home 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With the funds from a reverse loan, you can give your kitchen a much-needed makeover, upgrade your outdated bathroom, or even add that long-awaited extra bedroom.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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HECM or Jumbo Reverse Loans

Due to some recent changes in the last year, the FHA reverse loan has lost some “traction”, due to the return of the historical MIP calculation, a reduction in the amount of funds available to the borrower, and most recently a collateral review of each applicant’s appraisal.

And if there are any concerns that the first appraisal may have been inflated, a second one will be required at a cost to the borrower and no one would like being told that they might have to pay for an additional appraisal.

This latest policy change will cause the loan processing period to possibly extend out an additional two weeks, but this will be another post for a later date.

But like the Calvery coming to the rescue, Jumbo reverse loans might very well be an ideal solution for some senior homeowners as there are more options to consider then there were in the past.

Jumbo reverse loans are less expensive than the FHA option and ideal for those properties that would be considered “high value”,  such as 1MM or more and for California, that could apply to many seniors who own a home which might exceed the current HUD Lending Limit of $679,650.00.

Another name for this option is a proprietary reverse loan, meaning it’s not a government program as the FHA loan is, but is offered though investors and they work exactly like the traditional reverse mortgage.

And what are the new proprietary loans like and how similar are they to the FHA reverse loan?

I will share those details in the next post very shortly.

 

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Reverse Loan Choices

When I first started in the reverse loan industry over 17 years ago, there was only one loan option at the time.  And it was the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, affectionally known as the HECM.   It is a Line-of-Credit and remains the most popular reverse mortgage that seniors apply for.

Initially, there was one interest rate and no other choices,  but now there are several different rates that a borrower can select, of course depending upon what is the most beneficial to them and their particular goals.  And there are also Fixed-rate mortgages for those who may be sensitive to interest rate fluxations.

And although the FHA loan remains very popular there are additional options for the borrower to choose from, especially if their home exceeds the HUD Lending Limit that as of this writing, is $679,650.00 and they want to access more of their equity than the HECM would provide to them.

So what is the solution to this question when a home’s value is much more than the HUD Lending Limit and especially in those states such as California where the average home value is quite often above 1MM?

A Jumbo reverse loan of course.   And in the last few years what started out as a single offering, has developed into several options allowing more benefits to a senior homeowner.

My next post will share some of the details about them, how they function and whether or not they are always the best choice for a senior who is considering a reverse mortgage.

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Power of Attorney for Reverse Loans

There are some occasions when it is necessary for a POA or Power of Attorney to be used when the borrower for the reverse mortgage is no longer physically or mentally competent and unable to manage their personal affairs and they need someone else who can legally represent them when it’s needed.

Generally speaking, if the borrower has a Trust in place, a Durable Power of Attorney is included in the Trust documents for each Trustee and can be used to manage the financial affairs of the named individual on the document.

For the sake of simplicity, I will not discuss all of the details in regards to Underwriting a reverse loan when a POA is being used for the loan application.   But I am going to quote directly from a Reverse Loan lender guidelines about what a family needs to know if they intend to use one for their family member if they are unable to represent themselves in the loan process.

  • If the borrower is mentally incompetent with a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, he or she must meet the HUD face-to-face requirement at application, the HUD counseling or at the signing of the loan documents.
  • A doctor’s letter certifying that the borrower is no longer capable of handling his or her own financial affairs and it must include the date the borrower became incapable of handling financial affairs.
  • The date on the doctor’s letter must be AFTER the date the borrower originally signed a Notarized POA.

The above would also apply in those situations where the borrower(s) is competent but physically incapable of signing documents and representing themselves.   This could be due to extreme arthritis, blindness or other disabling physical conditions.

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I hope that this information makes it a bit easier to understand what the HUD guidelines are to use a POA and also to reassure families that it does not affect their opportunity to be approved for a reverse mortgage.  It’s important to know what are the steps that need to be satisfied to be and quickly complete the loan process.

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When Does a Reverse Loan Need to be Paid?

This is a question that many ask about since there are no mortgage payments made on a reverse loan as are required on a traditional loan.

Plus there is no loan term but when does the loan become due and what are those circumstances?

They are referred to as a “maturity” event and include the following situations.

  • Sells the home Conveys title of the property to someone else
  • Passes away
  • Resides outside of the principal residence for a period exceeding 12 consecutive months due to physical or mental illness
  • Fails to pay property taxes, insurance premiums, condo fees, and other “mandatory obligations,” and all options to bring the loan current have been exhausted
  • Fails to maintain the home and allows it to fall into disrepair.

The most common reason for the loan becoming due and payable is that the borrower(s) has passed away and the property and or the estate has been received by the heirs.

As soon as is possible, the heirs must contact the Loan Servicer letting them know that the borrower(s) have passed away.   The Loan Servicer will send them by mail a “Due and Payable” letter within 30 days and the heirs must respond as soon as possible to the Lender.

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The Loan Servicer will explain the options the heirs have to repay the loan and it’s very important that the heirs contact the Lender by calling or emailing them to avoid the possibility of a foreclosure being activated by the Lender.

The Lender does not want to foreclose on the property and the heirs have the option of refinancing it and putting the Title in their name or  simply selling the home and thereby paying off the reverse mortgage.

But it is crucial that the heirs respond to the Lender letting them know how they plan to repay the loan.   The Lender will work with the heirs and help them through the steps to satisfy repayment, but communication is very important in the process.

My next post will go into additional details about how to satisfy the repayment and other details about the entire process.

 

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