For many retirees, a reverse mortgage is a feasible option to living the golden years they always dreamed of, or for others it may be a path to living within a budget without the constraints and worry of excessive financial distress. In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the individual must own their home, be at least 62 years old, and have some equity in the home. In general, the older the borrower (or the youngest borrower in the case of married couples) and the more valuable the home, the more reverse mortgage funds will be available. Other factors also come into play, such as: the appraised home value, interest rates, and the amount of equity in the home. Once a basic understanding of how a reverse mortgage works, the next step is finding a lender.
Where to find a lender?
Reverse mortgages are marketed in every possible way. Television, radio, mailers, internet, etc. Although not all of these methods ensure trouble, some of them can be scams. When seeking a reverse mortgage lender, it’s important to speak with people you trust. Ask around at your bank or financial institution. Speak with a financial or retirement adviser. Talk with neighbors or friends who have utilized a reverse mortgage. Seek information from the local Chamber of Commerce or Senior Centers. Utilize other resources that may be available in your community.
What to look for in a reverse mortgage lender?
Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender is critical. It can be risky to get involved with a lender who does not offer all the details or who is just looking to make a “quick sell”. A reputable lender will have strong connections in the community, working closely with a network of professional organizations.
Accreditation and ratings?
Seek out a lender that is a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). Members of the NRMLA must conform to a strict code of lending ethic. Look for a lender that is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where you can also learn of any complaints against the company.
Follow your gut.
When it comes down to it, always follow your gut. Just because a lender may meet all this criteria doesn’t mean they will be right for you. If you do not feel comfortable or feel your questions are not being adequately answered, there is nothing wrong with seeking out a different lender.
Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the North Hollywood, Sunland, Tujunga, Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, Montrose and many more areas of southern California. Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.