Category: Information for Adult Children

Should Your Financial Planner Be Discussing Reverse Mortgage?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutWhen financial planners counsel retirees on how to best leverage their retirement portfolio, social security, and other assets, considering a reverse mortgage was long not part of that conversation – but this is beginning to change.

As the myths of the industry are laid to rest, many professionals are beginning to better understand how reverse mortgage can be used as a financial planning tool for seniors who are on a strict budget or who want to live their golden years to the fullest.  Reverse mortgages can often mean the difference between just living and living life to the fullest.

A few tips for financial planners:

  • Seek out and work with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist who has strong ties to the community, lends from an organization that is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and is associated with the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.
  • Make sure you fully understand the information you may be offering your retiree client.  With the amount of misinformation within the industry, if you are not 100% sure of an answer, call your trusted reverse mortgage specialist to ensure the information you are providing is accurate.
  • Communicate with adult children who may have concerns and make sure they fully understand the process from A to Z.  Eliminating misinformation is key.
  • Remember, reverse mortgages are not one-size-fits-all.  Be creative and comprehensive when considering adding a reverse mortgage to a long term retirement plan.  

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Everything You Need To Know About The Reverse Mortgage Appraisal

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutGetting assessments on just about anything can seem laborious or tedious, who wants to have something close to them looked at with a magnifying glass? But appraisals for reverse mortgage loans are not only very helpful for everyone involved, they’re required by the lender.  Part of what determines the amount of funding available from a reverse mortgage is the appraised value of the home.  Luckily the process is very simple.

First, after talking with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist, you will submit your application. The specialist or lender will be the one to contact an appraiser who will in turn contact you to set up a time for them to look at your home.

The procedure is standard and involves three steps, the inspection, the research, and the report.

Inspection:

The appraiser will walk through your home with you, he or she might take photographs. It will document features that add value to your home. If the appraiser takes a picture of something in need of repair it lets you know that it matters and gives you a chance to fix it.

Research:

Once the walk through is done, the appraiser’s work continues as they research factors that influence the value they place on your home. Home sales in your area are one area of research. Others include multiple listing services, tax assessor’s records and public records come into play. Anything that will help to give the present value will be taken into account.

The Official Report:

This is the synthesis of the appraiser’s home visit and all the research. The report is used with your loan request. If photographs were taken, they will be included as well.

The appraiser gives this report to the lender who will give you a copy and an updated reverse mortgage figures taking into account the new information.

There are simple things you can do before the appraiser gets to your home to help your loan request. 

Reverse mortgage is an individualized, specialized loan for those 62 and older that allows seniors to tap into the equity of their home while living mortgage and loan payment free.  The funds can be accessed via a lump sum, line of credit, monthly installments, or even to purchase a home. If you are planning ahead let your specialist guide you in the many scenarios that are possible and the two of you can think creatively about your needs and desires.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

How Rising Interest Rates Affect Reverse Mortgages

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutInterest rates have been at historic lows for years.  This has afforded thousands of Americans to the ability to secure home loans for their dream house.  It’s also worked in favor for those who have made the decision to tap in their home equity using a reverse mortgage.  But interest rates affect a conventional loan differently than a reverse mortgage.

HECM reverse mortgage are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and are available to homeowners 62 and over.  These tax-free loans convert a portion of home equity into cash without incurring a loan payment.  Borrowers can access the funds via monthly installments, line of credit, a lump sum, and even to purchase a home. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which regulates the reverse mortgage industry, sets a “floor” rate of about 5%.  As interest rates rise and fall above this floor rate, borrowers will receive less or more in proceeds.  In fact, even a small rise of 1% above the floor rate can decrease available funds by as much as 20%.

Fortunately, once a homeowner has tapped into a reverse mortgage they lock in the interest rate and proceeds will never decrease, no matter what the market does, and the funds available will increase over time when using the line of credit option.  In addition, even if the home decreases in value below the amount of their loan proceeds, they will never be responsible for more than the home is worth.

