For many older homeowners, a reverse mortgage is a feasible option to living within a budget, without the constraints and worry of excessive financial distress. In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the individual must own their home, be at least 62 years old, and have some equity in the home. Funds from a reverse mortgage can be accessed in various ways including a line of credit, monthly installments, a lump sum, and they can even be used to purchase a new home. In general, the older the borrower (or the youngest borrower in the case of married couples) and the more valuable the home, the more money available. Other factors also come into play, such as: the appraised home value, interest rates, and the amount of equity in the home. Once a basic understanding of how a reverse mortgage works, the next step is finding a lender.
Where to find a lender?
Reverse mortgages are marketed in every possible way. Television, radio, mailers, internet, etc. Although not all of these methods ensure trouble, some of them can be scams. When seeking a reverse mortgage lender, it’s important to speak with people you trust. Ask around at your bank or financial institution. Speak with a financial or retirement advisor. Talk with neighbors or friends who have utilized a reverse mortgage. Seek information from the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. Seek out other resources that may be available in your community.
What to look for in a reverse mortgage lender?
Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender is critical. The reverse mortgage industry is riddled with scams and flashy sales. It can be risky to get involved with a lender who does not offer all the details or who is just looking to make a “quick sell”. A reputable lender will have strong connections in the community, working closely with a network of professional organizations, and be will to take their time with you.
Accreditations and ratings?
Seek out a lender that is a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). Members of the NRMLA must conform to a strict code of lending ethic. Look for a lender that is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where you can also learn of any complaints against the company.
Follow your gut.
When it comes down to it, always follow your gut. Just because a lender may meet all this criteria doesn’t mean they will be right for you. If you do not feel comfortable or feel your questions are not being adequately answered, there is nothing wrong with working with someone else.
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.