Reverse mortgages have gotten a lot of publicity lately and will probably get a lot of press in the future as baby boomers near retirement age. What are they? Who can use one? Is there a reverse mortgage in your future?
WHAT ARE REVERSE MORTGAGES A reverse mortgage is a home equity loan or line of credit that is secured by the equity in your home. You do not repay as long as you live in the home. The reason it is called a reverse mortgage is because it is the opposite of a regular home equity loan where you reduce debt and build up equity. In a reverse mortgage you reduce equity and build up debt. That is where the money comes from.
WHO CAN USE REVERSE MORTGAGES Basically anyone who is over age 62, owns and lives in their own home and has paid off at least 60% of the loan can apply for a reverse mortgage. There is no proof of income requirement.
USES FOR PROCEEDS The money can basically be used any way you wish. Frequent uses are travel, home improvements, medical expenses, and supplemental income. The amount you may receive depends on a lot of factors one of which is how you receive the money. Your age, the location of the home, interest rates, the type of program you select, and of course the values of the home are some of the other variables.
OPTIONSYou may select to get monthly payments, a lump sum upfront, or a line of credit that would allow you to draw on the account as you needed it or a combination of the three. If you select a line of credit with a “growing" credit line your available balance earns interest. A withdrawal at the beginning of the plan could be offset by the interest earned.
Since you still own the home you are responsible for taxes, insurance, and upkeep. The loan has to be repaid at the death of the owner, when it is sold, or if you move. The proceeds from the sale of the house can be used to pay off the loan.
Reverse Mortgages have become increasing popular in the last several years and will only grow in popularity as the baby boom market looks for ways to finance their retirement.
AARP has some very good information on reverse mortgages at http://www.m-o-r-t-g-a-g-e-r-a-t-e.com and http://www.h-o-m-e-e-q-u-i-t-y-l-o-a-n.com Homeowners should check out http://www.h-o-m-e-s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y.com