Welcome to Best Reverse Mortgage.

A record number of senior homeowners are today using reverse mortgages as part of their retirement planning. This site is for consumers & industry professionals interested in learning more about reverse mortgages including the latest developments.

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by Editor
March 31st, 2016

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by Editor
March 22nd, 2016

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March 2nd, 2016

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Avoid retirement scams with a reverse mortgage

by Michele Lerner
September 30th, 2011

If you are retired or in the process of planning your retirement, you should be wary of potential retirement scams that could impact your finances. If you rely on the equity in your home for a reverse mortgage and get appropriate counseling from a reverse mortgage expert, you can feel more secure in your ability to handle financial emergencies.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent group that monitors securities and investment brokers, offers several tips for avoiding a retirement scam. One of the most common scam scenarios is for a broker to recommend early retirement to you, suggesting that you cash out your retirement account and have the broker invest your money for you. While a promise of a high rate of return on your investment may be tempting, the broker can end up putting your money at risk.

Reverse mortgage for income

Rather than rely on the advice of an unscrupulous broker, you may want to consider the benefits of a reverse mortgage. Available only to homeowners age 62 and older with either a paid-off mortgage or significant equity in their home, a reverse mortgage can be used in several ways to ease the financial pressure of retirement.

Pay off your existing mortgage. You can use your reverse mortgage to eliminate your existing mortgage, thus freeing up cash for saving and spending.
Establish a line of credit for emergencies. If you don’t need the money right now, you can set up a line of credit that gives you the peace of mind that you’ll have the cash for an unexpected home repair or medical bill.
Generate a lump sum to pay off debt or make home improvements. If you have credit card debt or want to increase the value of your home or add features to allow you to age in place, you can use the reverse mortgage proceeds to help defray those costs.
Create cash flow with monthly income. You can opt for a monthly payment from your reverse mortgage to help you keep your spending plan in balance.

Early retirement scam tips from FINRA

Whether or not you opt for a reverse mortgage, you should be wary of brokers who promise the following for your retirement:

Anyone can retire early. You need to have the savings to support you for the long term in retirement, so make sure you independently verify your ability to sustain yourself in retirement.
You can earn as much in retirement as you do today. This would require unrealistically high investment returns and perhaps large withdrawals that would be unsustainable.
You can expect returns of 12 percent or more. Not only is predicting returns on investment extremely difficult, but anything with that high a return would likely be a high-risk investment.
You can withdraw 7 percent or more annually. A sustainable retirement requires savings and investments for income and a conservative withdrawal pattern. According to FINRA, many financial experts recommend you withdraw only 3 to 5 percent of your retirement fund, especially during the first few years you are retired.

FINRA also says you should beware of these potential signs of fraud:

• Pushy salespersons
• Unregistered products
• Guaranteed investment returns
• Complex strategies
• Promises of overly consistent returns
• Missing documentation
• Account discrepancies

You can check on a broker’s credentials at FINRA BrokerCheck. You should also consider getting a second opinion before you decide to retire early or make any major financial decisions, including taking out a reverse mortgage.

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Eight budgeting tips for retirees

by Michele Lerner
August 3rd, 2011

Enjoying a financially successful retirement depends on two things: adequate savings and investments for income and a streamlined spending plan.

Boosting your income for retirement can be accomplished through savings and investments before you retire, continuing to work full-time or part-time for a few extra years and carefully determining the optimal time for applying for Social Security benefits.

Reverse mortgage for added income

Another option for seniors who are homeowners is to increase your cash flow with a reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage, available only to seniors age 62 and older, allows you to use the equity in your home to pay off your current mortgage, pay other debt or simply have an available source of funds for an emergency. The amount you can borrow depends on your age and the amount of equity in your home. Consultation with a HUD-approved mortgage counselor is mandatory for all reverse mortgage applicants, so you can discuss how a reverse mortgage might fit into your financial plan for retirement.

Tackling the spending side of your financial equation is equally important. Reducing your spending in some areas can make it easier to spend on the activities you enjoy most during your retirement.

