Reverse Loans for Million Dollar Properties

There are actually two totally different reverse mortgages that are available for seniors to use when they are considering using a Reverse Mortgage to pay off an existing mortgage or simply want additional funds.

Not too many consumers know about the optional “Jumbo” reverse loan that will enable them to receive more of their equity than they would if they used the FHA HECM program, plus it’s less expensive as well.

The FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage has a ceiling on the appraised value of a property and it is referred to as the HUD Lending Limit.   Originally this Limit was calculated on a national basis per county, so it varied in the amount of allowable appraised value of a property, county by county with the west coast having the highest limits.

Several years ago HUD eliminated these unfair limits and issued one single amount for the entire country which at this time is $636,150 but I can recall when it was only $362,790 and lower.

It’s considerably higher now, but keep in mind that the actual amount of the reverse loan will use a smaller percentage of the appraised value of the property or the HUD Lending Limit,  ( Whichever is less) than a Conventional loan would use and most often ( Depending upon the age of the borrower) they might receive between 40-70% of the appraised value/Hud Lending Limit.

But if their property is worth 1.1 MM plus, the value will be capped at the HUD Lending Limit and they will not have any of the remaining equity in their property accessible for their use.

This is where the Jumbo Reverse Loan becomes another option, unlocking the rest of the equity in the property to the borrower and enabling them to draw out more money from their home then they could receive under the HECM FHA loan.

I will give the details about this loan in my next post.

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Reverse Loans and Call Centers

This next section of my article cautions the prospective borrower on how to locate information about Reverse loans and what to avoid.

Part V

The best option is to not “shop” around on the Internet or call any of those “800” phone numbers, but to meet in person an experienced and qualified Reverse Loan Consultant who will prepare a personalized proposal and assist you by providing various options to achieve a satisfactory solution for you.

If they are unwilling to meet with you personally, avoid them and do not provide any personal information, setting yourself up for relentless, endless and annoying sales calls.

It is very typical for companies to employ sales people who are not licensed or experienced in the mortgage industry to answer incoming calls from ads in a Call Center.

They will never personally meet with the potential borrower and will mail a loan application package to them without previously providing a proposal or explaining how the loan works and expect them to sign it correctly and return all the necessary documentation that is needed to process the loan.

This is unprofessional and lazy.

And HUD and FHA require a potential borrower to complete telephone counseling with a HUD certified counseling agency before they can apply for the mortgage.

And it is very, very confusing and overwhelming for the individual that was only seeking information about Reverse loans and is now bombarded with phone calls from sales people.

Be smart and ask your Bank, CPA, Realtor or Estate Planning attorney if they can refer you to a licensed and professional loan consultant.

And consider taking advantage of telephone counseling with a HUD approved agency who will help you to understand the loan without and potential for personal gain or commitment to apply for it.


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How to get Information about Reverse Loans

“Shopping” for a Reverse loan is not anything like “shopping” for a traditional mortgage due to the complexity of the pricing and how the amount is initially calculated.

People are accustomed to shop for a mortgage based upon the interest rates and Points and making many phone calls asking about rates and fees from Lenders or Brokers and spending countless hours on the Internet “looking” for the best deal.

(But you can’t apply this technique as you would if you were looking for a new television, because you would probably buy it the day it is advertised at whatever the price is at that time.)

The problem with using this approach for researching Reverse loans or traditional mortgages, is that it simply isn’t a reliable technique and using this method will only end up making the search confusing and overwhelming.

Plus, unless you are actually signing a set of loan documents (AND THIS IS CRUCIAL) on the same day someone gives you a “dubious” quote (And I have to say that, because they are trying to lure you in, telling you what you want to hear), it doesn’t matter.

Because my article is a bit long, I won’t post all of it here but instead share it in subsequent posts.

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New Reverse Loan Lending Limits

FHA increased their Lending Limits effective as of January 2nd. 2017 for all of the loan programs that they offer.  This includes Reverse Loans otherwise referred to sometimes as HECM/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.

The increase wasn’t huge but it certainly could make a difference for some seniors who wish to pay off an existing loan that has a high balance and take advantage of more of their property’s value to achieve this, because the new limits will bump them up for the Principal Limit ( the amount of money they are entitled to receive).

The new Lending Limit is $636,150 over the previous one of $625,500.

What this means to a potential borrower is the possibility of a bit more funds at the close of escrow, especially if they were short to pay off an existing large mortgage.

The other area of change, is how seniors are using the funds from a Reverse loan.

I have found that more of my clients are putting a Reverse Loan Line of Credit in place to avoid drawing down on any investment portfolio that they may have and by doing so, extend the longevity of their investments and avoid any tax consequences.

And many seniors are quite concerned about the possibility of out living their money and how to pay unforeseen medical expenses as they age.  By having a Line of Credit in place, it gives them another option to be used for unplanned expenses such as “care-giving” and other expenses associated with aging.

And it’s important to understand the following:

  • The property remains in the estate and transfers to the heirs when the last borrower passes away
  • The Title remains in the name of the borrowers or their Trust
  • There are no mortgage payments, but property taxes and Homeowners insurance must continued to be paid by the borrower(s)
  • There are “No Costs” Reverse Mortgages available
  • Sell current property and buy down to a smaller property using a Purchase Reverse loan.


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HUD Approved Counseling for Reverse Loans

As mentioned in my previous 2 posts, counseling by an HUD approved agency is required by the federal government prior to applying for a Reverse mortgage.

Now, that does not mean or obligate anyone who completes the counseling to apply for this loan, it’s simply an excellent option for anyone that is seeking accurate information about the HECM program and not be influenced by some of the myths that continue to circulate about it.

I can provide a list of some of these approved agencies and they do typically charge an $125 fee for their service.   But it’s worth it, plus once completed the “applicant” will receive a HUD Counseling Certificate that verifies they have completed the counseling and if they decide to move forward on a loan application, they will need to give this to the Loan Officer.

Here is the remainder of the article about counseling that I have been sharing on my blog.

“Clarifying what makes the reverse mortgage become due and payable creates some surprise among prospective borrowers, Tetreault said, but it also opens the door to other questions that seniors might not have thought about previously, such as what happens if they do not pay property taxes and insurance payments on time.

“We talk about what their responsibilities are as reverse mortgage borrowers to make sure they do not put themselves at risk of foreclosure,” she said.

The million-dollar question

HECM counseling is a necessary stepping stone in the older homeowner’s journey to get a reverse mortgage. This decision is typically prompted by a significant need, whether that is the result of an unexpected personal issue or even the intrigue of using home equity to supplement retirement wealth.

In many cases, the million-dollar question is: how much money can I get from a reverse mortgage?

One of the things ClearPoint does off-the-bat is ask counselees how they plan to use the money they receive from a reverse mortgage; whether that means using these funds for daily or future expenses, paying off debt, etc.

In understanding what the loan proceeds will be used for, Tetreault said counselors can help prospective borrowers determine if a reverse mortgage is really the right product for them, or if there are other alternatives that might fit best with their financial plans.

At the end of the day, the decision to get a reverse mortgage hinges upon education and the awareness of what other resources are available to seniors that can help them accomplish their personal needs.

“Education empowers consumers,” Tetreault said. “Whether seniors take that information and decide to get the reverse mortgage or not, at least they are educated and have an understanding of all the choices and options available to them.”

Written by Jason Oliva/Reverse Mortgage Daily

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