Reverse mortgages can be a great solution for seniors who wish to remain in their home but are having difficulty making their monthly payments and meeting other financial obligations. If you are over age 62 and own your own home, the bank will actually pay you money so you can stay in your home, rather than the other way around. It is important to collect as much reverse mortgage information as possible before deciding whether to take out the loan.
Anyone is eligible for a reverse mortgage loan, even if they have no income. Your home must be a single family residence in a one to four unit dwelling, a condominium or some type of manufactured home. Cooperatives and most mobile homes are not eligible. The home must be at least one year old and you have to first meet with an authorized counselor.
You can obtain the loan as a lump sum payment, a fixed monthly amount or as a line of credit that you use whenever you need it. The money can be used for just about any purpose. This can include paying property taxes or medical bills, home repairs and improvements, paying off credit cards or just daily living expenses. The amount of money you receive depends upon your age, the amount of equity in the home, its appraised value and current interest rates. The reverse mortgage loan does not have to be repaid until you sell the home, permanently move out, or pass away. Your loan could also become due if you allow the property to deteriorate, you fail to pay property taxes or hazard insurance, or if the last surviving borrower does not occupy the home for 12 months in a row due to illness.
There are some fees involved with a reverse mortgage loan, similar to those you would incur with a regular mortgage. These include origination fees which cover the lenders operating expenses and are currently capped at the greater of $2,000 or 2% of the maximum FHA loan limit. In addition you will be required to take out mortgage insurance and pay an appraisal fee which ranges between $300 – $400. Other closing costs include fees for a credit report (usually under $20), flood certification, closing and title search, document preparation, recording, courier, pest inspection and a land survey. In addition, a monthly service set-aside fee of $30-35 per month will be charged.
When you meet with your counselor, you should be able to obtain all the reverse mortgage information you require before you make your final decision. It will be nice to have the option of staying in your own home if that is what you desire.