:  While a fixed rate reverse mortgage sounds enticing, once it is understood, it may not be the best choice for a reverse mortgage unless you need all the proceeds for the mandatory obligations at time of closing.

With the Fixed Rate the interest is being accrued on all funds drawn up front when it may not be necessary to take all the funds initially. Additionally, the growth rate is not available on the funds in the line of credit on all the Fixed Rate programs.  If you are doing the fixed rate, ask for the fixed program that offers the line of credit and monthly payment options for the most flexibility.

Using a reverse mortgage to purchase a homeAnother program of the reverse mortgage is the HECM Home Purchase Program which provides financing to those who desire to downsize, move closer to children or purchase a new home without having mortgage payments.

The steps to do so are the same as with the regular reverse mortgage.  However there are some unique points for this beneficial home purchase option.  If you are over 62 and purchasing a new home in Minnesota contact us to learn more about the HECM for Purchase.

While Proprietary or private Reverse Mortgage Programs are not available in Minnesota at this time there is currently one offered.  These reverse mortgages are generally for seniors with higher home values and are considered jumbo loans.  With much higher or unlimited lending limits, the amount of funds available to a borrower may be much greater for those with home values over $1million than other reverse mortgage programs.

One must always look at their situation, consider how the funds will be received and utilized, to determine which reverse mortgage program will work best for their circumstances.  If you are located in Minnesota, contact Reverse Mortgages SIDAC for a review of all the options of reverse mortgages in Minnesota to see which option will be the best for your situation.

*As of April 27, 2015 income and credit are used for the Financial Assessment to determine borrower’s ability and willingness to pay property taxes and insurance into the future.

© 2014-2015 Beth Paterson, CRMP, Beth’s Reverse Mortgage Blog, 651-762-9648

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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.