Bottom line: with interest rates on the rise, now is the time to act if you’re considering a reverse mortgage.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Will A Reverse Mortgage Affect Social Security, Medicare & Pension?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutA very common concern among older adults and their adult children when considering a reverse mortgage is how it will affect social security, medicare, and even certain pensions.  For many seniors, these benefits are a large part of their income. Fortunately, because the funds from a reverse mortgage are NOT considered taxable income, a borrower’s benefits will not be affected when taking out a reverse mortgage.

On the other hand, borrowers who have Medicaid, TANF, Food Stamps or SSI may see those benefits affected by these additional funds.   Because these programs are government sponsored programs with strict approval guidelines based on all sources of income, even non-taxable income, there is a possibility the additional cash flow will need reported.  Other supplemental and assistance programs would need to be addressed on a case by case basis.  Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender and required third party counseling will ensure all your questions are answered thoroughly and honestly.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners 62 and older.  The proceeds can be received as a lump sum, as monthly installments, a reverse line of credit, and even to purchase a home.  The funds can be used for any purpose the borrower sees fit.  This FHA insured loan allows the borrower(s) to live mortgage payment free.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Home Equity Among Seniors Rises

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutIn the first quarter of 2017, home equity held by homeowners 62 and over rose 2.6% to $6.3 trillion, according to data from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

This $200 billion increase of housing wealth is attributed to rising home values across the nation, and especially in Colorado where some of the largest spikes were indexed.  It is important to note, however, that this was slightly offset by a 0.6% increase in senior held mortgage debt, which is equal to $9 billion.

So, what are the takeaways from these figures?

First, now is a fantastic time for older individuals and married couples to look into a HECM reverse mortgage while home values are up and interest rates are down.  One of the factors that determines the amount of funds available through a reverse mortgage is the appraised value of the home – the higher the appraised value, the more funds available.  On the flip side, because these loans are FHA insured, if a reverse mortgage is tapped into while home values are high, there is never a concern that more will be owed when it comes time to repay than what the home is worth at that time.  This is a comforting guarantee if the housing market were to decline in the future.

Second, the $9 billion increase in senior housing debt signals that older homeowners are not entering retirement mortgage-free at an increasing rate, and/or they are comfortable taking on mortgage debt in retirement.  In either scenario, a HECM reverse mortgage should be considered as it may be a viable option.  HECM reverse mortgages can be used to eliminate current mortgages – allowing the homeowners to live mortgage payment free.  They can also be used to purchase a new home.  This is something that all senior buyers should be made aware of while in the real estate market, as they can enjoy their new living situation AND live mortgage payment free.

HECM reverse mortgages are individualized, specialized loans for those 62 and older that allows older adults to tap into the equity of their home while living mortgage and loan payment free.  The funds can be accessed via a lump sum, line of credit, monthly installments, or even to purchase a home. Adult children can help their parents plan ahead by working with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

When To Refinance Your HECM Reverse Mortgage Loan

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutHECM reverse mortgages are for seniors 62 and older, including married couples, and were once considered a life line. Times have changed, and now reverse mortgages are regularly being incorporated into retirement planning.  But refinance a reverse mortgage?  It’s not something you hear about often, or maybe you don’t even realize it’s an option.  And why would someone want to do this?  Well, here are some fast facts:

Who might want to refinance:

• In the case of a remarriage, possibly you want to add the new spouse (note: new borrowers added must be 62 or older).
• Or in the case of divorce, you want to remove a spouse.
• If the housing market has improved drastically, maybe you want to tap into the new equity.
• Better interest rates?  Just like with a traditional mortgage, this matters.
• Interested in the Line of Credit option but took out the monthly installments?  Then refinance may be for you.

