Tag: reverse mortgage scams

Do You Need A Connecticut Elder Law Attorney?

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutElder law is a relatively unknown segment of law and is often overlooked when seeking legal solutions.  But for some older individuals and their families an elder law attorney may be exactly what they need. 

Elder law is very broad and includes things like estate planning, probate, guardianship, real estate, nursing home neglect and a dozen other areas of law that are nearly exclusive to the senior citizens and the elderly. Typically one lawyer will not have expertise in every area, but will instead work with a network of attorneys who can supplement in specific areas when needed and vice versa.  Also, keep in mind just because an individual is older does not mean they need an elder law attorney.  Elder law is focused on legal problems specific to the older demographic.  Concerns with other areas of law may best be handled by attorneys dedicated to those areas.

An elder law attorney should be educated and informed on HECM reverse mortgages.  It is common for them to receive questions from clients, former clients, and their families about reverse mortgage when establishing estate plans or when they are considering a reverse mortgage for the first time.  Although reverse mortgages can be an excellent and safe tool for many homeowners, they are not for everyone and are most effective when used as part of a financial and/or estate plan.  They can also help with avoiding reverse mortgage scams.

Here are a few questions to ask when seeking out a an elder law attorney:

  • How long has the attorney been practicing?
  • What percentage of the attorney’s practice is devoted to elder law?
  • Does his or her practice emphasize a particular area of elder law? (for instance, guardianship or other specific work)
  • How much elder law training has the attorney had, and from what organizations?
  • Is the attorney a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys?
  • Will the attorney be able to work within your time limitations?
  • In addition to a legal network, an elder law attorney should be familiar with the “elder network”, a network of public and private community resources to assist seniors in various capacities.  This should include a reputable reverse mortgage advisor.

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 to Find a Reputable Reverse Mortgage Lender in Connecticut

reverse mortgage advisor connecticutFor 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.

 

BEWARE: Reverse Mortgage Scams

Like all businesses, there are representatives that are doing an honest job offering themselves for service and help. And unfortunately there are others seeking their own personal advantage. This applies even to reverse mortgages, as the elderly are often prey to scams. Do not be naive and assume that because the program is there to help, that all the offers are true to the reason the program exists.

Having a team that consists of a reputable reverse mortgage advisor and a third party counselor, in addition to friends and family, is a big step to ensuring you are doing everything right.  There are some easy red flags to look for.  

Here are five giveaways of a reverse mortgage scam:

They ask for money up front

Once you submit an application to a reverse mortgage lender it is fairly standard for them to ask for a deposit for the appraisal. This is usually about $300.00 dollars, but can vary slightly. If you are asked to give anything else, stop. Very little money is required before the closing of the loan. Seek advice before moving forward and do not let yourself be pressured.

They will offer foreclosure assistance

Credible reverse mortgage lenders will not seek out distressed homeowners to offer foreclosure help.

They will show unethical marketing practices

There is a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that holds all reverse mortgage lenders accountable. If a lender is using public means such as community centers, churches, television or even door to door marketing to pique your interest- beware!

They employ high pressure sales tactics

If you feel uncomfortable or pressured when meeting with your advisor or lender, stop. If your questions are not being addressed or the lender is pushing you to a quick decision, you are still in the driver’s seat and it is time to stop and reevaluate working with them.

They lack credibility and reputation

If your reverse mortgage advisor is credible, they will have professional associates such as the Better Business Bureau, the FDIC and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association behind them.

Reverse mortgage is an individualized, specialized loan for those 62 and over that allows older homeowners 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 creatively to suit 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.