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Savings for the Seniors

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

What Is a Reverse Mortgage? A homeowner who is 62 or older and has ample home equity may borrow against…

By Senior Savings , in Finance , at February 10, 2020

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What Is a Reverse Mortgage?

A homeowner who is 62 or older and has ample home equity may borrow against the value of their house and receive money as a lump sum, fixed monthly payment or line of credit. What is a reverse mortgage? Unlike a forward mortgage the kind used to buy a home–a reverse mortgage doesn’t require the homeowner to make any loan payments. In this article, we cover everything you’ll need to know about reverse mortgages.

Instead, the whole loan equilibrium becomes due and payable once the borrower dies, moves off forever or sells the home. Federal regulations require lenders to structure the transaction so the loan amount doesn’t exceed the property’s value and the borrower or borrower’s estate will not be held accountable for paying the difference if the loan balance does become bigger than the home’s value. 1 way this could occur is through a fall in the house’s market value; another is in case the borrower lives a long time.

How Does Reverse Mortgage Work?

The Money in Equity

Reverse mortgages can provide much-needed money for seniors whose net worth is mostly tied up in the value of their residence. On the flip side, these loans can be costly and complex, as well as subject to scams. This article is going to teach you how reverse mortgages work, and how to protect yourself from the disadvantages, so it’s possible to make an educated choice about if such a loan might be perfect for you or your parents.

According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, homeowners aged 62 and older held US$7.14 trillion in home equity in the first quarter of 2019. The number marks an all time high since measurement began in 2000, underscoring how big a source of riches home equity is to get retirement-age adults. Home equity is only useable wealth should you sell and downsize or borrow against this equity. And that’s where reverse mortgages come into play, particularly for retirees with limited incomes and few additional resources.

  • A reverse mortgage is a kind of loan for seniors ages 62 and older.
  • Reverse mortgage loans make it possible for homeowners to convert their home equity to cash income with no monthly mortgage payments.
  • Most reverse mortgages are federally insured, but beware that a spate of reverse mortgage scams that target seniors.
  • Reverse mortgages can be a fantastic financial decision for some, but a bad decision for others.
  • Be sure to understand how reverse mortgages work and what they mean for you and your family before deciding.
  • The homeowner has to choose how to receive these payments (we’ll explain the choices in another section) and just pays attention on the proceeds received. The homeowner also keeps the title to the house. Over the loan’s life, the homeowner’s debt raises and home equity decreases.

As with a forward mortgage, the home is the collateral for a reverse mortgage. After the homeowner moves or dies, the profits from the house’s sale go to the lender to repay the reverse mortgage principal, interest, mortgage insurance, and fees. Any sale proceeds beyond that which has been borrowed visit the homeowner (whether or not she is still living) or the homeowner’s property (if the homeowner has died). Sometimes, the heirs might opt to pay off the mortgage so they can keep the home.

Reverse mortgage proceeds are not taxable. While they may feel just like earnings to the homeowner, the IRS believes the money for loan progress.


Kinds of Reverse Mortgages

There are three kinds of a reverse mortgage. The HECM represents practically all the reverse mortgages lenders offer on house values below $765,600 and is the kind you are most likely to buy, so that’s the kind this guide will talk. If your house is worth , but you can look into a reverse mortgage, also called a proprietary reverse mortgage.

When you take out a reverse mortgage, you can choose to receive the proceeds in one of six ways:

Lump-sum: receive all the profits at once if your loan closes. This is the only alternative that includes a fixed rate of interest. The other five have adjustable interest prices.
Term payments: The lender gives the borrower equal monthly payments for a set length of the debtor’s choosing, for example 10 decades.
Line of charge: Cash can be obtained for the homeowner to borrow as needed. The homeowner only pays interest on the amounts actually borrowed from the credit line.
Equal monthly payments and a line of credit: The lender provides steady monthly payments for as long as at least one borrower occupies the home as a principal residence. In case the borrower wants more money at any stage, they could get the line of credit.
Term payments plus a line of credit: The creditor gives the borrower equal monthly payments for a predetermined length of the borrower’s choosing, for example 10 years. In case the borrower wants more money during or following this term, they could access the line of credit.

Whatever the situation, you will generally need at least 50% equity–based on your home’s current price, not what you paid for it to qualify for a reverse mortgage. Standards vary by lender.

31,274 – The number of reverse mortgages issued at the U.S. in 2019, down 35.3% from the previous year.

Can You Benefit From One?

A reverse mortgage may sound a lot like a home equity loan or line of credit. Indeed, similar to one of these loans, a reverse mortgage can provide a lump-sum or a line of credit that you can get as required depending on how much of your house you’ve paid off and your home’s market value. But unlike a home equity loan or line of credit, you do not have to have an income or good credit to be eligible, and you will not make any loan obligations as you occupy the house as your primary residence.

A reverse mortgage is the only method to get home equity without selling the home for seniors who do not need the responsibility of making a monthly loan payment or who can not qualify for a house equity loan or refinance due to limited cash flow or bad credit.