What you need to know:

• The process is similar to that of a traditional mortgage refinance, except you will still be able to live mortgage and loan payment free.
• You will need a new appraisal.
• Some older lenders have exited the reverse mortgage industry, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America.  If you currently have your loan with one of these lenders, you’re not out of luck, you can still refinance through an existing lender.
• You can shop around.  You are not stuck with your current lender.
• If your previous reverse mortgage was not FHA insured, you can switch to one that is.  The FHA insurance offers consumer protections, including the promise that you’ll never owe more than your home is worth at the time the loan comes due.
• You will need to take part in third party reverse mortgage counseling.
• If you received your reverse mortgage before 2015, be aware some of the requirements have changed.  Now income and credit does play a factor, although there are options if you fail to meet the new criteria.
• If you’re not sure you want to stay in the home, refinancing may not be the best move.  Instead possibly consider selling the home to pay back the existing reverse mortgage, then look at a HECM Reverse Mortgage for Purchase to downsize or move to a more suitable home.
• After the refinance, the borrower will still be responsible for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other related costs to the home such as HOA fees, upkeep, and utilities.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Applying for a Reverse Mortgage : What to Expect

If you’ve reached the point you are ready to apply for a reverse mortgage, you have likely done a fair amount of research (and if you haven’t, feel free to read through the informational articles here on my blog).  So what comes next? Here’s a quick run down of what to expect…

Age qualifications.  You’re probably aware the borrower needs to be age 62 or older to qualify, but in the case of married couples who both want to be on the loan, both borrowers will need to be 62 or older.  In addition, the loan amount will be calculated of the age of the youngest borrower, with the older the borrower, the more funds available.

Does your home qualify?  Not every residence qualifies for a reverse mortgage but many do.  The home must be HUD and FHA approved.  These include: single family or a 2-4 unit homes with one unit occupied by the borrower, as well as some condominiums and manufactured homes.  If you’re looking to purchase a home with a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, any new construction must have a certificate of occupancy.  Once it’s determined your home qualifies, an appraisal will be done to determine it’s value.

Financial Assessment.  In some recent changes made by HUD to ensure the continued progress of the reverse mortgage industry, a financial assessment became part of the application process.  This is set up to make sure borrowers are financially stable enough to continue to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other related costs to the home, although once a reverse mortgage is obtained on the home, there are NO mortgage or loan payments.  Although the financial assessment is similar to that with a traditional mortgage, if borrowers don’t meet the traditional criteria, there are still options through a Fully-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside, which is an amount drawn under the HECM that is reserved for payment of property taxes and insurance by the lender; or a Partialy-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside which works the same as the Fully-Funded option except a smaller reserve is drawn when borrowers meet credit requirements but not income requirements. The amount of both of these reserves is determined by the age of the borrower and the value of the home. 

During these first steps, it’s incredibly important to work with a trusted and reputable reverse mortgage advisor and lender.  You should never feel pressured or feel your concerns and/or questions aren’t being addressed.  Also watch out for scams that some homeowners can easily fall prey to.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Are You Ever Too Old For A HECM Reverse Mortgage?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutThe minimum age for a reverse mortgage loan is 62, but what about a maximum age?  Is anyone ever too old for a reverse mortgage?  I don’t think so, although it won’t be right for everyone.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners, or those seeking to purchase a home, who are 62 and older, including married couples.  There are NO loan or mortgage payment requirements while living in the home, but they are responsible for continuing to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, and any other associated costs such as HOA fees and utilities.  The loan becomes due when the last borrower passes away or permanently leaves the home (for 12 consecutive months).

Common reasons for seeking out a reverse mortgage include boosting retirement income, strategically protecting retirement assets or delaying the use of them, medical care, or simply to have a safety net.   The creative uses for reverse mortgages go full circle.  But what about the very elderly?  How can it help them?

I once worked with a 100 year old man to obtain a reverse mortgage on his home and fund in-home care while he continued to age.  He was able to reside at home with 24 hour care at a cost of $10,000 a month.  When I was sitting at the closing table with this client and his lawyer, the lawyer mentioned that that he could move to an assisted living facility at half the cost ($5,000/month). This gentleman’s quick, sharp answer back to everyone? “NO…. I’m staying in my home.”  And he did.  And I was honored to have helped him be able to do that.

