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Why are you so afraid of reverse mortgages?

March 28, 2010

Do not be afraid of reverse mortgagesI had a call the other day from a daughter who was inquiring about helping her mom who owns her home but is currently in a nursing home.  When I mentioned “reverse mortgage” she stated, “I don’t want her to get a reverse mortgage.”  Before I could even get a better understanding of the circumstances to see if a reverse mortgage was even an option the conversation ended.  With her mind already made up that reverse mortgages “are bad” she obviously didn’t even want the facts.

When a home health care aid, financial advisor, attorney or other professional suggest a reverse mortgage they often can see the “wall” go up and the resistance along with the response, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that.”

Comments on articles and Blogs or in discussions show lack of information and belief of the misinformation about reverse mortgages.  As I have often stated and posted in my Blog, there are many misconceptions about reverse mortgages.  So why are you judging them and afraid to get the facts from an expert?

I’ve had seniors tell me that their friends have said they shouldn’t do a reverse mortgage.  When I’ve asked them “Why?” the response I receive is “We’ve heard bad things about them.”  “They are a scam.”  But when I ask what those were or why they think this, they have no response – no real documentation or knowledge of what is bad about reverse mortgages or why they think they are a scam.  It is all based on fear and misinformation.

Are you afraid to go to the doctor when treatment can make a difference for a health condition?  Are you afraid to go to an accountant or attorney when they can help your circumstances?  Why are you afraid of a reverse mortgage when it could make a difference in your life?

Edna is Happy MN Revere Mortgage BorrowerEdna explains her experience with the reverse mortgage with this statement:  “After retiring I found that my income was too little for the active life I was used to, with trips to family, and a modest vacation each year.  But bills were piling up and I needed a real solution if I was to stay in my home!  I turned to Beth Paterson for information and was very pleased to learn there were still good choices for my situation and I could stay in my pleasant home avoiding a move!  Beth your help was great!  My children thank you for the time you took to explain things for them as well. I have my dignity and security back again.  What a relief!

Maybe your fear is based on the unknown.  Maybe it’s based on misstatements you’ve heard.  You don’t have to be afraid of reverse mortgages!  Let’s look at the facts to ease your fears:

  • A reverse mortgage is a mortgage just like any loan against the home but it has special terms for seniors 62 and older.
  • The lender or bank does NOT own the home YOU OWN THE HOME, you keep the title!
  • There are no income or credit score requirements to qualify.
  • No monthly payments required.
  • There is no limitation on how the funds can be used.
  • More options – Funds can be received in monthly payments structured as needed, line of credit (with a growth rate), lump sum, or a combination of these.
  • Social Security and Medicare are not affected because it is a loan, not considered income.
  • Medicaid (Medical in Minnesota) can still be received with the reverse mortgage.
  • Borrowers can stay in the home as long as it is their primary residence or in the case of a couple as long as one borrower is still in the home as their primary residence.  The due date on the mortgage is the youngest borrower’s 150th birthday.
  • At the time of sale if the home is sold for more than the loan balance, the borrower(s) or their heirs receive the difference.  The bank does NOT keep the difference!
  • The loan is non-recourse which means there is no personal liability to the borrower or their heirs if they are not retaining ownership.  So borrowers or their heirs don’t have to come up with the difference if the loan balance is higher than what the home is be sold for as long as they are not retaining ownership.  Borrowers are not leaving a debt to their children.
  • Just like any mortgage, borrowers still have the title and are responsible for property taxes and insurance, association dues (if applicable), maintaining the property and abiding by the terms of the loan.
  • A reverse mortgage is a mortgage just like any other mortgage where the borrower is using the equity of their home to meet their needs and desires now.
  • As borrowers use the funds/equity and are not making monthly payments the loan balance increases meaning because they used the money now, there will be less available when the loan is being repaid.  (With a conventional mortgage one is using the equity but making monthly payments which repays the interest and a portion of the principal each month.)
  • Fees are regulated and only HUD allowed fees are permitted with no mark-ups or junk fees.  Even though many times they are considered expensive or high they compare to conventional loans, in fact the difference comes down to the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium.  You can see a comparison of the costs in my article, “Reverse Mortgage Costs – High or Mythical?”
  • FHA offers and insures through HUD the majority of reverse mortgages known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM, making it the most highly regulated mortgage available.
  • HUD insuring the reverse mortgage provides advantages including:
    • Guaranteeing the funds are available for you.
    • Guaranteeing the lender against default or shortfalls which means the interest rates are lower (currently under 4% on the adjustable rate; 5.56% on the fixed) compared to other mortgages.
    • Providing a line of credit growth rate (available only with reverse mortgages).
    • Insuring as a reverse mortgage it is a non-recourse (no personal liability) loan.
  • The HECMs are highly protected.  See my Blog article “You Need To know Reverse Mortgage Borrowers Are Highly Protected.”

