June 18, 2024

Think about in case your mortgage lender paid you rather than you paying your lender. With a reverse mortgage, that’s precisely what occurs. Nevertheless, you don’t simply get free cash every month. There are some vital caveats to pay attention to with reverse mortgages, and these loans are solely accessible to pick out debtors.

Should you’re contemplating a reverse mortgage, right here’s how they work, the kinds accessible, and their execs and cons.

How does a reverse mortgage work?

A reverse mortgage attracts funds from your property fairness and pays you in common installments. These funds are tax free and might complement your retirement earnings in case your financial savings are restricted. Nevertheless, reverse mortgage funds end in a lack of dwelling fairness. Additionally, most reverse mortgages should be repaid in full as soon as the borrower dies, sells their dwelling, or leaves it completely.

Reverse mortgages can be found to debtors age 62 and older who’ve vital fairness of their houses. In line with Rocket Mortgage (which for the time being is just not providing its reverse mortgage product), you usually want at the very least 50% fairness to qualify for one of these mortgage, although necessities could differ by lender.

Varieties of reverse mortgages

There are a couple of sorts of reverse mortgages. The most typical choice is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Right here’s what to learn about every sort.

Federally insured

Residence fairness conversion mortgages (HECMs) are reverse mortgages insured by the FHA. These loans use your property as collateral, like a standard mortgage, and also you obtain tax-free funds out of your lender every month. Funds are disbursed as a lump sum, line of credit score, or a mixture of the 2, relying in your desire. You should utilize the funds for any function, together with dwelling upkeep and residing bills.

A number of eligibility necessities apply for debtors and properties, and also you’ll pay excessive up-front charges, closing prices, and mortgage insurance coverage premiums. You’ll even be required to talk with an HECM counselor earlier than you apply. Should you resolve to maneuver ahead, you’ll work with a lender accredited by the U.S. Division of Housing and City Improvement (HUD) to safe your mortgage.

HECMs are federally insured and have protections in case your steadiness exceeds your property’s market worth if you or your heirs have to repay the mortgage.

Single function

Single-purpose reverse mortgages are loans accessible by way of some state and native governments. As their title suggests, these loans can solely be used for the aim outlined within the mortgage settlement. As an illustration, a house owner may use funds from a single-purpose mortgage to keep up their property.

Single-purpose reverse mortgages might not be extensively accessible, and your earnings could have to fall beneath a certain quantity to qualify. The loans aren’t federally insured, in order that they don’t have the identical protections you’d get with an HECM.


If your property’s market worth exceeds a certain quantity, you could qualify for a proprietary reverse mortgage. Lenders typically solely supply one of these mortgage to debtors with vital fairness in a comparatively costly dwelling. Not like HECMs, these loans aren’t federally insured, so there are not any protections in place.

Reverse mortgage execs and cons


  • Can complement your retirement earnings
  • Funds aren’t taxed
  • Could allow you to age in place
  • Constructed-in protections for heirs (with HECMs)


  • Charges and different prices apply
  • Borrower required to dwell within the dwelling
  • Could impression eligibility for different packages
  • Residence fairness decreases
  • Different dwelling bills nonetheless apply

Benefits of a reverse mortgage

Can complement your retirement earnings

A reverse mortgage may complement your earnings in case your retirement financial savings are restricted, serving to to protect them.

Funds aren’t taxed

Funds you obtain with a reverse mortgage aren’t topic to taxes, because the Inner Income Service (IRS) doesn’t classify them as earnings. As a substitute, these funds are categorised as “mortgage proceeds.”

Could allow you to age in place

A reverse mortgage may enable you to keep in your house, permitting you to make lodging that help you age in place. As an illustration, you may use the funds to enhance your property’s accessibility or add options that make it safer.

Constructed-in protections for heirs (with HECMs)

HECM debtors get built-in protections for heirs in the event that they die. In case your mortgage steadiness exceeds the market worth of your property when your heirs have to promote, they’ll solely have to repay 95% of the house’s appraised worth. Any remaining steadiness will probably be repaid to the lender by the FHA. Nevertheless, in case your heirs wish to maintain your property, they’ll have to repay the mortgage in full utilizing their financial savings or one other supply of funds.

Disadvantages of a reverse mortgage

Charges and shutting prices apply

Whether or not you go for an HECM or one other sort of reverse mortgage, charges and shutting prices will probably apply. Relying on your property’s worth, the lender, and different elements, these may very well be fairly excessive. With an HECM you’ll additionally have to pay mortgage insurance coverage premiums.

Borrower required to dwell within the dwelling

Should you take out a reverse mortgage, you will need to dwell in your house. If it’s essential to go away your property completely, you will have to repay the mortgage in full. Nevertheless, if you happen to transfer into an assisted residing facility for greater than 12 months or have a co-borrower or Eligible Non-Borrowing Partner stay within the dwelling, you could not should pay again the mortgage instantly.

Could impression eligibility for different packages

The month-to-month funds you obtain out of your reverse mortgage may improve your earnings and impression your eligibility for means-tested authorities packages, reminiscent of Medicaid. It shouldn’t have an effect on your Social Safety or Medicare funds.

