reverse mortgages money

Retiring With More Money

As the need for utilizing one’s equity to leverage a retirement fund increases, more seniors will consider using a reverse loan to protect themselves from outliving their savings and running out of money.

Boomers are living longer than previous generations and the number 1 fear for any senior, is that they will not have enough funds saved for the remainder of their lives and what will happen to them if they use up all of their retirement funds and investments?

But the use of a reverse loan can possibly remove that fear and the negative image and myths that have plagued the FHA HECM for many years, are finally changing and are now seen in a positive light.

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More Financial Advisors and CPA’s are recommending to their senior clients that they consider using it to protect their retirement funds from unnecessary draw-downs, taxable consequences and preserve their portfolio.

And now the mortgage is being seen as a creative and beneficial option to allow seniors to continue to live independently in their homes and be free of the stress and worry of running out of money in the future.

With the current concerns about Medicare and Social Security becoming insolvent in the near future and that Medicaid/MediCal will not be able to meet the needs of an aging population, is very scary and depressing and how will seniors be able to live comfortably and have enough money to maintain their lives?

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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.

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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Stopping a Foreclosure

Can a reverse loan be used to stop a foreclosure on a seniors property? Yes, it can but it must meet the other loan requirements per the lender.

Sadly, some senior homeowners have found themselves unable to keep up with their mortgage payments or property taxes because of unexpected events such as a health crisis or a major repair to their home and they end up falling behind on their payments, triggering a foreclosure.

If they are not too deep into the process and apply for a reverse loan, there is a good possibility that it can be stopped and they won’t lose their home.

Here is what a reverse mortgage lender will need in regards to the foreclosure from the potential borrower.

  •  Proof of foreclosure and the dates associated with it.
  •  A letter from the attorney handling the foreclosure confirming that the payoff is not a short pay.
  • Confirmation that the borrower is still occupying the property
  •  Confirmation that the borrower is still the legal, vested owner of the property.
  •  Confirmation that the Sheriff’s sale has not taken place, OR that the borrower is still within the redemption period AND vested in title.
  • The borrower must provide a letter of explanation describing what happened to them and what steps they took to avoid having a foreclosure.

Documentation must be provided by the borrower for the reason they fell into foreclosure, which could have been due to income loss, large and unexpected medical expenses or other viable reasons.

This is a very simple overview about using a reverse loan to stop a foreclosure that is in process, however there are additional qualifications regarding “residual” income , the amount that is “owed” and if there is enough remaining equity in the property to complete the transaction.

Please contact me for more details and/or a quote and I will answer any questions about the process and what you need to know.

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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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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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