Like any other mortgage, there may be a time when it’s optimal to refinance a reverse loan due to a drop in interest rates, increased home value or that the borrower is several years older than when they did their original reverse mortgage.
As of this posting, interest rates have decreased and many reverse loan borrowers are being solicited to refinance their current loan into a new one, however, there are some guidelines that have to be followed and not every borrower will pass them.
There has to be a tangible benefit to the homeowner to refinance their reverse loan and at the same time protect them from being taken advantage of and being charged unnecessary fees.
Regulations are in place to protect seniors from being taken advantage of and this has resulted in 3 “tests” to determine whether or not it would be beneficial for the borrower to refinance their current loan into a new one.
The borrower must pass 2 out of the 3 tests to be considered eligible to refinance their existing mortgage and if they do, they can apply for the new mortgage.
There is a”seasoning’ requirement and this means the loan has been in place for not less than 18 months from the time it was originated, funded and closed. Otherwise, the borrower will have to wait, although there are some exceptions to this, that could be discussed in an additional post.
- Closing Cost Test. The increase in available loan proceeds must exceed five (5) times the total closing costs amount This is the “benefit factor.”
2. Loan Proceeds Test. For any reverse mortgage refinancing the available Benefit Amount from the new HECM is the amount of the Principal Limit available to the borrower MINUS the HECM loan balance being paid off and the Closing Costs for the new mortgage. This must equal or exceed 5% of the HECM Refinance Principal Limit.
3. Rate Reduction Benefit Test. The borrower must recover the total costs of the new loan through savings in the annual interest rate charged on the new loan within 4 years.
Confused? Of course and the only way a borrower can find out if they would qualify for a refinance would be to provide a complete copy of their most recent mortgage statement to a reverse loan professional and have them do the calculations for you.
Over the years I have refinanced many of my former clients, but they all have to pass the tests and most of the time they do. If they wish to refinance into a Jumbo/Proprietary reverse loan, that can be done too, and the qualifying tests are very similar.
When in doubt, call your loan professional and ask them. It might be a benefit to you at this time while the interest rates are so low and you might be entitled to more of your equity and increased cash flow.
For seniors who live in California and would like a reverse loan to gain access to their equity, they often find that the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage does not allow them enough of their equity to be available to them, and they end up leaving equity “on the table”.
Home values in California tend to be much higher than other parts of the country and since the HUD Lending Limit for reverse loans is capped at $765,600 that means if a borrower’s home value is considerably higher than that, their loan will be capped at the lower value and they would receive less money from the loan.
When that happens, the loan amount will be determined by the above Lending Limit. But what if your home’s value is much higher than that? If it is, then the next possibility is to apply for a Jumbo Proprietary reverse loan that I have discussed in previous posts.
Not only are they more affordable in fees, but they will allow more of the equity to be available to the borrower. It could be a Fixed-rate, a Line-of-Credit or even a 2nd. Trust Deed if the borrower is comfortable keeping an original loan in place.
Some of them have fees and other options do not, depending upon the loan and interest rate that is selected at the time of the loan application.
When considering a reverse loan, it is very important to know what your options are and what would be the best one for you to secure more funds from your home to protect your retirement funds, plan for caregiving expenses or take a dream vacation.
Please contact me if you would like a personalized proposal and more in-depth information about how a reverse loan might be just perfect for you.
The FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage is a reverse loan and along with its many features for seniors, are different ways they can access their funds in the line-of-credit. They can choose to not take any kind of payment and simply take out some money at the close of escrow, or do a combination of the different options.
- Cash at the close of escrow with a “tenure” payment.
- Tenure payment only
- Modified Term payment and if they want it, cash at the close of escrow.
- Or no payments at all. But payments can be set up later if the borrower wishes to have one at any time in the future, as long as there are remaining funds in their account.
Very few of my clients have ever opted for any kind of monthly payment, but let’s take a look at what a Modified Term Payment is.
The borrower chooses a certain amount of money to be sent to them each month, such as $2,000 for 10 years. Depending on the age of the youngest borrower and how much money is available in their account, they will receive it each month but not for their lifetime.
At some point in the future, it will stop being sent to them, (10 years in this example) but if they still have money in their account, they can set up a new monthly payment, a tenure payment or stop it altogether or request a lump sum. Again, it depends on how much reserve they have in the line-of-credit.
Every person has their own unique concern or goal and depending on a number of factors, such as paying off a large mortgage, there may not be enough money left in the account to choose a payment option, but at the least, they will have eliminated their mortgage payment and that would become extra income to them each month.