If you do not qualify for one of these loans, what alternatives remain for utilizing house equity to fund your retirement? You can sell and downsize, or you could market your home to your kids or grandchildren to keep it in your family, possibly even becoming their tenant if you want to continue living in the home.


Pros and Cons

As soon as you’re 62 or older, a reverse mortgage can be a fantastic way to get cash in case your home equity is your main asset and you do not have another means to get enough cash to satisfy your basic living expenses. A reverse mortgage permits you to continue living in your home so long as you maintain real estate taxes, maintenance, and insurance and do not need to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility for more than a year.

However, taking a reverse mortgage means spending a substantial amount of the equity you’ve accumulated on loan and interest fees, which we will discuss below. It also means you likely will not have the ability to pass your home down to your heirs. In case a reverse mortgage does not supply a long-term solution to your financial problems, only a short-term , it may not be worth the sacrifice.

What if someone else, such as a friend, relative or roommate, lives with you? If you receive a reverse mortgage, then that individual will not have any right to keep living in the home after you pass away.

Another problem some borrowers encounter with reverse mortgages is outliving the mortgage profits. If you pick a payment plan that does not offer a life income, such as a lump sum or term plan, or if you take a line of credit and use it all up, you may not have any money left when you require it.

Rules Governing These Mortgages

If you own a home, condominium or townhouse, or a manufactured home constructed on or after June 15, 1976, you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage. Under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) rules, cooperative housing owners can’t obtain reverse mortgages since they don’t technically have the real estate they live in but rather shares of a corporation. In New York, where co-ops are typical, country law further prohibits reverse mortgages in co-ops, allowing them in one- to four-family residences and condos.

While reverse mortgages do not have income or credit score requirements, they still have rules about who qualifies. You must be at least 62, and you have to either own your house free and clear or have a substantial quantity of equity (at least 50%). Borrowers must pay an origination fee, an upfront insurance policy premium, ongoing mortgage insurance premiums, loan servicing fees, and interest. The federal government limits how much lenders may charge for these items.

Lenders can not go after their heirs if the house turns out to be submerged when it’s time to sell. They also need to allow any heirs a few months to choose whether they would like to repay the reverse mortgage or permit the lender to sell the house to pay back the loan.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Requires all prospective reverse mortgage borrowers to complete a counseling session that is counseling. This counseling session, which generally costs around $125, if take at least 90 minutes and should pay the pros and cons of taking a reverse mortgage given your unique financial and personal conditions. The counselor should also go over the different ways you may get the proceeds.

Your duties under the reverse mortgage rules would be to stay current on property taxes and homeowner’s insurance and keep the home in good repair. And if you stop living in the house for more than 1 year–even if it’s because you’re living in a longterm maintenance center for health reasons you are going to have to repay the loan, which is normally accomplished by selling the home.

Despite recent reforms, there are still scenarios when a widow or widower will lose the home upon their partner’s death.

Fees Involved

The Department of Housing and Urban Development adjusted the insurance premiums for reverse mortgages in October 2017. Since lenders can not request homeowners or their heirs to cover up when the loan balance grows larger than the house’s value, the insurance premiums supply a pool of money that lenders can draw on so they do not eliminate money when this will happen.

A change was a gain in the up-front premium from 0.5% to 2.0percent for three out of four creditors and a decrease in the premium from 2.5% to 2.0percent for another one out of four creditors. The up-front premium used to be tied to how much borrowers carried out from the very first year, together with homeowners who took out the most–because they had to pay off an present mortgage-paying the higher rate. Today, all borrowers cover the exact same 2.0% speed. That’s $6,000 on a $300,000 home.

All borrowers must also pay annual mortgage rates of 0.5percent (formerly 1.25%) of the amount borrowed. This shift saves borrowers $750 annually for every $100,000 borrowed and helps offset the greater up-front premium. In addition, it means the borrower’s debt grows more slowly, preserving more of the homeowner’s equity over time, giving a supply of capital later in life or raising the chance of being able to pass down the home to heirs.

To obtain a reverse mortgage, you can not simply go to any creditor. Reverse mortgages are a specialty product, and only certain lenders offer them. Some of the greatest names in reverse mortgage financing include American Advisors Group, 1 Reverse Mortgage, and Liberty Home Equity Solutions.

It’s a fantastic idea to apply for a reverse mortgage with different organizations to determine which has the lowest rates and fees.

Interest Rates

Just the lump mortgage, which gives you all of the profits at once if your loan closes, has a fixed rate of interest. The other five options have adjustable interest rates, making sense, as you’re borrowing money over many years, not all at the same time, and interest rates are constantly changing.

Along with one of those base rates, the lender adds a margin of one to three percentage points. So if LIBOR is 2.5% and the lender’s margin is 2 percent, then your reverse mortgage interest rate will be 4.5 percent. As of Jan. 2020, creditors’ margins ranged from 1.5% to 2.5%. Interest compounds over the life span of the reverse mortgage, and your credit rating doesn’t influence your reverse mortgage speed or your ability to qualify.

