Reverse Mortgages: The Facts

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In a reverse mortgage (also called a home equity conversion loan), borrowers of a certain age may use home equity for living expenses without having to sell their homes. Deciding how you would like to be paid: by a monthly amount, a line of credit, or a lump sum, you can get a loan amount determined by your equity. Paying back your loan isn't required until after the borrower puts his home up for sale, moves (such as into a care facility) or passes away. You or an estate representative has to pay back the reverse mortgage amount, interest, and other finance fees after your home is sold, or you no longer live in it.

Who can Participate?

Typically, reverse mortgages require you to be at least 62 years old, have a low or zero balance in a mortgage, and use the home as your principal residence. You're also required to stay current on all property taxes/insurance, and keep the home maintained.

Homeowners who live on a fixed income and have a need for additional money may find reverse mortgages advantageous for their circumstance. Interest rates may be fixed or adjustable and the funds are nontaxable and don't interfere with Medicare or Social Security benefits. The lender also can't take the property away if you live past the loan term, nor may you be forced to sell your home to repay your loan even if the balance grows to exceed current property value. 

Please Note: This material is not from HUD or FHA and has not been approved by HUD or a government agency.

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