Frequently Asked Questions
Reverse Mortgage Questions
How long does the reverse mortgage process take?
The whole process to obtain a reverse mortgage takes approximately two to four weeks. To learn more about the different steps of reverse mortgage check out Reverse Mortgage Steps.
What is the interest rate on my loan going to be?
This will depend on who you chose for your lender, what the current Treasury Rate is, and whether you chose a monthly-adjustable, annually-adjustable, or fixed interest rate. You will discuss all of this with your loan officer, and they will be able to tell you what the different rates would be for your loan be- fore you make your decision.
Will I be able to sell my home?
You are still going to be considered the owner of your home and as such you will be able to sell it whenever you would like. Be aware, however that if you chose to sell your home, you will be required to repay the Reverse Mortgage loan when the name on the home changes from your own to a different name. Remember that the non-recourse clause states that your Reverse Mortgage balance can never be more than your home is worth, meaning that when you sell your home you should make enough on the sale to pay off the loan, but how much you will have leftover will depend on how much you were able to sell your home for, and how high your loan balance was at the time of the sale.
Can I make payments on the loan or pay it off early?
Of course you will be able to make payments on the loan if you wanted to. You would essentially be paying off whatever balance you have accrued likely when you pay off your loan fees. You will be able to decide whether you want the fees of the loan to come out of the proceeds so if you do this you know you will have at least a balance of your total loan costs, and whatever else you have taken out of the total proceeds. For example, if you paid off your say $8,000 loan fees and you’ve also taken $13,000 for medical bills your balance due will be $21,000 so you will be able to make payments on that at any point that you would like.
If you decide to make payments, and you get to the point where you are going to be paying off the full balance of the loan, or you otherwise become able to pay off the loan and would like to do so you may pay it off without incurring any type of prepayment penalty.
Can I own a second or vacation home?
You can own as many other homes as you would like to. The only condition when thinking about your Reverse Mortgage will be that you continue to primarily reside in the home you have the Reverse Mortgage on, meaning as long as you are not gone from that home for 12 months consecutively, you will be fine. That is the only issue to consider when discussing any other properties that you own, or are considering.
Can I rent out a room of my home?
Yes. As long as you are residing in the home as well, and are not gone for 12 months in a row (see above) you are welcome to rent out a room. If the dwelling is a split-level or multi-family home, the only requirement is that you maintain permanent residence in one of the units (there may not be more than 4 units to qualify for a Reverse Mortgage).
Do I have to borrow the maximum amount that I qualify for, or can I take less?
Of course you can take less! Simply tell your loan officer that you only need a certain amount or that you are not interested in withdrawing the full amount for which you qualify. Be aware however, that choosing to do this will only reduce some of your loan costs. The costs which will be reduced if you take less are the interest rate on the mortgage and the monthly mortgage insurance premium. All other loan fees stay the same, including the origination and servicing fees. Basically, using Reverse Mortgage to borrow a small amount of money would be an expensive way to take out a loan so think carefully about this before doing this.
Why is a Reverse Mortgage so expensive?
As with any other type of loan there are a variety of fees which can quickly add up to become a relatively large amount. This can be expected with any loan however and is certainly not just unique to reverse mortgages.
What is a servicing fee?
As with a forward or traditional mortgage a servicing fee is something that is universal regardless of what lender you use. With a forward mortgage it is generally automatically deducted from the balance, so some people do not even realize they have paid it. With a reverse mortgage the total for the servicing fee (based on the estimation that you live to be 100 and keep the loan for the span of your life) is deducted. You DO NOT pay this fee out of your pocket every month. It is automatically deducted.
Is the interest that I pay on my reverse mortgage tax-deductible?
Yes but not until you pay off the full balance. This, you may notice is different from traditional, or forward mortgages simply because with a reverse mortgage you are not making monthly payments like you are with a regular mortgage. So, if you decide to make a payment or payments on your reverse mortgage the payments you make will be applied to the balance and will not be separated between the balance and the interest as it is in a traditional mortgage payment, again because you are not required to make regular payments.
As stated though, at the time that you have paid off the balance, be it through payments or a one-time payoff if you’ve sold the home for example, you will at that time be presented with the total interest that you have paid on the loan and that amount will be tax deductible. Just understand that if you make a payment no interest will be considered deductible. Only at the time you have paid the mortgage off in its entirety will you be able to claim the interest on your taxes the following tax year.
Counseling Related Questions
If you are a non-profit company, why do I have to pay?
Just like any other company, we do still have employees to pay and other costs of running a business that we are responsible for paying. You will notice though, that our rate is one of the lowest rates available for counseling. Our Reverse Mortgage counseling service fee is $120.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Money Orders or a Personal Check. Appointments are not scheduled until after payment advice is provided.
If you elect to finance your counseling fee, you will be asked for a credit card to hold on file for 90 days while the loan takes time to process and close. If your loan closes before 90 days and we receive payment from your title company or escrow agent prior to then, your card will not be charged. If your loan closes after 90 days and we receive payment from your title company or escrow agent after your card is charged, we will refund the charge we placed on your card. Counseling fees are not refundable once counseling is delivered even if you decide not to take a loan.
Why do I have to give you my budget information, I wasn’t told I would have to do this?
HUD has recently requested that we collect this information from all of our clients for statistical purposes only. We submit this information to HUD so that they will be able to analyze the figures and get a better picture of their average Reverse Mortgage client.
Is Reverse Mortgage Helper certified and approved by HUD?
Yes! We maintain approval by HUD, and all of our counselors are certified and maintain their individual certifications by attending continuing education courses throughout their counseling careers as long as they are with our company.
If I decide to go with a different lender or loan officer will I have to do counseling again?
Absolutely not! Once you have completed the counseling, your certificate is valid for 180 days, or six months. So as long as you close on your reverse mortgage within six months from the date of your counseling you will be fine and will not have to re-do the counseling. If within six months, however you are unable to find an agreeable rate, loan officer you feel comfortable with, etc. you will be required to re-do the counseling. This is not a common problem however and most people have no problem closing within six months, even if they decide to switch lenders.
As an Approved Counseling Agency, our HECM counselors will discuss keys of a reverse mortgage with you and upon completion of the session will present you a Certificate of HECM Counseling.
Reverse Mortgages are increasing in popularity with seniors who have equity in their homes and want to supplement their income.
The only reverse mortgage insured by the U.S. Federal Government is called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM, and is only available through an FHA approved lender.-U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)