No other loan has as many advantages, protections or benefits to seniors like the reverse mortgage! So are why are you so afraid of reverse mortgages?

Corine, a happy MN Reverse Mortgage BorrowerAbout her reverse mortgage, Corine says, “Having a reverse mortgage has taken some of the fear away that I had for the future.  I have more means to meet future needs. My experience with the reverse mortgage was most positive.  Beth was wonderful and most informative.  Very patient and steadfast.  I felt I could really trust her to safe guard my interests.”

Kay has this to say about her reverse mortgage, “Steve was extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the whole process.  I never felt pressured to make the decision by I am very glad I did it, particularly since the volatility of the stock market pretty much wiped out my IRAs! Thank you so very much.”

If you still have your fears of reverse mortgages after seeing the facts and testimonies of those who have benefited from them, contact us so we can address your concerns and provide you with the facts.  You shouldn’t have a fear about reverse mortgages.

Everyone’s situation is different and as you do with an accountant or attorney you discuss your situation and get the facts and potential solutions.  As a type of home equity mortgage with special terms for seniors, the facts of reverse mortgages should be received from a reverse mortgage expert to determine if it is right for your situation.  At least accept the fact that it could be an option and don’t be afraid of them.  A reverse mortgage may just improve your life during your retirement as they have done for hundreds of thousands of seniors.

To help overcome your fears, read more stories on how reverse mortgages made a difference for those who did one:

Related articles:

© 2010 Beth Paterson 651-762-9648
17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 4:07 pm

    Great post about reverse mortgages Beth. The loan sounds too good to be true–but isn’t!

    I found you on Mortgage News Daily if you are wondering.

    • April 8, 2010 11:40 pm

      Thanks, Alex! You’re right people initially think they sound to good to be true but those who have done them realize they aren’t too good to be true – they are true. I did another blog post outlining all the protections.

      And thanks for letting me know how you found me. 🙂


  2. April 22, 2010 2:24 am

    There is also a slightly misleading comment from an AARP official to the effect that the decision to take one of these loans should be delayed as long as possible. While it is true that you shouldn’t be taking out a loan if you don’t need the money, you would certainly not delay taking out the loan if you are in a situation where you can’t afford your medication and other necessary expenses.

  3. March 26, 2012 4:13 pm

    We wonder the same thing in Utah. People here think getting a reverse mortgage is like asking for some sort of handout. Once they realize exactly what this program is and what it can do to better their situation, they love it. It is just hard to get them to that point with so many misconceptions.

  4. December 18, 2012 2:38 pm

    It’s a nice thought, but the truth about reverse mortgages is far from ideal. In fact, there are a few reasons to avoid getting a reverse mortgage as part of your retirement plan.


  1. Reverse Mortgage Helps Minnesota Senior To Be Prepared for Future « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  2. Why Be Embarrassed To Do A Reverse Mortgage? « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  3. Using The Reverse Mortgage As A Tool To Strategically Manage One’s Assets « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  4. A Minnesota Reverse Mortgage Borrower Speaks Out On The Benefits With Her Reverse Mortgage « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  5. Reverse Mortgage Borrowers’ Responsibilities… or Consequences « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  6. My Reverse Mortgage Funds Are Used… Now What? « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  7. How Do We Determine If A Reverse Mortgage Is Not Right For Us? « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  8. Info On Reverse Mortgages
  9. Why Are People So Resistant to Reverse Mortgages? « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  10. Senior Loses Home After Listening to “Reverse Mortgages Are Bad” Advice « Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog
  11. A Minnesota Reverse Mortgage Borrower Speaks Out On The Benefits With Her Reverse Mortgage | Minnesota Reverse Mortgages SIDAC
  12. Using The Reverse Mortgage As A Tool To Strategically Manage One’s Assets | Minnesota Reverse Mortgages SIDAC

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