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Reverse Mortgages Gain Popularity With Senior Home Owners

Much Like a Home Equity Line of Credit, Reverse Mortgages Help Seniors Tap the Equity in Their Properties

By the Mortgage Guy /

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Many of America's seniors presently collecting Social Security find that it is just not enough to meet their monthly budget demands. They have worked hard and long to find themselves unable to maintain their lifestyle and level of comfort. Many of them do, however, own their own homes and their mortgages are fully amortized and something of the past. The equity that has accrued over the years, and the rising rates of property evaluation, put many of them in a great position to start tapping that equity now.

If you, or someone you know, has come to the end of their IRA and has no other capital to draw on, they should seriously consider a reverse mortgage while shopping around for good interest rates and amortization plans. The older the individual, the more they will be allowed to finance into a lump sum disbursement or a monthly line of credit.

When looking at reverse mortgage opportunities remember that similar to a forward mortgage, property taxes and insurance must be paid. The mortgage holder retains ownership of the property and must continue to maintain it. The fees associated with a reverse mortgage plan can be financed through the mortgage itself but they must also be paid back with interest when the loan comes to term or the property is sold. Upon the sale of the property, or the death of the owner, the estate or the heirs must pay the loan and all interest and costs in full. Any remaining amounts would then be disbursed to either the owner or their heirs.

The total amount that can be borrowed is specific to many criteria, the locale of the property, its value and what may possibly be left on an existing mortgage. If there is an existing mortgage amount due on the property, it is a requirement that this balance be paid in full immediately upon being granted the loan, making the reverse mortgage the primary or first loan.

A reverse mortgage is due to be paid when the last of the borrowers has died or sells the property and moves out. Failure to pay property taxes or insurance and neglecting the property can cause a reverse mortgage to be paid in full upon the demand of the lender. However, with a reverse mortgage, if there is still sufficient equity to cover these expenses, they can be paid with those remaining loan funds.

Whether to accept a Fixed Rate of Interest or an Adjusting Rate of Interest is another decision that must be made when analyzing reverse mortgage options. How much more a borrower wants to realize on a monthly basis will determine which rate they should choose. A lower initial rate with an adjustable suits many seniors because it will put more cash at their disposal, but those who worry about escalating rates need to consider a fixed rate reverse mortgage. In the private sector, the federally-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is the reverse mortgage of choice. As with traditional mortgage shopping the loan cost and origination services are very important and must be discussed in full.

Seniors should consult with a financial advisor and with their heirs, if any, on all the ramifications of the different loan options and then decide what is best for them.

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