Dissecting The Differences In Reverse Mortgage Professionals

When you start navigating the waters of reverse mortgages, you will undoubtedly come across MANY different companies and individuals ready and willing to help.  Flashy ads, website calculators, famous spokesmen, and more.  But who are all these people?  And what is the difference between them?  How do you know what is the best fit for YOU?

Here’s some information I think anyone considering a reverse mortgage needs to know about the various professionals who work in the industry:

Banks and Credit Unions – Most local banks and credit unions do not offer reverse mortgage loans, although sometimes the larger ones will.  Unfortunately seeking a loan through them can often mean little or no face-to-face time, and it’s not uncommon for these banks to leave the industry down the road.  At one time Wells Fargo and Bank of America were in the business, but they quit, leaving their borrowers with loans that few employees can understand and little help if reverse mortgage customers need it. 

Brokers – A reverse mortgage broker is a third party individual that is licensed by the state but doesn’t work directly with a lender, instead they essentially shop the marketplace.  When working with a broker, borrowers will pay higher fees because they will have to cover the costs of the broker.  In addition, because all transactions run through a third party, things can easily get slowed down or even stalled completely.

Direct Lender Specialists – This is the category I fall into.  Working directly with a lender that specializes in FHA insured HECM reverse mortgages, such as Retirement Funding Solutions, direct lender specialists are able to offer local, personal, face-to-face time with clients, and eliminate the need for costly third-party fees.  We are able to do all this while ensuring the smoothest, most efficient transaction possible because they are handling the loan and not farming it out to another company.

Reverse mortgages are available to individuals and married couples age 62 and older.  These FHA insured loans allow homeowners to live mortgage and loan payment free until they pass away, permanently leave the home (meaning 12 consecutive months), or they default on financial responsibilities associated with the home, such as property taxes or homeowner’s insurance.  The funds are available via monthly installments, a line of credit, a lump sum, or 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.

Reverse Mortgage FAQ – Part 3

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenThis is the third in a three part series of frequently asked questions about Reverse Mortgage.  

Will I Lose My Government Assistance If I Get a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage does not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, if you are on Medicaid or other public assistance, any reverse mortgage proceeds you receive will need to be reported or they may affect your eligibility. Reverse mortgage funds that you retain would be considered an asset, just as other bank funds.

What is a Reverse Mortgage Appraisal?

A home appraisal by an FHA approved appraiser is required for every reverse mortgage loan.  Once your reverse mortgage lender has received your application, you will be contacted by an appraiser to schedule a time to conduct the appraisal.  The appraisal will consist of an inspection, where the appraiser will walk through your home and possibly take photographs.  Once the walk-through is completed, research will be done to determine your home’s worth based on various factors, including comparable home sales in your area.  After the research has been done, an appraisal report will be generated which will include all of the factors that went into determining your home’s appraised value.  

How Do I Spot a Reverse Mortgage Scam?

Unfortunately con-artists occasionally prey on older individuals through reverse mortgage scams, but there are several ways to spot such activity.  Be skeptical of lenders who solicit through means such as television, door-to-door, churches or other community centers, direct mailers, or other extensive advertisements.  Asking for large amounts of money up front is a very clear indicator.  Anything required beyond a routine appraisal deposit of approx $300 is cause for concern.  Steer clear of reverse mortgages that are marketed as “Foreclosure Assistance”.  A high pressure salesperson is a red-flag, as it is important to clearly understand what you are signing and to have any questions thoroughly answered.  Working with a reputable lender is critical when making such a major decision as obtaining a reverse mortgage.  Learn more about reverse mortgage scams here.

What Happens if the Borrower Moves Into a Senior Care Facility or Something Similar?

A reverse mortgage becomes due and payable when the last borrower moves out of his or her home permanently. For instance, moving into a senior care facility, selling the home, passing away or moving in with adult children.  In the case of married couples, if both are on the loan, and only one spouse is no longer permanently in the home, the loan will continue until the remaining spouse leaves.

What Happens to a Reverse Mortgage After the Owners Pass?

When the last homeowner passes, 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: pay off the remainder of the loan, obtain a conventional loan, or sell the home.  For more extensive details about each of these options, read this article on my blog.

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.

Reverse Mortgage vs HELOC vs Downsizing

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenHome equity accounts for approximately 70% of a senior’s assets, not including social security or pension.  Often times tapping into this equity becomes inevitable when facing health crisis or financial restrictions in retirement.  Using home equity should be part of a larger financial plan and there are a few ways it can be incorporated.

Reverse Mortgage

reverse mortgage is available to seniors 62 and older with married couples being eligible to both be on the loan if both meet the age requirement.  Homeowners who obtain these loans do not make monthly mortgage or loan payments but  instead receive the funds in a variety of available options, including monthly installment and a line of credit.   The loan does not have to be repaid until the last borrower passes away, at which time there are options available to heirs.  The amount of the loan depends on the amount of equity in the home and the age of the borrowers – the older the borrower, the more money they can receive.  This is an excellent option for both seniors with questionable retirement funds or the retiree who is looking to boost their portfolio.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan (HELOC) also taps into equity by borrowing money against the home.  This type of loan will be processed as a conventional loan and monthly payments will need to be made to the lender.  Any health or future financial concerns should be thoroughly thought through prior to taking out a home equity loan.  Loading up the home with debt during retirement can be risky and could result in loss of the home if the borrowers are unable to make their monthly payments.

Downsize

Another option would be to downsize all together by selling the existing home and moving into a more modest situation.  Depending on the amount of equity in the home, a homeowner may be able to sell the home for enough money to comfortably be able to make rent or mortgage payments for 10 to 20  years.  Just as with a home equity loan, this option could be risky for a person with health concerns as the funds set aside for housing could be needed elsewhere.  For homeowners looking to downsize, a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase is also a very good option.  This will allow the borrower to move into the home they desire AND eliminate mortgage payments.

Before making any major decisions regarding how to effectively use the equity in your home, it is best to consult with a financial adviser and a reputable reverse mortgage 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.