The Reverse Mortgage... What The Heck Is It Anyway?

By: Don Adams

Are you 62 or older and own your own home? Then, you probably qualify for a reverse mortgage.

But, what the heck is it anyway? Well, if you still have a conventional mortgage ... or had one until you burned your loan papers ... this is simply the reverse of what you have or had.

A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in your home. But unlike a typical home equity loan, you never have to make loan payments during the term of the loan.

The loan is not due and payable until you no longer occupies the home as a principal residence. This usually means until you sell the home, move out permanently or die.

For many seniors, home equity is their largest asset. The reverse mortgage allows them to get a lump sum or fixed monthly payments to supplement their lifestyle, make home improvements, pay for long term care or simply pay off existing debts to free up more cash flow.

The amount of money you get from a reverse mortgage depends on your age at the time you apply for the loan, the type of reverse mortgage you choose, the value of your home, current interest rates and, sometimes, where you reside.

The costs associated with a reverse mortgage are similar to those with a conventional mortgage.

This includes the origination fee, appraisal, inspection fees, title search and policy, mortgage insurance and other normal closing costs... all of which can be financed as part of the reverse mortgage loan.

All reverse mortagages are non-recourse loans. This means you can never owe (be obligated for) more than the value of your home regardless of the loan balance. The title remains in your name and the lender is only entitled to the amount of the loan balance.

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage do not affect your social security or Medicare benefits.

If you still have a balance on your conventional loanArticle Submission, it must be paid off as part of the application process for the reverse mortgage. This of course would eliminate your current monthly payment.

The most well-known and widely available reverse mortgage is the federally-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). This loan is back by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and can be used for any purpose. It is generally offered by mortgage companies or banks.

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