Category: Facts

I Have A HELOC On My Home – Can I Get A Reverse Mortgage?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutThe short answer is – absolutely.  And as a matter a fact, reverse mortgages are great options to eliminate HELOC payments.

A HELOC is the acronym for Home Equity Line of Credit, and thousands in the Fort Collins and Loveland cities have taken advantage of it. When the housing boom was in full swing a number of years ago, the values of personal homes gave their owners a strong resource to draw upon in the form of a loan.  Unfortunately many of these loans amortized, leaving the borrowers with higher than  predicted payments.

Seniors 62 or older with a HELOC loan may be able to utilize a reverse mortgage to relieve the financial burden.  The HECM, or Reverse Mortgage, provides the borrower with non-taxable income that will not affect social security or Medicare, and can be used for whatever the borrower sees fit. The funds from the loan can also be received in various options. Seeking the advice of a reputable reverse mortgage lender can help you make these decisions.  During the application process, the HELOC will be discussed and a options of paying it off will be laid out.

If you do not presently have a HELOC but are considering one, put reverse mortgage on the table for a consideration as well. There will be advantages to both options giving you a sense of freedom to have choices.

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.

What is Required Reverse Mortgage Counseling?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutPrior to being approved for a reverse mortgage, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires each borrow to participate in a counseling session with an approved agency. These not-for-profit agencies are funded by the federal government and work closely with both the FHA and lenders to ensure a smooth process.

The goal of this session is not to steer a potential borrower in one direction or another, but to make sure they clearly understand all aspects of a reverse mortgage.

Here is what you can expect at your counseling session:

The potential borrower will need to schedule an appointment directly with a counseling agency. The lender does not initiate or take part in the session, but can provide you with resources to seek out a counselor. The session will take place in person or over the phone – although the FHA recommends a face-to-face meeting whenever possible.

Prior to your appointment, the counseling agency will provide you with a packet of information to allow you to prepare for the session. During the session the counselor will discuss your immediate and long-term financial needs, your reasons for seeking out a reverse mortgage, address any questions or concerns you may have, and clearly educate you on the process as well as the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. Again, they are not there to “sell” you on the product, but to educate instead.

Once you have completed the counseling session, you will be provided with a “Certificate of Completion”. This certificate verifies to your lender that you have completed the counseling session and that you understand the essentials of a reverse mortgage. Your counselor will also follow up with you to ensure you have no further needs, questions, or concerns.

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.

Reverse Mortgage FAQ – Part 3

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutThis is the third in a three part series of frequently asked questions about Reverse Mortgage.  

Will I Lose My Government Assistance If I Get a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage does not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, if you are on Medicaid or other public assistance, any reverse mortgage proceeds you receive will need to be reported or they may affect your eligibility. Reverse mortgage funds that you retain would be considered an asset, just as other bank funds.

What is a Reverse Mortgage Appraisal?

A home appraisal by an FHA approved appraiser is required for every reverse mortgage loan.  Once your reverse mortgage lender has received your application, you will be contacted by an appraiser to schedule a time to conduct the appraisal.  The appraisal will consist of an inspection, where the appraiser will walk through your home and possibly take photographs.  Once the walk-through is completed, research will be done to determine your home’s worth based on various factors, including comparable home sales in your area.  After the research has been done, an appraisal report will be generated which will include all of the factors that went into determining your home’s appraised value.  

How Do I Spot a Reverse Mortgage Scam?

Unfortunately con-artists occasionally prey on older individuals through reverse mortgage scams, but there are several ways to spot such activity.  Be skeptical of lenders who solicit through means such as television, door-to-door, churches or other community centers, direct mailers, or other extensive advertisements.  Asking for large amounts of money up front is a very clear indicator.  Anything required beyond a routine appraisal deposit of approx $300 is cause for concern.  Steer clear of reverse mortgages that are marketed as “Foreclosure Assistance”.  A high pressure salesperson is a red-flag, as it is important to clearly understand what you are signing and to have any questions thoroughly answered.  Working with a reputable lender is critical when making such a major decision as obtaining a reverse mortgage.  Learn more about reverse mortgage scams here.

What Happens if the Borrower Moves Into a Senior Care Facility or Something Similar?

A reverse mortgage becomes due and payable when the last borrower moves out of his or her home permanently. For instance, moving into a senior care facility, selling the home, passing away or moving in with adult children.  In the case of married couples, if both are on the loan, and only one spouse is no longer permanently in the home, the loan will continue until the remaining spouse leaves.

