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Thinking of taking out a reverse mortgage? Read this first.
Most of us have heard of a reverse mortgage, also known as a HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage).
Close to a million homeowners have used this valuable financial tool to pay off an existing mortgage or supplement their income.
While pension income, Social Security and savings make up the three main sources of retirement funds for many, according to Time.com’s online Money Magazine, a third of Americans have zero retirement savings, while the cost of health insurance and long-term health care has skyrocketed.
Changes to the HECM program implemented in 2015 mean that a potential borrower must now qualify based on income and assets, much like a regular “forward” mortgage. The HECM remains an excellent tool which may be used for handicapping a home, home repairs, travel, purchases, gifts, or just to help make ends meet.
Anyone considering a reverse mortgage also needs to ask:
1. How long do you plan to remain in your home? A reverse mortgage is not intended to be a short-term fix for your financial problems.
2. Do you understand your obligations as a reverse mortgage borrower? You continue to be responsible for real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance of the property.
3. Are you and your spouse both 62 years old or better? And, will you both be borrowers? If not, you should ask an expert about the criteria for a non-borrowing spouse.
If you think a reverse mortgage may be a good fit for you (or your parents), you may want to consult a HUD-approved reverse mortgage counselor before taking the next step.
A list of counselors may be found on HUD’s roster at https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hecm_agency_look.cfm
Patricia Whitlock is a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP®) who has been originating reverse mortgages exclusively since 2005. She can be reached at email@example.com or 631-873-8277.