Three Things You Never Knew About A HECM Reverse Mortgage

Three Things You Never Knew About A HECM Reverse Mortgage

Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice Cohen CaliforniaReverse mortgages are available to senior homeowners 62 and over, even married couples.  The borrower will live mortgage payment free and always retain the title to the home.  There are many myths and misconceptions that surround reverse mortgages – but there are also some not-so-known perks to the loans.  

Here are my top three:

1.) Most Reverse Mortgages are Insured By the FHA

It is normal for older adults to be concerned with the welfare of their children after their passing. This is one of the reasons many seniors balk at the idea of a reverse mortgage – they don’t want to “saddle their children with their debt.”  

Fortunately, there are safeguards in place to address this issue.

Almost all reverse mortgage are FHA insured. This means under current guidelines there is a large equity reserve that will always protect their home from going upside down.  Even if the homeowner lives to be 110, has used all the equity in the home, and the market has crashed – the heir will NEVER owe more than the home is worth.  FHA/HUD have guaranteed that they will cover the bank’s losses should the situation arise.  This leaves the homeowner and their estate protected against any possible losses.  

It’s important to also know that on the flip side, if the home is worth more than it sells for after the owners passing, the heirs will receive any excess equity available.  The bank will never take more than what is needed to pay off the loan. 

2.) Reverse Mortgages Have the Option of a Growth Line of Credit

For many years, there were only two ways to tap into home equity when obtaining a reverse mortgage – a lump sum or monthly installments.  This is has changed and HUD has added two new options – a Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit (HECM-LOC) which works similar to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), with the exception the borrowers will NOT be required to make repayments, and the other option is a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, which allows seniors to use a reverse mortgage to make a home purchase. 

The line of credit is just as it sounds, it is a line of credit with funds that are available for the homeowner to take when they need it. But the major benefit to this line of credit is it also has a growth factor attached to it. This means that any money left in the line of credit will grow at a rate that is equal to the interest rate and mortgage insurance rates on the loan. 

Here’s an example:

Imagine your HECM-LOC has an interest rate of 4.5% and a mortgage insurance rate of .5%. The combined rate is 5.0%.  You have $100,000 in this line of credit which you don’t plan on using for 15 years unless you need it. That $100,000 is going to grow by 5% annually until you begin accessing those funds.

After year one this line of credit is up to $105,000. After year five the LOC is up to $127,500. And After 15 years the total funds in the line of credit are up to nearly $208,000. In 15 years, that 5% return has grown his available funds by 108%!

3.) A Reverse Mortgage Can Be Used To Purchase A Home

Although the Reverse Mortgage for Purchase program has been around for some years, it’s still relatively unknown – even in the real estate community. 

Reverse mortgages are an excellent option for retirees looking to buy a home near or far.  These loans require a down payment at the time of purchase, but beyond that there are quite a few differences than using a conventional mortgage.  

Borrowers are often able to purchase outside their expected “cash purchase” price range, because the cash is used as a down payment and the remainder of the purchase amount is covered under the reverse mortgage loan, while the borrower lives mortgage payment free.  The borrower will also always retain the title to the home, just as they would with a conventional mortgage.  These loans are also FHA insured, so everything discussed above still applies in that regard. The borrower can own other properties and still qualify as long as the home being purchased is their primary residence.  

Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley and many more areas of southern California.  Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Can I Sell My Home If I Have A Reverse Mortgage Loan?

Can I Sell My Home If I Have A Reverse Mortgage Loan?

For many that obtain a reverse mortgage, the plan is to stay and age at home, but sometimes reasons come up that the homeowner will want or need to sell the home.  Is this possible if there is a reverse mortgage on the home?  And what does it look like?

Can a home with a reverse mortgage be sold?

Yes, the home can still be sold at any time, just like with a traditional mortgage.  When the home is sold, the borrower will repay the loan balance and any outstanding closing fees from the proceeds of the sale.  Any additional funds from equity will be theirs to keep.

