Why use a Reverse Mortgage?

In my previous posts I have been sharing and discussing various mortgage options for seniors to use if they want to borrow equity from their home.

There are advantages to each of them, but overall they will require a mortgage payment each month and depending on the borrower’s finances, that may become difficult in the future, which leaves the last option, the only one for seniors and has the greatest flexibility.

And that is the FHA HECM/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, otherwise known as a reverse mortgage and it’s only available to seniors.

“Yes”, the Closing Costs are more expensive than the other loans, but the borrower will generally receive more money and not have a mortgage payment each month and that is “priceless”.

The amount is calculated on the age of the youngest borrower and the value of the property or the HUD Lending Limit whichever is less.

The Line of Credit will never be potentially “frozen” as could happen with a traditional HELOC, plus any unused funds that are in it, will increase over time, allowing more of the borrower’s equity to be available to them without re qualifying.

There is a “Fixed” rate reverse mortgage option for those who feel more comfortable knowing that the interest rate cannot change at any time.

The loan is insured by FHA and has no prepayment penalties on it and if a borrower wishes to buy it down or pay it off any time, they can without any restrictions.

And if they wish more funds than the FHA loan provides, a Jumbo Fixed rate mortgage can be had for properties that are valued  1 MM or more.

The borrower continues to “own” their property ( not the “bank”) and it will go to their heirs per their wishes who may want to keep it and refinance the reverse loan using a traditional mortgage, but in most situations they will sell the property, receive any remaining equity and have a mortgage interest deduction in that tax year.

And if the loan amount exceeds the value of the property, the estate is not responsible for paying the difference between the two and the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium will cover the difference

In conclusion of these multiple posts, the choices for borrowing equity are a HELOC and a Second Fixed rate mortgage or a Reverse loan.  Each person’s situation is different from another’s and what might be ideal for one, may not be the best for someone else.

Each one has it’s benefits and and drawbacks but only the potential borrower can decide and hopefully will select the most appropriate loan for their goal.

 

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Seniors Seeking Additional Money

I have been sharing different ideas in my last couple of posts about the options for a senior if they want to borrower equity out of their home and whether or not they are a good or ideal solution to solve a financial problem or simply wanting extra funds to be available to them for any use.

I’m going to continue this discussion in this post and one more that will follow it in a few days.

In the last couple of days, I talked about the traditional HELOC, the one that every Bank offers to their customers and now  let’s pick up where I left off.

The HELOC will allow interest only payments for the first 5 years, but then will adjust to a much larger payment. Plus, the lender at any time can “freeze” the account and the funds in it will not be available to the borrower.

Too often the borrower is unaware that the loan will be “reset” in the future and if they no longer have the same income as they did when they initiated the transaction, they may not be able to afford the new and higher payment.

Sometimes a senior will use one of these loans for additional income to pay on going expenses, but obviously they will eventually run out of money in the HELOC and of course, will have mortgage payments for the term of the loan.

This can be disastrous for a senior and possibly result in them losing their home through foreclosure if they are unable to afford the payments.

The next possible choice, would be to do a traditional fixed rate 2nd Trust Deed. At least you will know what the payment will be each month, but again the borrower is obligating themselves to a mortgage payment for 15 years and they may not have the income in the future to continue comfortably making the payment each month.

And if they are a senior and or hoping and or planning to retire within a few years, will they be able to afford this obligation every, single month?

So would be the next choice?

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The Differences Between a HECM and a HELOC

I previously discussed in earlier posts some of the details and considerations when a senior might be thinking of borrowing equity from their home and they have four options.

  • Refinance their home using a traditional mortgage – There will be a monthly payment
  • Do a Home Equity Line of Credit/HELOC – % only for five years then become fully amortized for remaining 10 years.   There will be a jump in the monthly payment.   “Payment shock”
  • Get a Fixed rate 2nd. Deed of Trust – Fully amortized monthly payment for 15 years.
  • Use a HECM/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage; a “reverse” mortgage.   No payments or loan term.  It is in effect as long as the borrower continues to occupy the home and/or they”pass” away.

Let’s examine the options a little bit closer.  The first three choices all require the borrower to qualify using their income and credit, plus they will have monthly mortgage payments.

Initially, the first 3 options are less expensive in closing costs, but there are risks associated with obligating oneself for a mortgage payment in the later years of their life.

If the borrower is currently employed and plans on working for many more years, then maybe the first 3 choices are ideal.  But what if you want to retire?  The mortgage payments won’t go “away”, the borrower will have to continue to make them each month.

Doing a traditional “cash-out” refinance is certainly an option to consider especially if the existing mortgage is at a high interest rate or it’s an Adjustable Rate Mortgage  ( who knows what will happen with interest rates in the future?  They will probably increase).  And of course, there is a monthly mortgage payment to be made.

Is this a particularly good option for a senior to continue to maintain an ongoing mortgage for many more years?

I will discuss the other three mortgages in my next post and each of them can be appealing depending on the borrower’s circumstances and what they are attempting to accomplish.

 

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Borrow Money from HECM or HELOC?

This is not an easy question to answer because it depends entirely upon the details and circumstances of the potential borrower and what they are trying to achieve.

Whenever anyone is looking to borrow equity from their home they could possibly do a refinance of their existing mortgage and then request cash back at the close of escrow.

Ideally they would be reducing their interest rate on the mortgage they are refinancing and then receiving the extra funds they requested and are happy with their decision.

They will have a mortgage payment to make each month and it might be larger than what they had been previously paying, because they have taken out cash from their equity and increased their loan amount, even if they reduced the interest rate.

The applicant will have to go through a lengthy Underwriting process, have excellent credit, job stability, cash reserves and enough income to meet the “debt to income” ratios and of course  good FICO scores.

This can be a very stressful process as it is more difficult to qualify for traditional mortgages than it was in the past and a great deal of documentation must be “willingly” provided by the applicant to complete the loan process.

And of course, they will have points and fees included in their loan amount as well and depending upon the size of the loan and the interest rate they choose, those fees will vary.

But what if their current loan already has a low interest rate and they want to keep it?

They could consider a Second Trust Deed that would be at a Fixed rate, a Home-Equity-Line-of-Credit or if they are aged 62 or more, a reverse loan/HECM/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.

Unlike a HELOC, an FHA HECM reverse mortgage will not record in a second position and any existing mortgages on the property will have to be repaid from the funds from the reverse loan.

I will discuss these last two options in my next post.

 

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Buying an Annuity with a Reverse Mortgage

In my previous post, I started a discussion about this topic and why it is never a good idea to use money from a reverse loan to purchase an annuity.

In general, an annuity may have high surrender fees and a deferred payment that tie up the borrower’s funds in an account that they would not have immediate access to and is of no benefit to them.

And why would an 80 year old senior buy one?   What’s the point?  It’s quite likely that they will die before they can ever withdraw any funds from it.

Because of this type of predatory lending, reverse loans developed a nasty image that continues to this day but is no longer true. A reverse mortgage is probably without a doubt the most regulated loan in the lending industry and the safest for the consumer.

At no time is a borrower obligated to buy any insurance products ( especially an annuity) as part of the loan process and within the loan application there are several forms asking the borrower if they intend to use their money from the loan to purchase an annuity and are they working with a retirement advisor?

Once the federal government stepped in and began managing this loan program along with individual state regulations, seniors are now protected from financial manipulation and the potential for financial abuse.

Plus a reverse loan is somewhat “like” an annuity, except the borrower doesn’t have to wait to receive their funds and there are no possible tax consequences.

Why is a HECM/Home Equity Conversion Mortgage better than an annuity?

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