HUD requires that all applicants for a reverse mortgage have professional counseling. This brief article highlights some important information and helps you find a counselor in your area.
Reverse Mortgages Require Counseling
Reverse mortgages require counseling because they are very sophisticated lending instruments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Uban Development, HUD, mandates counseling prior to the closing of a reverse mortgage loan. Counseling is available through non-profit or public agencies and can be handled face-to-face or by telephone (except in North Carolina). Below are several tips on how to find and choose a counselor in your area, as well as a few things you will need to think about in advance of your counseling session.
FIVE TIPS FOR FINDING A COUNSELOR IN YOUR AREA
- Because reverse mortgages are designed for homeowners at least 62 years old, many of the agencies servicing senior citizens will offer reverse mortgage counseling or directions to a reverse mortgage counselor. If you already have a relationship with an advocacy group for seniors, you may feel most comfortable starting with them.
- HECM Resources has a useful Webpage for searching for a counselor by state. This site is excellent because it also gives an approximate timeline to meet with a counselor and counselors who speak Spanish.
- HUD's Web page allows ypu to search by your state to find a local counseling agency.
- American Association of Retired Persons, AARP, is one of the most commonly know advocacy groups for seniors. Founded is 1958, the AARP is a non-governmental agency that lobbies for retired people's issues. Their Website is www.aarp.org or reach them by phone at (800) 209-8085.
- Nation Councel on Aging, NCOA, is another well known group supporting seniors. Founded in 1950 originally to support senior health issues, the organization has grown to include a variety of senior issues. Their website is www.ncoa.org or reach them by phone at (800)510-0301
THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOUR COUNSELING SESSION
- Ask for a computer print out of your reverse mortgage options in advance of your session. Once you choose a counselor, ask for your individual reverse mortgage options to be mailed to you before you attend your counseling session. If after you review your options you still want to move forward, then you have not wasted your or the counselor's time.
- Do some basic research on your own to make sure you fully qualify. For example: Are all borrowers at least 62 years old? Does your property type qualify and do you have enough equity? The learning center on this Website, www.bestreversemortgage.com has several related articles to give you a strong foundation of knowledge.
- Have you explored all of your alternative options? A reverse mortgage may be exactly the right solution to give you new financial freedom to enjoy your golden years. However, a reverse mortgage is a very serious choice. Make sure you have explored your options, such as, selling and downsizing your home, taking in a boarder, or using a home equity line of credit. There are a multitude of ideas you can explore to be assured that you are making a good decision.
Renee Morgan has been a loan officer for over eighteen years. She is also a freelance writer and guest expert for radio and TV.