A reverse mortgage is a way to turn a portion of the equity in your home into cash which is usually tax free* without having to make monthly mortgage payments. The loan is taken against a senior’s home equity. As long as all loan terms are met, the loan becomes repayable when the last borrower leaves the home. As part of the loan, the borrower is required to continue paying property taxes and insurance, and HOA fees, if applicable; the home must also be maintained. Reverse mortgage loans can potentially help seniors manage their increasing living expenses.
*This information does not constitute tax advice. Please consult a tax advisor regarding your specific situation.
Reverse Mortgage Eligibility
- Borrower(s) must be 62 years or older
- Must be homeowner and either own home outright or have significant equity; must live in home as primary residence (live there 6+ months per year)
- Property must be a single-family home, 2- to 4-unit dwelling or FHA-approved condo
- Must meet minimal credit and property requirements
- Must receive reverse mortgage counseling from a HUD-approved counseling agency
- Must not be delinquent on any federal debt
- For a home purchase, you must have an adequate down payment for your new home or a gift from a family member
Potential Advantages of a Reverse Mortgage
Receive money from your home equity which is usually tax free.*
A reverse mortgage makes loan proceed payments to you from a portion of your accumulated home equity, which may enhance and extend your cash flow. You can receive the loan proceeds in a lump sum, line of credit, monthly payment or a combination of all three. However, if you choose a line of credit, you may have the option of paying down the line if you want to have less cash and increase your equity.
* This information does not constitute tax advice or financial planning advice. Please consult a tax advisor for tax advice and a financial planner regarding enhancements to retirement plans.
Eliminate your monthly mortgage payment.
With a reverse mortgage, you will not be required to make a monthly payment during your lifetime as long as you live in your home, pay taxes and insurance, and maintain the home (and pay HOA fees, if applicable).
Never owe more than what the home is worth.*
When you permanently move out of your home, whether you sell it or pass away, neither your estate nor your heirs are responsible to pay the deficit if the balance owed on your reverse mortgage exceeds the home value. If your heirs want to keep your home, they can purchase it for 95% of the current appraised value.
*There are some circumstances that will cause the loan to mature and the balance to become due and payable. Borrower is still responsible for paying property taxes, insurance and maintenance (and HOA fees, if applicable). Credit is subject to age, property and some limited debt qualifications. Program rates, fees, terms and conditions are not available in all states and subject to change.
Bridge the Medicare gap from age 62 to 65.
Many seniors delay retirement until they are 65, because they cannot afford to pay for their health insurance before Medicare kicks in. By utilizing proceeds from a reverse mortgage, you can avoid paying income tax on money drawn from your IRA or other accounts to help keep your retirement funding plan* in place without diminishing your current assets.
*This information does not constitute tax or financial planning advice. Please consult and/or a financial planner regarding your specific situation.
Pay for long-term care expenses.
With the proceeds from a reverse mortgage, you could purchase long-term care insurance to handle these expenses without losing your home in the process.
Types of Reverse Mortgages
Proprietary Reverse Mortgages
Private loans backed by the companies that develop them.
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs)
Federally-insured reverse mortgages backed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HECM loans enable you to withdraw a portion of your home’s equity and can be used for any purpose. How much you can borrow with a HECM or proprietary reverse mortgage depends on several factors, including:
- your age
- the type of reverse mortgage you select
- the appraised value of your home
- current interest rates, and
- a financial assessment of your willingness and ability to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (H4P)
An H4P (a type of HECM backed by the FHA) enables senior homebuyers to purchase a new primary residence that better suits their needs and obtain a reverse mortgage in one transaction. You can use an H4P if you are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property you are purchasing. This type of HECM reverse mortgage, if it is offered in your area, may allow you to:
- Build a new customized home
- Relocate closer to friends and family members
- Purchase a home in senior housing community
- Downsize to a smaller, easier-to-maintain home
- Purchase a primary residence suitable for your current needs
- Move into a new home that’s easily accessible with modern amenities
NOTE: H4Ps might not be available in all areas.