Eight budgeting tips

  1. Negotiate fees for auto care. If you have to get your car repaired or pay for routine maintenance, ask for a senior citizen discount or see if you can negotiate a payment plan.
  2. Use your AAA or AARP membership for discounts. Some people are shy about using their memberships for discounts, but these days, everyone is budget-conscious and trying to save in every possible way. You can save 10 percent or sometimes more on travel discounts, movies and more through these memberships that you may already have.
  3. Check on your insurance rates annually. Bundling your home and auto insurance can earn you a discount, but you should ask about other possible discounts for things like an alarm system or even belonging to an alumni group. An insurance agent could help you save hundreds yet continue to have adequate protection.
  4. Leave your credit cards at home. Studies show that people spend more money when they use a credit card. If you carry a balance from one month to the next, you are wasting your money by paying interest on the debt to the credit card company.
  5. Create your own debt reduction plan. If you have credit card debt, you need to tackle it as soon as possible. Make a list of your debts and the interest rates on each one. Then apply every available dollar to paying off the debt with the highest interest rate while paying just the minimum on your other bills. As soon as one has been repaid you can apply the extra money to the next debt until they are all repaid. Those last few debts should be paid more quickly since you will have more money to apply to them.
  6. Compare utility companies. Check out the competition for your phone, gas, electricity, water and cable companies to see if you can save on your current rates.
  7. Consider selling your car. While you may be accustomed to each family member having a car, it may be possible to share a car and eliminate the car payment, gas and insurance payment for that extra vehicle.
  8. Consider downsizing. Depending on where you live, you may want to think about selling your home and moving to a smaller or less expensive home. You can take out a reverse mortgage as part of the purchase of your new home so you can access your home equity.

While no one likes reducing their spending, taking a hard look at where your money goes can be a valuable exercise that will result in having more cash for the things you love to do.

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Saver reverse mortgage shows modest gain

by Peter G. Miller
March 23rd, 2011

Things were supposed to be better in February. The FHA Saver reverse mortgage product was supposed to gain traction with time and to some extent this has happened. But given the huge advantage of the program — an up-front mortgage insurance premium of just .1 percent versus the 2.0 percent for the regular FHA-insured reverse mortgage product — the latest production figures are hardly exceptional.

To start in February HUD endorsed 6,904 standard reverse mortgages. This is down 1.7 percent from last year, just about a rounding error and not evidence of a trend.

As to the HECM Saver, there were 296 such loans endorsed by HUD versus 165 in January. That’s an increase of 79.4 percent.

The catch, of course, is that it’s possible to have huge percentage increases when you’re dealing with small numbers.

Another way to view the Saver product is to say that in February there were a total of 7,200 reverse mortgage originations. Of these, 4.11 percent were Saver HECMs.

There are, I suspect, several parts to the Saver mystery.

First, reverse mortgages in general continue to read more

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Your reverse mortgage checklist

by Francine Huff
March 16th, 2011

Your financial situation may not be the same today as it was last year or even last month. So if you are at least 62 years old and are trying to plan for retirement, use the following checklist when considering reverse mortgages.

  1. Take a comprehensive look at your entire financial situation before making any big decisions. That means scrutinizing your budget to see where you may be able to change spending habits to keep more of your income. You can get help with this from a financial planner who specializes in retirement issues.
  2. Set up an appointment with a reverse mortgage counselor if you want to convert home equity to cash. The majority of reverse mortgages in the U.S. are through the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, so counseling from an agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is required. The counselors must pass an HECM exam approved by HUD.
  3. Make sure you’ve exhausted all other alternatives to borrowing money. There may be programs in your community aimed at helping senior citizens with housing costs, food, home repairs and other services. Ask around at your local center on aging, community centers, churches and other organizations.
  4. Decide ahead of time what reverse mortgage proceeds will be used for. Many retirees use the money to pay for property taxes, medical care, prescriptions and home repairs, among other things. There aren’t too many restrictions on what the money can be used for, and you can even purchase another home to live in as long as it will be your principal residence.

Reverse mortgage guidelines

Get all the facts about reverse mortgage guidelines before filling out an application. Too many people have made the mistake of thinking a reverse loan would solve all their problems without really investigating whether or not borrowing money was right for their situation.

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Bankruptcy and reverse mortgages

by Francine Huff
March 15th, 2011

Maybe you got a reverse mortgage a while back and are still struggling with mounds of debt. If you’ve exhausted all your options for getting things under control, you may be contemplating a bankruptcy. Here’s what you need to know about how a bankruptcy filing affects a reverse loan.