An example would be if a parent-adult child duo were living together as they both age.  In many of these cases, it’s common both are age eligible to be on the loan.  And why shouldn’t they be?

Sometimes the elderly want to live out the final years of their life by sharing time and gifts with those they love.  Why not offer inheritance while you’re here and can enjoy watching those you love reap the rewards of it?

Whatever the reason, reverse mortgage may be the answer, no matter how old the borrower is.

One concern that can arise is whether or not the elderly can pass the financial assessment needed to obtain the reverse mortgage loan, since they likely have limited income by this point.  But older borrowers can tap a larger percentage of their home’s equity, allowing for a potential set-aside of funds to cover required expenses. The reason is that their life expectancy is shorter, meaning the expected term of their loan will be shorter, too.

Delay Social Security Payments with a HECM Reverse Mortgage

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutWhen planning for retirement, there will no doubt be a discussion about when a retiree should start taking their Social Security benefits.

There are perks to delaying, for example Social Security benefits stand to increase as much as 7-8% per year if you don’t apply until age 70.  But many seniors need this income as soon as they’re eligible.  With the ability to apply for a HECM reverse mortgage at the age of 62, and current low interest rates, retirees stand to actually make gains by using a reverse mortgage to supplement while delaying benefits.

When approved for a HECM reverse mortgage, the borrower can choose from a variety of ways to access the funds.  It could be a monthly installment, a lump sum, or even a line of credit that in itself stands to grow over time.

This is a creative way to use the hard earned equity in your home to your benefit.  A well educated financial advisor would easily be able to help you decide if this is a good option.  HECM reverse mortgages are available to seniors 62 and over, including married couples, with an approved type of home.  The borrower will always retain the title to the home and HECM reverse mortgages are insured by the FHA.

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

 

The HECM Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit, Explained

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutThe HECM Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit is still relatively new, and to this day many within the financial and retirement industries haven’t fully grasped how it works.  Well, they need to get on board because consumers are interested – and they should be.  Here’s why..

First, what is a line of credit?  Simply put, a line of credit are funds available to you through a financial institution that you can access as needed, or not at all if the need doesn’t arise.  Interest is not acquired if the funds are not used.  This makes line of credit options excellent safety nets, especially for the purpose of creative retirement strategy.

When looking at a HECM Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit, the two are obviously intertwined, meaning the qualification requirements for any reverse mortgage still apply.  These are: age 62 and over, using your primary residence for the loan, this home must meet HUD’s guidelines and needs to be either paid off or have substantial equity, and the borrower must have the financial capability to continue to pay homeowners insurance, property taxes, and the like. Because there are various options to receive the payout from a HECM reverse mortgage, the line of credit is only one of them.

When you have a HECM reverse mortgage line of credit, you have money that is available to you — but you only pay interest on the money you withdraw – and just like any reverse mortgage, you don’t pay anything until the loan comes due.  This means the reverse mortgage line of credit can act as an excellent back up source of funds or can be used for retirement fun, whether it be vacation, spoiling grandchildren, or knowing you have the funds available when you’re ready to take on new ventures.

There are other benefits though.  This line of credit is pretty astounding beyond just being a safety net.

Growth: Not only are you not paying interest, but your untouched reverse mortgage line of credit can grow in value. Money in a reverse mortgage line of credit grows at the same rate as the interest rate on the loan PLUS 1.25% monthly.  So, if the interest rate on your reverse mortgage is 2.50%, then your line of credit will grow at 3.75% (2.50% + 1.25%).

Unique: This growth is unique to reverse mortgage lines of credit — a HELOC for example does not grow.

Hedge Against Falling House Prices: The growth in a reverse mortgage line of credit is guaranteed — without withdrawals, your line of credit is guaranteed to grow.  This means you lock in the current value of your home without taking out an interest accruing loan.

Pretty great, isn’t it?

Sara Cornwall is a local Reverse Mortgage Advisor serving the entire state of Connecticut. Contact Sara and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.