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Reverse Mortgages: Part I
Top Ten Things to Know if You're Interested in a Reverse Mortgage: Part I
(Excerpt from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
Reverse Mortgages are becoming popular in America. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created one of the first. HUD's Reverse Mortgage is a federally-insured private loan, and it's a safe plan that can give older Americans greater financial security. Many seniors use it to supplement social security, meet unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements, and more. You can receive free information about reverse mortgages by calling AARP at: 1-800-209-8085, toll-free. Since your home is probably your largest single investment, it's smart to know more about reverse mortgages, and decide if one is right for you!
1. What is a reverse mortgage?
A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that lets a homeowner convert a portion of the equity in his or her home into cash. The equity built up over years of home mortgage payments can be paid to you. But unlike a traditional home-equity loan or second mortgage, no repayment is required until the borrower(s) no longer uses the home as their principal residence. HUD's reverse mortgage provides these benefits, and is federally-insured, as well.
2. Do I qualify for a HUD reverse mortgage?
To be eligible for a HUD reverse mortgage, HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires that the borrower is a homeowner 62 years of age or older; owns the home outright, or has a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at the closing with proceeds from the reverse loan; and must be living in the home.
You are further required to receive consumer information from HUD-approved counseling sources prior to obtaining the loan. You can contact the Housing Counseling Clearinghouse on 1-800-569-4287 to obtain the name and telephone number of a HUD-approved counseling agency and a list of FHA approved lenders within your area.
3. Can I apply if I didn't buy my present house with FHA mortgage insurance?
Yes. It doesn't matter if you didn't buy it with an FHA-insured mortgage. Your new HUD reverse mortgage will be a new FHA-insured mortgage loan.
4. What types of homes are eligible?
Your home must be a single-family dwelling or a two- to four-unit property that you own and occupy. Townhouses, detached homes, units in condominiums and some manufactured homes are eligible. Condominiums must be FHA-approved. It is possible for individual condominiums units to qualify under the Spot Loan program.
5. What's the difference between a reverse mortgage and a bank home-equity loan?
With a traditional second mortgage, or a home-equity line of credit, you must have sufficient income-to-debt ratio to qualify for the loan, and you are required to make monthly mortgage payments. The reverse mortgage is different in that it pays you, and is available regardless of your current income. The amount you can borrow depends on your age, the current interest rate, and the appraised value of your home or FHA's mortgage limits for your area, whichever is less. Generally, the more valuable your home is, the older you are, the lower the interest, the more you can borrow. You don't make payments, because the loan is not due as long as the house is your principal residence. Like all homeowners, you still are required to pay your real estate taxes and other conventional payments like utilities, but with an FHA-insured HUD Reverse Mortgage, you cannot be foreclosed or forced to vacate your house because you "missed your mortgage payment."
For more information from Part II, click here.
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