What Happens to a Reverse Mortgage After the Owners Pass?

When the last homeowner passes, the home will transfer into the estate or a specific person according  to the wishes expressed in the homeowner’s will.  At this time there are three main options: pay off the remainder of the loan, obtain a conventional loan, or sell the home.  For more extensive details about each of these options, read this article on my blog.

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.

Reverse Mortgage FAQ – Part 2

Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Calabasas, Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Reverse Mortgage HECM Janice CohenThis is the second in a three part series of frequently asked questions about Reverse Mortgage.

Can I get a Reverse Mortgage even if I have an existing mortgage?

You may qualify for a reverse mortgage even if you still owe money on an existing mortgage. The existing loan will be paid off first with the reverse mortgage funds, then the remainder of the funds will be given to you.  This scenario would apply as long as the amount of the reverse mortgage is larger than the existing loan.  For example: if you owe $100,000 on an existing mortgage and you qualify for $125,000 under the reverse mortgage program, under these circumstances you would still have $25,000 left over to do with as you wish AND you would no longer have a mortgage payment.

Another scenario would be one where the mortgage on your house is more than what you qualified for under the reverse mortgage program.  In this situation you would have the option to make up the difference with your own funds between the amount of reverse mortgage you qualified for and the existing loan.  This would allow you to no longer have the burden of a monthly mortgage payment.  Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender will ensure the most accurate information regarding how an existing mortgage would affect a reverse mortgage and what will be right for you.

What is Reverse Mortgage Counseling? 

Prior to being approved for a reverse mortgage, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires each borrower to participate in a counseling session with an approved agency. These not-for-profit agencies are funded by the federal government and work closely with both the FHA and lenders to ensure a smooth process.  The goal of this session is not to steer a potential borrower in one direction or another, but to make sure they clearly understand all aspects of a reverse mortgage.  Read more about what to expect during reverse mortgage counseling here.

Why not get a home equity loan instead of a reverse mortgage?

Reverse mortgages do not need to be repaid as long as you remain in your home. This allows for a lot of flexibility if you are on a tight or limited budget, or would like to use your funds from a reverse mortgage for specific purposes.

On the other hand, attaining a home equity loan (or a second mortgage) requires you have sufficient income to cover the debt—plus, you must continue to make monthly payments on both any existing mortgage and the new home equity loan. With a reverse mortgage, you do not make monthly mortgage payments and the federally insured loan protects you from foreclosure.

Do I have to pay taxes on the cash payments I receive?

The cash you receive from a reverse mortgage is not considered income, therefore not subject to individual income taxation. But, since you hold the title to your home, you are still responsible for property taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel, maintenance, and other home-related expenses. Interest on reverse mortgages is not deductible on income tax returns until the loan is paid off in part or whole.

Who is a Reverse Mortgage not right for?

Reverse mortgages are not right for everyone, which makes it even more important that you work with a reputable lender.  A reverse mortgage may not be in your best interest if you intend to leave your home within 2-3 years, if you own multiple homes or investment property, or if you intend to leave your spouse off the loan.  Even if you fall into any of these categories, discuss your situation with a lender before eliminating reverse mortgage as an option.

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.

Reverse Mortgage FAQ Part 1

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutThis is the first in a three part series of frequently asked questions about Reverse Mortgage.

Are There Any Special Requirements to Get a Reverse Mortgage?

In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must own your home, be at least 62 years old, have some equity in your home, and meet the income and credit requirements.

How Much Money Can I Get?

In general, the older you are (or the youngest borrower in the case of married couples) and the more valuable your home, the more money you can get.  Other factors also come into play, such as: the appraised home value, interest rates, and the amount of equity in your home.

Does My Home Qualify?

Eligible properties include single-family homes, 2-4 unit properties, modular homes, condominiums, and townhouses.  This home must also be your primary residence.

What are My Options to Receive the Funds?

Funds from a reverse mortgage can be received all at once as a lump sum, as fixed monthly payments for a set term or for as long as you live in the home, as a line of credit which allows you to draw on the loan proceeds at any time, wrapped into the purchase of a home, or a combination of all these.

How Can I Use the Proceeds from a Reverse Mortgage?

Their are no restrictions as to how the proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be used.  Whether it is to supplement or protect retirement income, to cover your living expenses, to repair/modify your home, to pay for medical expenses, pay off existing debts, or simply do something nice for yourself or others, no one can tell you how you must spend your money.

