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My Reverse Mortgage Funds Are Used Up… Now What?

by Beth Paterson, Beth's Reverse Mortgage Blog

A question on a recent post was “What happens when a borrower uses all the funds or out lives the money? This happened to a woman and then she had to pay rent she didn’t have.”

The first part of the question is common and shows the continued need to clarify the many misconceptions and lack of understanding of reverse mortgages. The second part of the question demonstrates confusion on whether the loan this woman had is a reverse mortgage and/or the misuse of the term “rent.”

A reverse mortgage is a loan, like any other conventional loan or home equity loan, using the equity in one’s home but has special terms for seniors 62 and older. The amount of the loan is determined by the age of the borrower, the home value or FHA lending limit, the Expected Interest Rate, and program chosen. Facts to consider:

  • Borrowers own the home, no one else does.
  • Borrowers can stay in their home as long it’s their primary residence. The due date on the reverse mortgage is the borrower’s 150th birthday. In the case of a couple, as long as one of the borrowers remains in the home as their primary residence, the loan can stay in place.
  • Borrowers don’t have to make monthly mortgage payments.
  • Borrowers won’t lose their home for the lack of making mortgage payments.
  • Loan proceeds are not subject to income tax, are government insured and guaranteed to be there for you.
  • Borrowers or their estate get to keep any remaining equity after the loan is paid off.
  • As a non-recourse loan there is no personal liability to borrowers or their estate when repaying the loan and borrowers or their estate are not retaining ownership.
  • There are no income or credit qualifications and generally no out of pocket costs other than the appraisal.

With a “true” reverse mortgage, the most common being insured by FHA’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM, the borrowers can remain in their home as long as the home is their primary residence. Even if one has used all the funds available from the reverse mortgage, the borrowers can stay in the home without having monthly mortgage payments or rent payments. The loan is guaranteed by FHA.

Borrowers have options on receiving their funds which include monthly payments, line of credit, lump sum or a combination of these. When paying off current mortgages, a requirement of the loan, in some situations the reverse mortgage proceeds may be used up front in essence using all the funds right away. This means they can still have the loan without mortgage payments yet improving their cash flow because they don’t have to make mortgage payments.

The borrower’s responsibilities include paying property taxes, keeping home owner’s/hazard insurance on the property as well as maintaining the property. If a borrower does not pay their taxes and insurance the loan becomes due and payable.

In the question above, to assist borrowers, and not call the loan due, if there are no funds left from the reverse mortgage, the lender may have paid the taxes and insurance and then required the borrower make payments to cover the taxes and insurance. This is NOT rent but a repayment because in essence the lender is loaning more money beyond the terms of the reverse mortgage loan.

Previously lenders may have paid on the borrowers’ behalf the taxes and insurance such as this but that is about to change, see my blog article regarding this, “Reverse Mortgage Borrowers’ Responsibilities… Or Consequences.“

If rent is being required on the “reverse mortgage” as suggested in the question, I’m guessing it is not a reverse mortgage insured by HUD or a proprietary (private) reverse mortgage offered by the FHA lenders which are modeled after the HECM.

It may have been a loan set up by a bank or another lender or through a private person/family member calling it a reverse mortgage but not having the same terms as a true reverse mortgage insured by HUD or by a proprietary program modeled after the HECM that doesn’t require payments and is non-recourse.

Note that the HECM and these proprietary reverse mortgages offer more protections than any other type of financing including require counseling by third-party HUD approved counselors.

Or it may have been someone who purchased the home and set up terms to have the woman stay in the home with a lease back and when funds from the sale ran out she had to pay rent.

I’ve also received the question about someone taking out a “reverse mortgage” and having to make interest payments. Again this would not be a HECM or proprietary program offered by FHA HUD approved lenders who’s programs don’t require payments and are non-recourse.

If one is having to pay rent or make any other form of mortgage payment it is not a true reverse mortgage. I suggested to the questioner to review the loan documents to determine what are the actual terms of that loan.

This leads to the conclusion that one should work with a lender who specialized in the HUD Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, is familiar with and takes the time to explain the terms of the loan, as well as follows HUD’s requirements including the requirement of the HUD approved counseling. A list of things to consider when talking with lenders can be found by clicking here. Borrowers should not sign documents without understanding the terms of the loan and consequences if the terms are not abided by.

© 2010 Beth Paterson http://BethsReverseMortgageBlog.wordpress.com


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