Using reverse mortgages

Reverse mortgages allow people aged 62 and up to convert some home equity into cash. The money can be taken as a lump sum, through installments, or as a line of credit. Reverse loans are designed to help senior citizens supplement their income, but some borrowers may still find themselves accumulating even more debt above and beyond reverse loans.

What about foreclosure?

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll lose your house through foreclosure if you have a reverse mortgage. But the property is an asset, and might be liquidated in a Chapter 7 filing to help pay off debt. According to David M. Siegel, an Illinois bankruptcy attorney, “A trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can liquidate real estate secured by a reverse mortgage if there is available equity above and beyond what a debtor can protect as exempt.”

Repaying a reverse loan

Generally, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing involves setting up some type of repayment plan for debt. Reverse mortgage debt may be structured so that interest and monthly payments are more affordable. Under the United States Bankruptcy Code repayment plans can last up to five years, so if reverse mortgage debt is involved it would have to be paid off in that time. Obviously, it can get quite complicated trying to work out a repayment plan for a senior who is on a fixed income. Consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can guide you through the process.

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Addressing concerns of reverse mortgage heirs

by Francine Huff
March 14th, 2011

Are your kids against you getting a reverse mortgage? Deciding to draw down the equity in your home with a reverse loan can cause a lot of concern among your adult kids. Although the decision to apply for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is ultimately yours, that doesn’t mean your kids won’t have a lot to say about it. Here are points to discuss with your kids about getting a reverse loan.

  1. Who pays back the loan after you die? For the most part, reverse mortgage heirs have not been liable for paying back the loan. The loan usually gets paid when the mortgage lender sells it, and any remaining equity goes to heirs. But recently, AARP flied a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development over changes to the HECM program that has led to reverse mortgage heirs facing eviction and foreclosure if they don’t repay reverse loans, even if the payoff is higher than their home’s value.
  2. What do you plan to do with all that money? If you are of sound mind and can make your own financial decisions, that really isn’t anyone else’s’ business. However, if you rely on your kids for some financial support or other types of assistance, it seems like a legitimate question for them to ask.
  3. Where are you getting your information about reverse loans? It may make sense to have your son or daughter attend the mandatory reverse mortgage counseling session. The counselor will review reverse mortgage guidelines and give you alternatives to borrowing money, such as programs that may be available in your community.

Reverse mortgage discussion

Some older homeowners have had success with reverse loans, while others find that borrowing money is not the right choice. It’s never a bad idea to discuss major financial decisions with trusted heirs who can help you make the right choice. But in the end whether or not to apply for a reverse mortgage should be about helping your financial situation, not making other people happy.

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AARP sues HUD over reverse loan changes

by Francine Huff
March 10th, 2011

AARP is suing the U.S. government over the effect of changes made to its reverse mortgage program. A lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an injunction prohibiting the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from foreclosing on surviving spouses.

Reverse mortgage heirs and eviction

The suit was filed by AARP Litigation Foundation and law firm Mehri and Skalet PLLC on behalf of three plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are surviving spouses who who say that changes in the reverse loan program allow reverse mortgage lenders to inititate foreclosure and eviction proceedings against them.

According to a statement from AARP:

The case will have broad national implications, because the outcome will determine whether spouses will be able to stay in homes that are now “underwater” as a result of the housing downturn, a possibility that reverse mortgage borrowers have always paid insurance premiums to protect against.

Paying off reverse loans

Prior to 2008 HUD rules stated that borrowers and their heirs would never owe more than a home was worth when repaying a reverse loan. But changes in the rules that year stated that reverse mortgage heirs, including surviving spouses, must pay the full balance of the mortgage in order to keep the home, even if that amount exceeds the value of the property.

Hurting senior citizens

“Rather than protecting borrowers, HUD retroactively changed the terms of the loans to make these elderly borrowers’ spouses and heirs pay more to keep their home than an unrelated purchaser would have to pay to purchase the property,” Steven A. Skalet, of Mehri & Skalet PLLC said in a statement. “This is shameful and we intend to make HUD honor the representations and promises they made to borrowers when they signed up for these government-insured loans.”

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