Are there penalties?

No, there are no penalties when selling a home that has a reverse mortgage loan on it.

How are the funds from the sale dispersed?

When the home is sold, repayment of the reverse mortgage loan will be first, followed by any outstanding liens or other obligations, then the homeowner will keep any additional proceeds.

Do I have to notify the reverse mortgage lender of my intent to sell?  

Not necessarily, but it is a good idea to start there and find out what the outstanding balance is.  Having all the facts upfront will help with decision making all around.

Bottom line: Selling a home that has a reverse mortgage loan against it is very similar to selling a home that does not have a reverse mortgage.  As long as you are aware of the few differences, it is a smooth process.

Reverse mortgages are available to seniors 62 and over as long as the home the loan is being used against is the primary residence and there is some equity available.  The funds are accessible to the borrower in a variety of ways including monthly installments, line of credit, lump sum, and even a tool to purchase a new home.

Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley and many more areas of southern California.  Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Tips For Adult Children When Considering A Reverse Mortgage With Your Parents

Tips For Adult Children When Considering A Reverse Mortgage With Your Parents

Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice Cohen CaliforniaIf you are concerned for your aging parents or relatives as their home becomes too much to manage or too difficult to move about,reverse mortgage may be an option.  It is common for adult children to look into the reverse mortgage process for their parents and help them make the right decision.  Here are some common questions and concerns you may have.

Questions to ponder:

1. Do I have the financial resources to help my parents with their medical and living expenses?
2. Is there a concern from other siblings as to inheriting the home or the equity?
3. What are my parents’ wishes as to staying home if medical care is needed for an extended time?

Common concerns:

  • Will Mom and Dad use up my inheritance?

While tapping into their equity, your parents’ home may be appreciating in value, which could allow for some equity left at the end of the loan. They are also able to live comfortably without having to depend upon family members to support them.

  • Will the bank take their home?

No, the bank will not take their home. Throughout the life of the reverse mortgage, your parents will continue to own their home and retain title.

  • How much money will they owe when the loan has to be repaid?

Your parents will owe the total amount borrowed, accrued mortgage insurance premiums, accumulated interest, servicing fees, and any other costs and fees financed through the loan amount.

  • What happens to the equity if my parents or I decide to repay the loan by selling the house?

There are two options. Either your parents or the heirs can keep the home and pay the balance due on the reverse mortgage, or they can decide to sell the home and use the proceeds to pay off the reverse mortgage. Either way, the remaining equity is retained by the owners or heirs.

  • What happens to my mom and dad’s house if they move into a senior care facility?

A reverse mortgage becomes due and payable when the last borrower moves out of his or her home permanently (12 consecutive months). For instance, moving into a senior care facility, selling the home, passing away or moving in with the children.

  • What happens if the loan balance becomes greater than the value of the home?

The reverse mortgage (aka: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM) is a FHA insured non-recourse loan, which means that the borrower can never owe more than what the house is worth. As HECM reverse mortgage borrowers, your parents pay a mortgage insurance premium to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They, in turn, guarantee that the borrower will never owe more than the value of their home when the loan becomes due and payable.

  • What are the risks my parents would be taking in receiving a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage doesn’t affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. To find out if it impacts other federal or state assistance or medical programs, contact your reverse mortgage lender, tax attorney, or counseling agency.

  • Are there restrictions on how my parents spend their money?

Your parents can spend their money any way they want. Borrowers have used reverse mortgages to pay for grandchildren’s educations, vacations, new cars, home improvements or to eliminate debts. The money can be used for anything they desire.

Reverse mortgages are available to senior homeowners 62 and over – even married couples. They will live mortgage payment free, always retain the title to the home, and because these loans are FHA insured, no one – including heirs – will find themselves saddled with the debt after the owner passes. There are also various solutions for adult children or other family members who may want to keep the home in the family.

Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley and many more areas of southern California.  Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

What Happens To A HECM Reverse Mortgage After The Owners Pass?