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.

What Will I Be Responsible For After I Get A Reverse Mortgage?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutReverse Mortgages have helped millions of seniors live more plentiful lives as they age.  Homeowners and their spouses over the age of 62 are eligible for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), but although they will NOT have a monthly mortgage payment to pay, they are still responsible for some financial obligations regarding the home.  These include:

Property Taxes:

Just as with a conventional home loan, a reverse mortgage homeowner is always responsible for paying their property taxes.  Your particular county or city may have a program that allows you to defer a portion of your property tax.  Homeowners can contact their county human services office for more information.

Homeowners Insurance:

Just as with any conventional home loan, reverse mortgage holders are required to purchase and maintain homeowners insurance.  This yearly expense is something that should be discussed with your lender and a reverse mortgage counselor to ensure the homeowner understands their options and a plan is put in place to keep insurance current.

Home Maintenance: 

The homeowner or their family will be responsible for continuing to maintain and upkeep the home.  Because a reverse mortgage uses the equity available in the home to make it’s monthly mortgage payments, if major repairs are needed the homeowners will not be eligible for a home equity loan or similar.  It’s important to keep this in mind, especially when homeowners elect to receive their reverse mortgage funds in one lump sum.  Again, discussing this with your lender can help ensure you have planned to have funds available should a major home repair be needed.

Ultimately, understanding and planning for these expenses is key to being prepared in the years to come.  Working with and asking questions of a reputable reverse mortgage lender, as well as a reverse mortgage counselor, can help alleviate any concerns a homeowner may have.

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.

7 Worst HECM hReverse Mortgage Myths

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutReverse Mortgage was created to give our retiring generation a way to keep their homes and manage the ever increasing costs of life after working long and hard over the years. It is an option that could be just right for you. All applicants are required to participate in HUD approved counseling to ensure all their questions and concerns are addressed. Working with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist will also be critical in the process, as this person should be your advocate – even telling you when a reverse mortgage may be wrong for you.

In the meantime, it’s important to unravel the myths floating around about what a reverse mortgage is and what it does.  Here are a few myth busting facts:

 Myth #1: Reverse mortgages are only for poor people.

Fact: Many retirees use reverse mortgage as a way to fulfill their desires for retirement, or to help grandchildren with college, or even to move into their dream home.

Myth #2: It’s free money.

Fact: It is a loan specialized for those 62 years old and older that does not need to be paid back until the last borrower passes away or leaves the home permanently.  If anyone attempts to market a reverse mortgage as “free money”, beware as it is likely a scam.

Myth #3: You lose your home.

Fact: The title of your home stays in your hands.  You are always the owner.

Myth #4: It is not a safe program.

Fact: Reverse mortgages are FHA insured and fully guaranteed – regardless of how you receive the payout.

Myth #5: My equity is safe if I don’t use a reverse mortgage right now.

Fact: Your equity is dependent upon the housing market, which is always changing.  Utilizing a reverse mortgage line of credit is a great way to guarantee your reverse mortgage equity is not affected by housing booms and busts.

Myth #6: I must be a homeowner or use my current home to obtain a reverse mortgage.

Fact: Reverse mortgages can be used to purchase a home, even if you have never owned a home before.

Myth #7:  If I’m married, my spouse will lose the home if I pass away.

Fact:  Married couples can both be on the loan if both are 62 or older.  There are many ways to ensure both spouses are not at risk.

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.

Reverse Mortgage Changes Coming Oct 2, 2017

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutLast week the FHA announced some important changes to HECM reverse mortgages which will go into effect October 2, 2017. If you already have a loan in place or have signed an application by this date, this will not impact you. But if you are still in the thinking stage, you should consider the possible financial impact on you.

Here’s a run-down of the changes…

There will be a reduction on how much you can borrow. Remember, how much you borrow is based on an FHA formula that also includes your appraised home value, the current interest rate and your age.

The FHA upfront mortgage insurance fee, which is charged at closing, will increase for most borrowers. BUT the FHA ongoing mortgage insurance premium will be reduced. This is very good news. What HUD says about this reduction: “…this reduction preserves more equity for borrowers over time by slowing how quickly the loan balance grows”.

The FHA made these changes to help address both concerns and costs to make the reverse mortgage process less expensive and more efficient for the borrower.

For some people, there is a definite advantage to getting a loan application in before the changes. For others, delaying until October may be the best plan. I am more than happy to review how these changes could impact your personal situation.

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.