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What is a Reverse Mortgage?

What is a reverse mortgage? Simply put, it is a loan that is available to homeowners age 62 and older who have equity in their homes. They can borrow against the value of the home and receive a fixed monthly payment or a line of credit. This can be a good option for seniors trying to pay off high amounts of consumer debt. Are you considering a reverse mortgage? Here’s what you need to know:

what is a reverse mortgage

Pros of a Reverse Mortgage

  • Get the cash and make no payments
    • As long as you live in the home, no payments are due.
    • The proceeds are not taxable.
    • Additionally, your income and credit score are not taken into account in qualifying.
  • Offers security
    • The payments may help you maintain your independence as you get older.
    • It allows you to stay in the home permanently.
    • The lender can never take your home as long as you are living in it.
  • Homeowner has control
    • You decide how much equity you will use and leave for your heirs.
    • You decide how much, or how little, you take out of your equity.
    • Heirs inherit the home and keep the remaining equity after the balance of the reverse mortgage is paid off.
  • Fair and safe way to access equity
    • Reverse mortgages are government designed and highly regulated.
    • Besides being regulated by the government, you are required to go through independent counseling before the loan process is complete.

Cons of a Reverse Mortgage

As you use more home equity, you will have less equity in your home that you may want to leave to your heirs. Of course, you can still leave the home to your heirs, but they will have to pay off the loan balance. Also, the loan balance increases over time as the interest and fees accumulate. Finally, your eligibility for Supplemental Social Security Income and Medicaid could potentially be affected.

Final Thoughts

Like any major financial decision, reverse mortgages can be great for some people but are not the best option for others. These decisions require research so borrowers fully understand what they are doing.

ACCC offers reverse mortgage counseling to potential borrowers. To schedule an appointment please call 800-769-3571.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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