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenA common question and concern surrounding reverse mortgage is what will happen to the home after the homeowners pass away?  Will the bank take possession?  Will it be allowed as inheritance?  Will it be possible to keep the home in the family?  Will the family of he deceased be held liable?  These are very valid concerns – so I’d like to offer some clear and concise guidance.

When the last homeowner passes, whether we’re talking about you or a loved one, the home will transfer into the estate or a specific person according  to the wishes expressed in the homeowner’s will.  At this time there are three main options:

1.  Pay off the remainder of the loan

Depending on the amount of equity that still exists in the home, the financial situation of the family, and just the overall ability of those involved, this may or may not be a feasible option.  It’s not uncommon for a portion of life insurance to be used in this manner.  Because these loans are FHA insured, if the loan is repaid, it will never be more than the home is worth – even if the housing market is in a deep low spot.

2. Obtain a conventional loan.

Many mortgage brokers are familiar with the reverse mortgage process and the right broker will be able to help those in need identify the best route in obtaining a conventional loan and keeping the home.

3. Sell the home

The final option is to sell the home.  When there is not a desire to keep the home, the heirs can sell the home.  When the home is sold, the loan will be repaid and any remaining equity from the sale will go to the heirs.

If there are no heirs or the heirs are not interested in the home, no one will be held liable.

One last note, as long as the communication lines remain open, the bank will typically allow up to one year to help with the transition.  This one year is allotted in three month increments.

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.

What Is A Reverse Mortgage Maturity Event?

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenFor many who have had a conventional mortgage on their home, they are familiar with the “maturity date”.  But with a reverse mortgage, there is no maturity date, only a “maturity event”.  So, what’s the difference?

A maturity date indicates the date which the borrower will make the final payment on the loan, including principal and interest.  These are used with conventional mortgages.

A maturity event represents a specific event that takes place in the borrower’s life that signifies the loan has come due.  Because reverse mortgage borrowers do not make monthly mortgage payments. many seniors see this as an advantage.

Here are some examples of maturity events:

  • The property is no longer the borrower’s primary residence
  • The property is sold or transferred out of the borrowers name
  • The borrower (or last borrower on the loan) passes away
  • The borrower moves away from the home for more than 12 consecutive months (such as moving into an assisted living facility)
  • The borrower fall substantially behind on their property taxes, homeowners insurance, or HOA fees.

A reverse mortgage is available to seniors 62 and over, and this FHA backed loans allow the borrowers to live mortgage  payment free.  The funds are available in various different ways, including a line of credit, monthly installments, a lump sum, and even to purchase a home.

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.

Why a Reverse Mortgage is a Good Financial Strategy

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenReverse mortgages are available to seniors 62 and over who either have their home paid off or have substantial equity.  Certain criteria applies to the home in order to meet HUD’s rules, and although anyone on the loan must be 62 and over, they are available to married couples the same as individuals.  The funds available from these FHA insured loans are available in various ways including monthly installments, a lump sum, a line of credit, and as a purchase option.  Even with all these funding choices, reverse mortgages are not right for everyone but they are a perfect match for many.

When is Reverse Mortgage a good financial strategy?

Think of reverse mortgage as a financial tool that turns home equity into cash WITHOUT incurring a loan payment, unlike a traditional mortgage or home equity loan.  No repayment is due as long as the borrower is living in the home.  This also goes for married couples, in which case no repayment would be due until the last borrower permanently leaves the home.  The borrower will still be responsible for some things related to the home, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

Reverse mortgages are increasing in popularity as more retirement and financial planners are recommending their use as a potential tool.  Typically retirement planners have used a three legged stool as an example for their clients – saving, social security, and pensions make up this visual structure.  But with changes in the economy and uncertain futures, pensions are disappearing.  In this scenario, those who are “house rich, but cash poor” may find using home equity to balance out the stool is a saving grace.  In addition, for those secure in all three areas, adding home equity can be used as a safety net or to delay, thus enhance, certain areas.

