Guest Sign UpLoginNew PostSections ₦0What's Up?DownloadsShopChatToolsAdvertise
Join the Publishers' Program. Get paid for writing.
Recharge DSTV, GOTV, StarTimes, & PREPAID METERS on

Mr A

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a financial product that allows homeowners, specifically those aged 62 and older, to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. The loan is called a "reverse mortgage" because the traditional mortgage pay-down process is reversed. Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the home borrower. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of reverse mortgages, including eligibility, types of reverse mortgages, potential risks and benefits, and related fees and costs.

Eligibility Criteria for Reverse Mortgages

To qualify for a reverse mortgage, borrowers must meet specific criteria:

  • Age: At least one borrower on the title must be 62 years of age or older.
  • Homeownership: The property must be the borrower's primary residence.
  • Equity: The borrower must have substantial home equity, typically at least 50% of the property's value. The exact amount will depend on the borrower's age and current interest rates.
  • Financial Assessment: Borrowers must demonstrate the ability to pay for ongoing expenses, such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, and property maintenance.
  • Counseling Session: Applicants are required to attend a mandatory counseling session with a HUD-approved counselor to fully understand the product and its alternatives.

Types of Reverse Mortgages

There are three main types of reverse mortgages:

  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM): HECMs are the most common type of reverse mortgages and are backed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These loans have no income restrictions and can be used for any purpose.
  • Proprietary Reverse Mortgages: These are private loans offered by financial institutions like banks and mortgage companies. Proprietary reverse mortgages can provide borrowers with higher loan amounts based on the property's value compared to HECMs.
  • Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgages: Offered by some state and local government agencies as well as nonprofits, these loans are intended for a specific purpose, such as home repairs or property taxes. Single-purpose reverse mortgages typically have lower costs and income restrictions.

How Reverse Mortgages Work

There are several ways borrowers can receive reverse mortgage proceeds:

  • Lump-Sum Payment: Borrowers receive a single, large payment.
  • Tenure or Term Payments: Borrowers can choose fixed monthly payments for a specific period or as long as they live in the home.
  • Line of Credit: Borrowers can access a line of credit and draw funds as needed.
  • Combination of Options: Borrowers can combine any of the above options to suit their needs.
The loan balance, which includes the principal, interest, and any fees, grows over time. The loan becomes due and payable when the borrower moves out of the home, sells it, or passes away. Once the loan is repaid, any remaining equity belongs to the borrower or the borrower's heirs.

Potential Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages offer several potential advantages:

  • Supplement Retirement Income: The funds received can help cover living expenses, medical bills, or other financial needs.
  • No Monthly Mortgage Payments: Borrowers are not required to make monthly mortgage payments, although they must continue to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance costs.
  • No Negative Amortization: Borrowers or their heirs will never owe more than the home's value when the loan is repaid, thanks to the FHA insurance for HECMs.
  • Retain Homeownership: Borrowers maintain the title and ownership of their home throughout the loan period.
  • Non-Taxable Income: The funds received from a reverse mortgage are considered loan proceeds, not taxable income.

Potential Risks and Downsides of Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages also come with inherent risks and downsides:

  • Reduced Home Equity: Reverse mortgages decrease the home equity available to borrowers and their heirs.
  • High Fees and Costs: These loans typically have higher closing costs, including origination fees, mortgage insurance premiums, and servicing fees.
  • Complexity: Reverse mortgages can be complex, and borrowers may not fully understand the loan terms and conditions.
  • Effect on Government Benefits: Loan proceeds might impact eligibility for means-tested government benefits, like Medicaid.
  • Potential for Foreclosure: If borrowers fail to meet loan conditions, such as paying property taxes or maintaining the home, they might face foreclosure.

Reverse Mortgage Fees and Costs

Most reverse mortgages, particularly HECMs, have several fees and costs, including:

  • Origination Fee: Lenders charge an origination fee, which can be up to $6,000, depending on the home's value and loan type.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP): HECMs require upfront and annual MIPs, calculated as a percentage of the loan amount.
  • Appraisal Fee: Borrowers are responsible for the cost of appraising the property to determine its value and ensure it meets FHA requirements.
  • Closing Costs: Borrowers pay additional costs at closing, such as recording fees, title insurance fees, and credit report fees.
  • Counseling Fee: The cost of the required counseling session typically ranges from $100 to $200.
  • Servicing Fee: Some lenders charge a monthly servicing fee, usually around $30.
Reverse mortgages can provide financial relief to eligible homeowners in retirement. However, given their complexity, fees, and potential risks, it is important to fully understand how reverse mortgages work and to consider alternatives before deciding. Seeking professional advice and attending the required counseling session can help borrowers make informed decisions that best suit their financial situation.

Follow @JalingoHQ on twitter.

Related Topics

Top SectionsSee More

This forum does not have any topics.

Top Posters This Month (500 Credits)
(See More)