A reverse mortgage is, in essence, a loan. A homeowner 62 years of age or older with a sizable amount of equity in their property may borrow against it and receive cash as a lump sum, a set monthly payment, or a line of credit.
A reverse mortgage loan does not require the homeowner to make any loan payments, in contrast to a forward mortgage, the kind used to purchase a home. Instead, when the borrower passes away, vacates the property permanently, or sells it, the whole loan sum becomes due and payable up to a maximum.
According to federal regulations, lenders must arrange their loans, so they don’t exceed the home’s worth. Even if it does, due to a decline in the value of the home or if the borrower lives longer than anticipated, the mortgage insurance provided by the program will protect the lender from having to make up the difference from the borrower or the borrower’s estate.
Seniors whose net worth primarily depends on their home equity—defined as the market value of their property less the balance of any existing mortgage loans—can benefit from reverse mortgages by getting much-needed cash. However, these loans can be pricey, intricate, and vulnerable to fraud.
To help you decide whether a reverse mortgage would be the appropriate choice for you or a loved one, this article will explain how reverse mortgages function and how to avoid common problems.
Home equity is usable money only if you sell and downsize or if you borrow against that value.
Reverse mortgages can be used in these situations, particularly for retirees with low incomes and few other assets. They can also be used by retirees who want to diversify their income and lower their investment, sequence, and longevity risks.
With a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the homeowner instead of making payments to the lender. The next part will go over the options available to homeowners for receiving these payments, and they are only required to pay interest on the money they receive. The homeowner pays nothing upfront because the interest is rolled into the loan balance. The owner also retains the home’s title.
The homeowner’s debt grows during the loan while home equity declines. A reverse mortgage uses the home as collateral, just like a forward mortgage does. The proceeds from the home’s sale after the homeowner moves out or passes away go to the lender to pay down the reverse mortgage’s principal, interest, insurance, and fees.
If the homeowner is still alive and the selling proceeds exceed the amount owed on loan, they are given to their estate (if the homeowner has died). In some circumstances, the heirs may decide to settle the debt to keep the house. Proceeds from reverse mortgages are not taxable.
Reverse mortgages come in three different varieties.
The home equity conversion mortgage is the most typical (HECM). This essay will focus on the HECM reverse mortgage because it accounts for nearly all reverse mortgages that lenders issue on homes with values below the conforming loan limit, determined annually by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
This kind of mortgage, also known as an FHA reverse mortgage, is only offered by lenders approved by the FHA. However, suppose the value of your house is higher. In that case, you might want to consider a jumbo reverse mortgage, also known as a proprietary reverse mortgage.
You have a choice of six different ways to get the money from a reverse mortgage:
Lump sum: When your loan matures, receive the entire amount. The only choice with a set interest rate is this one. The interest rates on the other five are non-negotiable.
Equal monthly payments (annuity): The lender will continue to make regular payments to the borrower so long as at least one borrower resides in the property as a principal residence. The tenure plan is another name for this.
Term payments: The borrower receives equal monthly payments from the lender for a period of their choosing, such as ten years.
Homeowners can borrow money from their line of credit as needed. Only the money borrowed from the credit line is subject to interest payments by the homeowner. The lender provides equal monthly payments plus a credit line so long as at least one borrower uses the property as their primary residence. The credit line is available to the borrower at any time if they require additional funds.
Term payments plus a line of credit: The lender makes equal monthly payments to the borrower for a period of their choosing, such as ten years. The borrower has access to the line of credit if they require more funds during or after that period.
A reverse mortgage, known as a “HECM for purchase,” can also be used to purchase a residence other than the one you presently reside in. To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you will typically need at least 50% equity based on the current worth of your property, not the amount you originally paid for it.