Homeowners with substantial home equity who are 62 years of age or older may borrow against the value of their house and get cash in the form of a lump sum, fixed monthly payment or line of credit. Unlike a forward mortgage, which is used to buy a house, a reverse mortgage spares the homeowner from loan payments.

Rather, upon the borrower’s death, permanent relocation, or property sale, the whole loan amount becomes due and payable. Lenders are required by federal law to structure deals such that the loan amount is not more than the value of the house.

And that, should the loan sum surpass the value of the house, the borrower or the borrower’s estate is not responsible for the difference. This might happen if the borrower lives a long time or if the home’s market value drops.

Equity in monetary terms

Seniors whose home value determines their net worth in major part may be able to get much-needed cash using reverse mortgages. Conversely, these loans may be impossibly costly, intricate, and prone to deception.

We will go over the workings of reverse mortgages and how to stay away from typical issues in this article so you can decide with knowledge whether one is right for you or your parents.

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association reports that in the first quarter of 2019, home equity for homeowners 62 years of age and over was $7.14 trillion. The statistic, which shows how important a source of wealth home equity is for those in retirement age, is the highest it has been since the study began in 2000.

Only when a home is borrowed against or sold and shrunk is its equity usable wealth. That is when reverse mortgages might be useful, especially for retirees with modest incomes and little other assets.

The Building Blocks of a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages let the lender pay the homeowner rather of the other way around. The homeowner pays only interest on the income received and has a choice of receiving these payments in a number of ways .

The homeowner is spared from paying the interest up front since it is included into the loan amount. The home owner still owns the property. The homeowner’s debt increases and their house equity decreases throughout the term of the loan.

Reverse mortgages utilise the house as security, same as forward mortgages do. The lender is paid back the principle, interest, mortgage insurance, and fees on a reverse mortgage when a homeowner sells their property or dies.

Should the homeowner be still living, any proceeds from the sale beyond the amount borrowed are given to them; if not, they are given to their estate. Rarely will the heirs decide to keep the home by paying off the debt.

Overview of Reverse Mortgage Types

One may divide reverse mortgages into three groups. Home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs) are the most often used kind of mortgages. Lenders most often provide HECMs, or reverse mortgages, on properties worth less than $765,000.

It is the most often occurring kind, hence it is the one this page will cover. You could decide to look into a jumbo reverse mortgage, often referred to as a proprietary reverse mortgage, if the value of your home is higher.

You have six choices when you receive a reverse mortgage on how to get the proceeds:

You’ll receive paid the whole amount in one single sum when your loan expires. A fixed interest rate is included in this option alone. Variable interest rates apply to the other five.

Annuity payments of principle and interest made monthly: The lender will make regular payments to the borrower as long as at least one of them lives in the property as their permanent home. Many times, this is called a tenure strategy.

Term payments refer to the lender giving the borrower equal monthly payments for a certain period of time, say 10 years.

When needed, a line of credit enables the homeowner to take out loans. On the sums borrowed from the credit line, the homeowner bears full responsibility for the interest.

Principle plus a credit line plus monthly payments equal: For as long as a minimum of one borrower calls the property their main home, the lender promises monthly payments. Anytime the borrower needs more money, they may take out a credit line.

Term payments including a credit line: The borrower receives equal monthly payments from the lender for a certain period of time, say 10 years. The borrower may draw from the line of credit if they need more money during or after the loan term.

Does a Reverse Mortgage Make Sense for You?

Reverse mortgages may resemble home equity loans or lines of credit (HELOCs) quite a bit. Like one of these loans, a reverse mortgage may, in fact, provide you with a lump sum or a line of credit that you can use as needed, contingent upon the market value of your house and the amount of your property you have paid down.

Nevertheless, if you continue to live in the property as your primary residence, you won’t have to make loan payments and you don’t need to have a good credit score or a consistent income to qualify.

For seniors who want to access home equity without selling the property but cannot qualify for a home equity loan or refinancing because of limited cash flow or poor credit, a reverse mortgage is the only option.