How Much Can You Borrow?

The proceeds you’ll receive from a reverse mortgage will be based on the lender and your payment plan. For a HECM, the amount you can borrow will be based on the youngest borrower’s age, the loan’s interest rate, and the lower of your home’s appraised value or the FHA’s maximum claim amount, which will be $765,600 as of Jan. 1, 2020.

You can’t borrow 100% of what your house is valued at, or anywhere close to it, nevertheless. Part of your home equity must be utilised to pay the loan’s costs, such as mortgage interest and premiums rates. Here are a few other things that you Want to know how much you can borrow:

The loan proceeds are based on the age of the youngest borrower or, even if the borrower is married, the younger partner, even if the younger spouse isn’t a borrower. The older the youngest borrower is, the greater the loan proceeds. The reduced the mortgage rate, the more you can borrow. The greater your property’s appraised value, the more you are able to borrow. A strong reverse mortgage monetary assessment raises the proceeds you will receive because the creditor will not withhold part of these to pay land taxes and homeowners insurance policy on your behalf.

The amount you can actually borrow is based on what is called the initial principal limitation. In January 2018, the average initial principal limit was $211,468 and the ordinary maximum claim amount was 412,038. The normal borrower’s initial principal limit is roughly 58% of their maximum claim amount.

Government Reduced Limit

The government reduced the initial principal limit in October 2017, making it more difficult for homeowners, particularly younger ones, to be eligible for a reverse mortgage. On the upside, the change helps borrowers preserve more of the equity. The government lowered the limit for the identical reason it shifted insurance premiums: because the mortgage insurance fund’s deficit had nearly doubled over the previous year. This is the fund that pays creditors and protects taxpayers from reverse mortgage reductions.

To further complicate things, you can not borrow all of your initial principal constraints in the very first year when you choose a lump sum or a credit line. Instead, you could borrow up to 60%, or more if you are using the money to pay off your forward mortgage. And should you pick a lump sum, the volume you get up front is all you will ever get.

Both spouses need to consent to the loan, but don’t need to be borrowers, and this agreement may create problems. If two spouses reside together in a house but only one spouse is called the debtor to the reverse mortgage, then the other spouse is in danger of losing the home if the borrowing partner expires. A reverse mortgage must be repaid when the borrower dies, and it’s generally repaid by selling the house. If the surviving spouse wants to keep the home, he or she will need to repay the loan via other ways, possibly through a costly refinance.

Ideally, both partners will hold name and both will likely be debtors on the reverse mortgage to ensure when the first partner dies, the other continues to get access to the reverse mortgage proceeds and can keep on living in the home until death. The nonborrowing spouse could even lose the home if the borrowing spouse needed to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home for a year or longer.

SCAMS to Watch Out

With a commodity as potentially lucrative as a reverse mortgage and a vulnerable population of debtors who may have cognitive impairments or be desperately seeking financial salvation, scams abound. Unscrupulous sellers and home-improvement contractors also have targeted seniors to help them protected reverse mortgages to pay for home improvements In other words, which means they can get paid. The vendor or contractor may or may not really deliver on guaranteed, quality work; they might just steal the homeowner’s money.

Relatives, caregivers, and financial advisors have also taken advantage of seniors by using a power of attorney to reverse mortgage the home, then stealing the profits, or by forcing them to purchase a financial solution, like an annuity or life insurance, the senior could simply afford by acquiring a reverse mortgage. This transaction is likely to be just in the so-called fiscal advisor’s best interest. These are just a couple of the reverse mortgage scams which can trip up unwitting homeowners.

Another danger associated with a reverse mortgage would be the chance of foreclosure. Though the borrower isn’t responsible for earning any mortgage obligations –and therefore can not become delinquent on these a reverse mortgage requires the borrower to fulfill specific conditions. Failing to meet those requirements permits the lender to foreclose.

As a reverse mortgage borrower, you are required to live at the house and maintain it. If the house falls into disrepair, it will not be worth fair market value when it is time to sell, and the creditor will not have the ability to recoup the entire amount it’s extended to the borrower. Reverse mortgages are also required to stay current on property taxes and homeowners insurance. Again, the lender needs these requirements to protect its interest in the home. In the event you do not pay your property taxes, then your regional tax authority can seize the house.


The Most Important Thing

A reverse mortgage may be useful financial tool for older homeowners who know how the loans work and the trade-offs involved. Ideally, anybody interested in taking out a reverse mortgage may take some time to thoroughly understand about how these loans work. This way, no unscrupulous creditor or predatory scammer can prey on them, they will have the ability to make a sound decision even if they get a poor-quality reverse mortgage adviser and the loan will not come with any unpleasant surprises.

Even if a reverse mortgage has been issued with the most reliable of lenders, it is still a complicated item. Borrowers must take some time to educate themselves about it to make sure they are making the best decision about how to use their home equity.