Reverse mortgage originations has increased steadily. In part due to this high demand, many of the HUD approved counselors are waiving their $125 (average) fee.
Free Reverse Mortgage Counseling
Reverse Mortgage Counseling Requirement
Taking out a reverse mortgage is an important decision. The product can be very complicated and difficult to fully grasp. Because it is difficult to understand, all Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) require counseling as part of the reverse mortgage application process. Whether the reverse mortgage is a HECM or not, most reverse mortgage lenders will require counseling as part of their best practices.
Counselors go through a certification process. They must also pass a comprehensive exam. To find a complete list of HUD approved reverse mortgage counselors in your area, you can follow this link.
NCOA Offers Free Counseling
The National Council On Aging (NCOA) is one of the leading advocates for seniors. They have a strong presence in the reverse mortgage lobby and are constantly working to improve life for seniors. They released a statement from their Washington DC office on July 31, 2009 stating, "In response to increased pressure on the income and savings of older adults, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is offering free counseling for seniors through its Reverse Mortgage Counseling Services (RMCS) Network. RMCS counselors will waive the usual $125 fee to help older homeowners understand how these loans, along with community programs and other options, could help them to remain in their homes. Consumers age 62+ can schedule a free reverse mortgage counseling session through September 30, 2009 by calling 1-800-510-0301."
MMI Offers Free Counseling
As of July 1, 2009, Money Management International (MMI) is waiving its fee for HUD approved reverse mortgage counseling. It applied for and received grant money from the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) which they believe will cover their expenses and allow for this very necessary service to continue through October of 2009. At that time, they believe more grant money will be made available.
No Steering Allowed
HUD forbids any reverse mortgage lender to steer a senior to a particular counselor. You can find a complete list of certified HUD counselors here. There may be others who offer their service for free.
Renee Morgan has been a loan officer for over eighteen years. She is also a freelance writer and guest expert for radio and TV.