about reverse loans

How to Pay for Home Improvement

Embarking on a home improvement project can be an exciting prospect, but it often comes with a hefty price tag.  However, with the availability of funds from a reverse loan, homeowners now have a convenient financing option to turn their renovation dreams into reality.

A FHA HECM reverse loan allows homeowners aged 62 and older to tap into their home equity without having to sell their property. This unique financial tool offers flexibility and can be used for various purposes, including home improvement projects.

And there is also an optional Jumbo Reverse loan where the minimum borrower age, is 55.  The loan makes larger amounts of equity available to the homeowner whose property is considered to be “high-value”.

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With the funds from a reverse loan, you can give your kitchen a much-needed makeover, upgrade your outdated bathroom, or even add that long-awaited extra bedroom. Transforming your living space has never been easier!

With the housing shortage, older homeowners are using funds from their reverse mortgage to convert garages to additional living spaces for caregivers, family members or renters.  And building an ADU for home improvement and rental income.

Not only does a reverse loan provide the necessary funds for home improvement, but it also offers several advantages for homeowners. There are  no monthly mortgage payments,  the ability to remain in your home throughout the loan term and the Title remains in their name.

Don’t let budget constraints hold you back from creating the home of your dreams. Unlock the potential of your home’s equity with a reverse loan and turn your renovation ideas into reality.

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Misinformation About Reverse Mortgages

The word “misinformation” is used regularly by the news media, political figures, various social groups, and everyone claims they are sharing the truth about what is happening in our communities and countries.

Citizens are questioning the traditional sources of news and harbor doubts about what is accurate, true, a distortion, or a myth.   It is confusing and creates anxiety and a sense of helplessness.

Misinformation has distorted the truth about reverse mortgage for many years.  So much so, the distortions continue to circulate with older adults and their children and because of their unfounded beliefs, would never consider using one to have funds for care giving, or to eliminate and ongoing mortgage payment.

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Unfortunately, many Financial Advisors remain uninformed and embrace many of the same beliefs and would never consider their use for a client.   But what if their client is withdrawing funds from their investments to pay for a mortgage, medical costs, home repair, care giving fees?

And they liquidate their investments?  “poof”.   And their Advisor just lost a client due to poor financial advice.

Before anyone “writes off” considering using a reverse loan, Do the HUD Counseling and don’t ask for advice from your friends, neighbors, hairdresser, or doctor.   They are not qualified to answer your q uestions.

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Refinancing a Reverse Loan

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.

  1. 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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Realtors Increase Their Sales

Well, actually they “could be increasing their sales” if they understood how a senior client could use funds from a reverse loan to purchase a home.

Although the HECM for Purchase has been available for several years, it seems that most Realtors are unaware of it and or they don’t understand reverse mortgages and how they can benefit their senior clients and their own business.

Apparently, some who do know about it, are apprehensive about this mortgage financing option and because of that, they are not considering it’s use for their older clients.  And that is because they are unfamiliar with the loan, the benefits and in general how it functions.

They are doing a disservice to their senior clients and themselves because they could receive two commissions.   One for the Listing their client’s home and one for selling them their new property.

Generally, the client will sell their current residence and purchase another home using the funds from the sale of their home for the new purchase, typically about 50% for a down payment.

And if they are buying new construction they can apply for their reverse loan prior to the authorities issuing a Certificate of Occupancy, that can speed up the loan process rather than waiting for the Certificate to be issued and then applying for their loan.

It’s an ideal option for seniors to buy as they don’t have to qualify on Debt to Income rations or FICO scores, have no mortgage payments and own the property as the Title will record in their name or Trust.

And overall, it’s a much less stressful experience compared to applying for traditional mortgage financing and can be accomplished quicker as well, taking away much of the anxiety associated with purchasing a home.

And when they pass away, the property will go to their estate and designated heirs, not the Lender.

In conclusion, more Realtors should learn about how to increase their own sales and help their senior clients into properties that better suit their needs as they age.

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Reverse Loan Choices

Most of the reverse loans that are originated are the FHA HECM program and over the years has been the “workhorse” for allowing seniors to utilize their home’s equity without having to qualify for a mortgage payment.

And as of this post, that continues to be the most commonly used reverse mortgage, however, in the last few years, another option has become available to seniors, especially those who have expensive properties at one million dollars or more.

The FHA HECM loan has a cap on the value of the subject property   ( As of 2018) of $679,650 and the new loan will use that as the maximum appraised value, a percentage of “that” and the youngest borrower’s age to determine the amount of money the senior will receive at the close of escrow.

But what if you want more money than it will provide or you have a large mortgage you want to be paid off, but the funds in the HECM are insufficient to achieve this goal?

A Jumbo proprietary reverse mortgage might be the solution because the loan will consider properties valued as much as 6MM and as low as $700,000 and the interest rates are “fixed”.   An additional benefit would be if someone lives in a Condo that is not on the approved FHA Condo list (That means they cannot do a HECM), a proprietary Jumbo reverse loan is the answer to this common problem.

An additional benefit to using this loan is that the Closing Costs are less than the FHA HECM because the borrower is not being charged the MIP insurance premium that all FHA loans require.   And some are not charging an Origination fee, making the loan much more inexpensive to the borrower in comparison to the  HECM.

As more lenders are offering Jumbo reverse loans and the industry evolves to meet the demand for them, I am sure that there will be new programs and opportunities for seniors to access the equity in their homes into the future making their retirement years more affordable and comfortable.

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