The reverse mortgage industry underwent some changes last year as legislation was passed making these loans a safer option for both borrowers and lenders.  As a result, the reputation that once surrounded the industry has drastically improved and their use is being studied by some of the most prominent retirement experts.

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.

Does My Home Qualify For A Reverse Mortgage?

Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice Cohen CaliforniaReverse Mortgages are a specialized loan available to seniors 62 and over.  This creative resource is used by a wide demographic – from those looking to supplement a fixed income, to the more affluent in need of protection for retirement assets, and even those wanting to purchase a home in retirement.  But there are some requirements when it comes to the actual home…

Which types of homes are included? 

According the HUD’s Federal Housing Administration, the home must be a single family home or a 2-4 unit home with one unit occupied by the borrower. Some condominiums and manufactured homes that are approved by HUD also meet FHA requirements.

In the case of a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, borrowers can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a single family home or 2-4 unit home with completed construction that has received a certificate of occupancy.

Are there reasons my home may not qualify?

A home with very little equity may not qualify, although homes with existing mortgages may.

In addition, homes must be maintained with general upkeep and be current on property taxes and other expenses relevant to the home.

A second home or vacation home may not qualify.  The borrower must be living (or plan to live) in the home.

Bottom line

The funds from a reverse mortgage can be accessed via a lump sum, line of credit, monthly installments, or to purchase a home. If you have questions let your specialist guide you in the many scenarios that are possible and the two of you can think creatively about your needs and desires.

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.

What To Expect When Applying For A Reverse Mortgage

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenIf you’ve reached the point you are ready to apply for a reverse mortgage, you have likely done a fair amount of research (and if you haven’t, feel free to read through the informational articles here on my blog).  So what comes next? Here’s a quick run down of what to expect…

Age qualifications.  You’re probably aware the borrower needs to be age 62 or older to qualify, but in the case of married couples who both want to be on the loan, both borrowers will need to be 62 or older.  In addition, the loan amount will be calculated of the age of the youngest borrower, with the older the borrower, the more funds available.

Does your home qualify?  Not every residence qualifies for a reverse mortgage but many do.  The home must be HUD and FHA approved.  These include: single family or a 2-4 unit homes with one unit occupied by the borrower, as well as some condominiums and manufactured homes.  If you’re looking to purchase a home with a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, any new construction must have a certificate of occupancy.  Once it’s determined your home qualifies, an appraisal will be done to determine it’s value.

Financial Assessment.  In some recent changes made by HUD to ensure the continued progress of the reverse mortgage industry, a financial assessment became part of the application process.  This is set up to make sure borrowers are financially stable enough to continue to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other related costs to the home, although once a reverse mortgage is obtained on the home, there are NO mortgage or loan payments.  Although the financial assessment is similar to that with a traditional mortgage, if borrowers don’t meet the traditional criteria, there are still options through a Fully-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside, which is an amount drawn under the HECM that is reserved for payment of property taxes and insurance by the lender; or a Partialy-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside which works the same as the Fully-Funded option except a smaller reserve is drawn when borrowers meet credit requirements but not income requirements. The amount of both of these reserves is determined by the age of the borrower and the value of the home.

During these first steps, it’s incredibly important to work with a trusted and reputable reverse mortgage advisor and lender.  You should never feel pressured or feel your concerns and/or questions aren’t being addressed.  Also watch out for scams that some homeowners can easily fall prey to.

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.

Why Your Retirement Will Be Different Than Your Parents

Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice Cohen CaliforniaDecades ago, when our parents were working and raising a family, they looked at retirement as the true golden years.  It would be a time when they stopped working and lived off the fruits of their savings and investments.  Retirement planners used a three-legged-stool strategy back then.  The make up of this stool was Social Security, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and personal savings.  But somewhere between their retirement and now this stool became unbalanced – and now today’s retirees are needing to compensate for it.  But how?

