retirement funds

Reverse Mortgage Misconceptions

In my previous post, I discussed the negative image of the Reverse loan and where it came from and how we in the industry, are still plagued by this perception that is no longer true.

In spite of the amount of television ads and the many qualified resources for accurate information about the FHA loan program, there are still many people that continue to believe that they are a terrible option for a senior to use to access their equity.

Not true.

And I have to wonder how many seniors chose not to take advantage of the HECM program when it would clearly benefit them, due to their fear and lack of credible information.

I do not work for a BIG Lender, I am employed by a Broker and I work independently from my home office and I always, always meet potential clients personally in-their-homes.

I do not advertise and neither does my Broker and I conduct my business 100% referral based.   From former clients, Bankers, Trust and Elder Law attorneys and Financial Advisors.  I have built relationships with them over the course of many years and they know that they can trust me to take excellent care of their clients.

That is how I transform mistrust and lack of credibility.  And most importantly, I do not pester them to apply for the loan.  It takes time to make a decision and it has to be the best one for the client.  Not me.

However, an excellent resource for information that is accurate and correct is to chose one of the HUD Counseling agencies and request a telephone appointment for Reverse loan counseling.   They generally charge between $125 to $150 for an hour session, but it’s worth it and will give a person a better grasp of the loan and how it may or may not benefit them.

Here is a link to HUD for a list of approved counseling agencies.

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/hecm/hecmlist

So “whatever you have heard”, don’t believe your neighbor, friend, hairdresser, financial advisor or anyone that is not qualified or knowledgeable about Reverse mortgages.

Because they simply do not know anything.

Only “what they have heard”.

 

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Social Security is Increasing for 2018

But don’t get excited about this awesome news, because it’s only increasing 2% which on the average, will boost up benefits 20 to 25 bucks a month.

Just imagine how you could spend that extra money you will be receiving beginning in January of next year.  Ummm, let’s see?  I can think of a number of thrilling possibilities.

New tennis balls in lots of different colors for your Walker.  Or extra money to blow at the Dollar Tree Store where one can find so many awesome deals, especially the junk from China.

Or maybe a couple cocktails at a Denny’s restaurant where you can get a Senior Discount when you order some of their nutritious food.

“Yes”, I am being sarcastic I know.   But really only 2% increase?

I may look very youthful in my picture on this website, but I’m a senior too and if I wasn’t working I would be standing on a street corner begging for money and food.

I’m lucky however, because I enjoy being a Reverse Loan Consultant and meeting many wonderful and amazing people who are considering using the funds from a Reverse loan to pay for medical expenses   ( I just had a partial knee replacement in August.), home improvement, care giving or maybe simply taking that long “talked about, one day we will go to Maui” and finally doing it.

The number one concern of everyone, but especially seniors is out-living their retirement funds ( If they have any) and not being able to afford to remain in their home for the rest of their lives.

But there is an option, a wonderful option and no one should be “scared” to look into the FHA  government insured loan program just for seniors affectionately referred as the HECM.

Its smart to find out if you would benefit from it or not, plus it’s better than being reduced to groveling each month for enough money to pay on going expenses and staying awake at night in a state of fear.

Oh and by the way.   I have a Reverse loan on my home that I used to pay off two mortgages I had at the time during the height of the Recession and Financial “crash”.  So unlike the majority of any of my competitors,  I’m qualified about the advantages of using the loan because of my own experience.

And I’m glad I did.  It was a great decision at the time and I don’t regret it.

If I hadn’t taken advantage of using a Reverse mortgage for my own situation, I would have lost my home in a foreclosure as I was quickly running out of money.

Whew!

 

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How to Retire Using a Reverse Loan

I have been a Reverse Loan Consultant for almost 17 years and until the last five or so of them, most articles that discussed reverse loans and media pieces were not only incorrect but very negative and certainly created the wrong impression and more than likely, turned off a number of seniors who could have benefited from using  it to provide additional income.

However, we in the reverse loan industry have seen quite an “about face” in the last few years and more and more positive and encouraging articles and media news are promoting the benefits of the FHA HECM reverse loans to the public.

After taking a “beating” for too many years, each day seems to have another article or something on the news that not only is more often correct than it was in the past, but is seriously letting people know that a reverse loan is a good option to use in lieu of drawing down on a retirement fund.

In particular, the Boston College Center for Retirement Research has published a number of studies over the last few years, pointing out the reasons why seniors should not rule out using a reverse mortgage as part of their retirement plan.

And just recently they published a new report addressing the reasons why some seniors are resistant to the idea of using their equity in their home to sustain their lifestyle and to pay for any unplanned medical expenses and that their reasons are not “rational”.

I’m going to share a summary of their findings in the next few posts.

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Life Expectancy Set Aside

LESA is  a bit easier and less “tongue twisting” to say rather then the entire term in the title of this post.

In my previous post, I explained the changes that have taken place two years ago in Underwriting a Reverse loan and what the Lender is reviewing to determine whether or not the client can be relied upon to continue to pay their property tax payments, Homeowners Insurance and any other housing obligations they are responsible for in relationship to their home.

If they have been late on any of these items the previous 24 months, the Lender may elect to create a LESA for the borrower.   They will set aside funds in an impound account from the Reverse loan to cover all of these expenses for the rest of the borrower’s lifetime.

And it can be a big figure depending on the age of the borrower.

And if the borrower is using the loan to payoff an existing mortgage along with the costs associated with doing the new mortgage, there is the possibility that there will not be enough funds to include a LESA and the loan will end up being cancelled.

The reason for the change in Underwriting was due to the fact, that in the past there were some borrowers who lost their homes in foreclosures to their County Tax Assessor due to non-payment of their property taxes and of course the Lender wants to be sure that this isn’t a risk in the future for the new borrower.

Using the current Underwriting standards that is referred to as the Financial Assessment, they will determine if there is any risk or not for the possibility of non-payment in the future due to the borrower’s inability or unwillingness to be financially responsible for these on-going obligations.

Therefor if it appears that the borrower is capable of paying all housing expenses but was unwilling to do so, they might have to have a LESA put into place to make sure that in the future, these obligations will be met and there will be no risk for a foreclosure on the secured property.

The post following this one will discuss a bit more in detail what you need to know.

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Who is “LESA”?

LESA isn’t anyone at all, but a new layer of underwriting that was put into place two years ago for Reverse loans.

This is an acronym for “Life Expectancy Set Aside” and it’s purpose is to review a potential Reverse loan borrower’s ability, capacity and willingness to continue to pay their housing expenses;  property taxes, Homeowners Insurance, any HOA fees or Flood insurance premiums.

The Lender will verify that the expenses associated with the property will have been paid on time for the previous 24 months and if they haven’t a Letter of Explanation must be provided by the borrower to explain “why’ they were late, along with any documentation to support their explanation.

This letter must also explain any derogatory credit that may show on their credit report, as well.

The Loan Officer is now required to collect all sources of any income the borrower is receiving in addition to their Social Security and what this means, that there are more documents to collect from the clients than in the past.

  • (2) Years 1040’s if they are self-employed or have rental income from other properties
  • (2) W’s if they are still employed and recent YTD Paystubs for 30 days.
  • Social Security Award Letter to document how much they will receive in the following year.
  • (2) Months Checking acct statements to verify SS and or Pension deposits
  • (2) Months or most recent Quarterly statements for all Cash Reserves.
  • And additional items may be requested during the loan processing time.

Because this post is becoming too long, I will continue it on another one after this one has been published.

But don’t let this scare you, as reverse loans are still easy to qualify for, there’s just more Underwriting being done than there was previously.

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