Category: Retirement

What Retirees Want In Housing

If you find yourself yearning for a retirement of comfort in your own home in a community you love, you are definitely not alone.  Here are some pretty telling facts and statistics surrounding the desires of older adults in the U.S..

According to research by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP):

  • Nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age.
  • Even if they begin to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, 82% would prefer to stay in their homes.
  • Most pre-retirees expect they will be able to live independently during retirement; only 14% expect they will need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care at any point during their retirement.
  • Thinking about parents’ getting older is on the minds of 88% of adult children.
  •  75% of adult children and 69 % of parents think about the parents’ ability to live independently as they get older
  •  AARP identified housing features that seniors find are especially important in the later years: – Safety features such as non-slip floor surfaces (80 percent)– Bathroom aides such as grab bars (79 percent)– A personal alert system that allows people to call for help in emergencies (79 percent)– Entrance without steps (77 percent)

    – Wider doorways (65 percent)

    – Lever-handled doorknobs (54 percent)

    – Higher electrical outlets (46 percent)

    – Lower electrical switches (38 percent)

From the National Assocation of Home Builders:

  • 75% of remodelers report an increase in inquiries related to aging in place.
  • The NAHB predicts that aging in place remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion.  That’s about 10 percent of the $214 billion home improvement industry.

According to the MetLife Mature Marketing Institute:

  • 91% of pre-retirees age 50 to 65 responded that they want to live in their own homes in retirement.  Of that group, 49% want to stay in their current homes, and 38% want to move to new homes

Whether it’s the desire to simply stay put through retirement, or to make modifications to the home, or even to purchase a new home, a reverse mortgage is a flexible tool to help finance any of these.  

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners 62 and over, including married couples, with many protections in place to ensure borrowers are adequately educated before using this option, such as required third-party counseling.  Reverse mortgages are gaining in popularity among retirees from all walks of life.  A reverse mortgage for purchase option is available for those looking to purchase a new residence.

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.

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.

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

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutA very common concern among seniors and 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 this additional income.   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, or a reverse line of credit and 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.

3 Things to Do with a Reverse Mortgage in Connecticut

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutOne of the best parts of a reverse mortgage is the borrower(s) can do anything they’d like with the funds – while also living mortgage payment free.  In Connecticut, seniors are more active than ever, whether it be traveling, home improvements, or visiting with family and grandchildren often.

Here are 3 fulfilling ways seniors are using their reverse mortgage funds:

Take that trip they always dreamed of – After years of working hard, saving for retirement, and raising a family, some reverse mortgage borrowers are using a portion of their funds to take the bucket list vacation they’ve always dreamed of.  This option becomes less probable as they age and makes for a fantastic celebration by the more active seniors.

Visit with loved ones – Whether it’s a sister who hasn’t visited in 10 years, or children and grandchildren, or long lost friends, using reverse mortgage funds to visit with loved ones is a very common today.  Travel can be expensive and it holds us back far too often from the visits that mean the most to us, especially as we age.

Make home repairs or upgrades – After a life of caring for others, senior homeowners often find parts of their home may have been neglected.  When using a reverse mortgage to tap into home equity without a subsequent loan payment borrowers often make those repairs or upgrades they have been longing for.  Whether it’s a sunroom addition or a kitchen remodel, or just dutiful repairs, this is never a bad option.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners 62 and over.  This FHA insured loan offers funds through a lump sum, monthly installments, or a line of credit and eliminates monthly mortgage payments.  With many protections in place to ensure borrowers are adequately educated before using this option, such as required third-party counseling, reverse mortgages are gaining in popularity among retirees from all walks of life.  And a reverse mortgage for purchase option is available for those looking to purchase a new residence.

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.

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.

Why Society is Reversing Their Thinking on HECM Reverse Mortgages

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutSince the HECM reverse mortgage industry began seeing changes in 2015 and again, earlier this month, financial advisers, retirement planners, and reverse mortgage specialists are collaborating more than ever before.  In an effort to ensure these changes are are thoroughly understood and appropriate solutions are offered to clients, a strong relationship between professionals is vitally important.

Because of these newly developed relationships, it appears a wonderful shift is taking place.  HECM reverse mortgage, once stereotyped as a product for poverty stricken widows or the like, is now being realized as a product of opportunity.  More and more we’re seeing affluent and middle class retirees utilizing this option to provide financial stability and financial freedom throughout retirement.  The industry has only begun to scratch the surface of those who would benefit or will discover the possibilities when tying a reverse mortgage into their retirement plans.

This paradigm shift will likely increase knowledge across the board regarding both traditional reverse mortgage loans and the reverse mortgage for purchase program.  Both products are available for seniors 62 and over.

If you have any questions regarding the changes that have taken place surrounding the reverse mortgage industry in Connecticut, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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.

Why Your Retirement Will Be Different Than Your Parents

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutDecades ago, when our parents were working and raising a family, they looked at retirement as the true golden years.  It would be a time when they stopped working and lived off the fruits of their savings and investments.  Retirement planners used a three-legged-stool strategy back then.  The make up of this stool was Social Security, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and personal savings.  But somewhere between their retirement and now this stool became unbalanced – and now today’s retirees are needing to compensate for it.  But how?

First, it’s important to remember that these three components of retirement are still an integral part of retirement success, which is why it should be considered how they can be best utilized as well as protected.  But it’s also important to consider what else has changed – things like life expectancy, a more active retirement, and a move toward non-traditional and even extravagant retirement goals.   Why not have it all?  And what are the options to achieve it?

Part-Time Work: It’s not uncommon for retirees to utilize a phased retirement strategy, where they can work and begin receiving benefits.  In addition to the obvious point of this – additional income – working can help to delay Social Security benefits, as well as keep older people engaged in the community.  

Reverse Mortgage: For those with substantial equity in their homes, a reverse mortgage can be an excellent way to balance out that stool analogy with a fourth leg, or simply get the boost retirees need to live that extravagant retirement life they’ve been dreaming of.  Funds are available via a line of credit, monthly installments, a lump sum, and even to purchase home (or a combination).  Because the income is not taxed, it can be used strategically with investments, or used to delay Social Security benefits.  Another common function is a stand-by strategy that taps the line of credit now, but only uses it during bear markets to protect investments.  These FHA backed reverse mortgages do not incur any mortgage or loan payments, although borrowers must keep up with homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and other associated costs.  In addition to living mortgage payment free, they can actually eliminate any existing mortgage or HELOC payments, and the loan is not payable until the last borrower passes away or permanently leaves the home.  

Downsizing and HELOC’s:  When considering how to make ends meet during retirement, downsizing is often part of the conversation.  Selling the home and moving to smaller one, then using any additional equity as a retirement funding source.  For anyone considering this, I’d suggest looking at the details of a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase prior to making a final decision.  A Reverse Mortgage for Purchase option can allow buyers to get more house for their money, while still having cash to stash away for retirement. 

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is another common solution.  When going this route versus a reverse mortgage, ensure the new monthly payment will not cause damage down the road if other needs arise, like medical care.  

Reverse mortgages certainly won’t be right for everyone, but for many they can be used creatively to aid in funding today’s retirement that is so different than what we are used 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.