Reverse mortgages (also called home equity conversion loans) enable homeowners over the age of 62 to tap into their equity without selling their home. A reverse mortgage is a loan designed to allow seniors to draw upon the equity in their homes either by a lump sum payment or by monthly installments thus providing income even after retirement. The reason this type of mortgage is called a “reverse mortgage” is because the money goes directly to the home owner instead of into paying for the home. Eventually the money paid to the homeowner is repaid with interest, however it generally doesn’t become due until the homeowner leaves the home due to death, move, etc.
Typically those who benefit most from a reverse mortgage are those who plan to stay in their homes over an extended period and have built a decent amount of equity in their homes. Also, the risk associated with a reverse mortgage is significantly lower than more traditional types of mortgages because you can never owe more than the value of your home.
Reverse mortgages are ideal for homeowners who are retired or no longer working and need to supplement their income. Interest rates can be fixed or adjustable and the money is nontaxable and does not interfere with Social Security or Medicare benefits. Your lender cannot take property away if you outlive your loan nor can you be forced to sell your home to pay off your loan even if the loan balance grows to exceed property value.
To be eligible for the FHA HECM, your home must be a single family home or a 2-4 unit home with one unit occupied by the borrower. HUD-approved condominiums and manufactured homes that meet FHA requirements are also eligible.
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