First, it’s important to remember that these three components of retirement are still an integral part of retirement success, which is why it should be considered how they can be best utilized as well as protected.  But it’s also important to consider what else has changed – things like life expectancy, a more active retirement, and a move toward non-traditional and even extravagant retirement goals.   Why not have it all?  And what are the options to achieve it?

Part-Time Work: It’s not uncommon for retirees to utilize a phased retirement strategy, where they can work and begin receiving benefits.  In addition to the obvious point of this – additional income – working can help to delay Social Security benefits, as well as keep older people engaged in the community.  

Reverse Mortgage: For those with substantial equity in their homes, a reverse mortgage can be an excellent way to balance out that stool analogy with a fourth leg, or simply get the boost retirees need to live that extravagant retirement life they’ve been dreaming of.  Funds are available via a line of credit, monthly installments, a lump sum, and even to purchase home (or a combination).  Because the income is not taxed, it can be used strategically with investments, or used to delay Social Security benefits.  Another common function is a stand-by strategy that taps the line of credit now, but only uses it during bear markets to protect investments.  These FHA backed reverse mortgages do not incur any mortgage or loan payments, although borrowers must keep up with homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and other associated costs.  In addition to living mortgage payment free, they can actually eliminate any existing mortgage or HELOC payments, and the loan is not payable until the last borrower passes away or permanently leaves the home.  

Downsizing and HELOC’s:  When considering how to make ends meet during retirement, downsizing is often part of the conversation.  Selling the home and moving to smaller one, then using any additional equity as a retirement funding source.  For anyone considering this, I’d suggest looking at the details of a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase prior to making a final decision.  A Reverse Mortgage for Purchase option can allow buyers to get more house for their money, while still having cash to stash away for retirement. 

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is another common solution.  When going this route versus a reverse mortgage, ensure the new monthly payment will not cause damage down the road if other needs arise, like medical care.  

Reverse mortgages certainly won’t be right for everyone, but for many they can be used creatively to aid in funding today’s retirement that is so different than what we are used to.  

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.

How Adult Children Can Help Their Parents With A Reverse Mortgage

Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice Cohen CaliforniaPerhaps your parents raised you in the home they are now ambling about. As you see them begin to slow, or have to jump on a plane every time they wish to see you, thoughts of helping them to have an easier time come across your mind. After all they deserve at this time of their life to relax, do what they wish to do, and be able to manage their health and their finances with comfort.

Considering a reverse mortgage is one good option. It gives more wiggle room to work with when balancing the growing needs of health, home, and retirement.

As you discuss the future and it’s possibilities, there are a few questions to ask yourself and everyone else involved.

First, do you or other siblings have concerns about inheritance and/or equity?  Your parents probably care that all of you feel you have received from them as they pass. While this discussion is not always easy, it is undeniably beneficial. Talking will give clarity, which in turn provides direction. It also gives everyone a chance to be heard.

Second, do you have financial resources to help your parents?  Health needs as we age are difficult to determine but it is important to build in a buffer for the unexpected.  The stress of aging is enough in and of itself, being able to take care of the costs should not have to be an additional worry for those that raised you.

Another good question that only your parents can answer is, ‘What are my parent’s wishes about staying in their home, especially if their medical needs grow?’ For some they are ready to let go of the home of their youth and family, wanting to change and simplify their lifestyle. For some being closer to you is the most important desire. And for some staying in their home as long as possible is the most important wish that could be fulfilled. Since the decision about reverse mortgage as a way to fulfill desires is a big one, looking toward the future and developing a plan will only benefit everyone – and ultimately make your parents’ happy.

Reverse mortgage is an individualized, specialized loan for those 62 and older that allows seniors to tap into the equity of their home while living mortgage and loan payment free.  The funds can be accessed via a lump sum, line of credit, monthly installments, or even to purchase a home. If you are planning ahead let your specialist guide you creatively to suit your needs and desires.

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.