Residence fairness decreases

Reverse mortgage funds are made in opposition to your property fairness, which will increase your mortgage steadiness and reduces the quantity of fairness you’ve gotten in your house. This reduces the revenue you obtain if you happen to promote and, doubtlessly, the quantity your heirs obtain if you happen to die.

Different dwelling bills nonetheless apply

When you don’t have to make common funds on a reverse mortgage, you’ll nonetheless have to pay your property taxes, owners insurance coverage premiums, owners’ affiliation dues and charges, and different bills related to your property. Lenders additionally require that you just sustain with dwelling repairs and upkeep as a situation of reverse mortgages.

What are reverse mortgage necessities?

The eligibility standards for a reverse mortgage could differ relying on the kind of mortgage you get. For HECMs, the commonest reverse mortgage choice, necessities are as follows:

Borrower necessities

  • Be 62 or older.
  • Have vital fairness in your house or personal it outright.
  • Occupy it as your main residence.
  • Be present on any federal debt funds.
  • Have enough financial savings or earnings to cowl different dwelling bills.
  • Take part in an academic session with a HUD counselor.

Property necessities

  • Proprietor-occupied single-family or 2 to 4 unit multifamily.
  • Condominium that meets HUD necessities.
  • Manufactured dwelling that meets HUD necessities.

Prices of a reverse mortgage

Charges and shutting prices for reverse mortgages can also differ relying in your lender, however prices for HECMs are as follows:

  • Mortgage insurance coverage. You’ll pay 2% of your whole mortgage as an up-front mortgage insurance coverage fee, plus premiums totaling 0.5% of the steadiness over the lifetime of your mortgage.
  • Origination charges. You’ll additionally pay an origination price to your lender, which is capped at $6,000 however could also be much less, relying on your property’s worth.
  • Mortgage servicing charges. A month-to-month mortgage servicing price of as much as $35 additionally applies.
  • Closing prices. You’ll additionally pay closing prices with a reverse mortgage, simply as you’d with a standard mortgage. These prices could quantity to 2% to six% of the whole mortgage.

Reverse mortgage instance

Let’s say you’re 62 years previous, owe $25,000 in your present mortgage, and personal a house valued at $600,000. Should you apply for a reverse mortgage with a 5% rate of interest, you may obtain a lump-sum fee of $154,700, a line of credit score of $66,300, or a month-to-month payout of $737 (figures arrived at utilizing MoneyGeek’s reverse mortgage calculator). Borrowing quantities could differ relying in your lender and scenario.

Is a reverse mortgage best for you?

A reverse mortgage could also be best for you when you’ve got restricted retirement financial savings and plan to dwell in your house for a number of years. The proceeds you obtain out of your mortgage may enable you to afford dwelling upkeep or on a regular basis residing bills. Earlier than deciding on a reverse mortgage, it’s important to know the drawbacks of those loans.

Options to a reverse mortgage

Owners with vital fairness, adequate earnings, and first rate credit score could wish to contemplate these options to a reverse mortgage. Keep in mind that charges or closing prices will probably apply with the next choices.

Residence fairness loans and residential fairness strains of credit score (HELOC)

These two mortgage sorts use your property fairness as collateral.

Residence fairness mortgage

A house fairness mortgage offers a lump-sum fee. You’ll be able to typically borrow as much as 80% of your property fairness and use the mortgage proceeds for dwelling enhancements or one other giant expense. Month-to-month funds are required on the quantity you borrow, and your mortgage will usually have a set rate of interest.

Residence fairness line of credit score (HELOC)

A HELOC permits you to entry a line of credit score, which could be helpful if you happen to aren’t certain precisely how a lot it’s essential to borrow for a renovation or different bills. It comes with a draw interval, throughout which you’ll borrow in opposition to the road of credit score, and a compensation interval.

When you enter compensation, you’ll have to pay again the quantity you’ve borrowed with curiosity, and your HELOC will usually have a variable rate of interest.

Money-out refinance

With a cash-out refinance, you substitute your present mortgage mortgage with a bigger one. The brand new mortgage is used to repay the steadiness in your previous one, and also you obtain the distinction in money. This kind of refinance successfully converts your property fairness into money, which you need to use as wanted for dwelling tasks or different giant bills. A warning: Your new mortgage’s month-to-month funds could also be bigger than these in your previous one.

TIME Stamp: A reverse mortgage could be a supply of retirement earnings, however it isn’t for everybody

Reverse mortgages will help complement your retirement financial savings, however these loans aren’t free from drawbacks and dangers. They typically include excessive charges, and reverse mortgage balances should be repaid in full if you happen to go away your property completely or promote it. A house fairness mortgage, HELOC, or cash-out refinance could also be a greater various to a reverse mortgage for a lot of. Should you’re contemplating a reverse mortgage, weigh the professionals and cons and ask a HUD counselor for extra info.

Regularly requested questions (FAQs)

When do you must repay a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage have to be paid in full if you happen to promote your property or go away it completely. Your heirs might want to repay it if you happen to die, both by promoting your property or, in the event that they don’t wish to promote, utilizing one other funding supply.

Are you able to refinance a reverse mortgage?

It’s attainable to refinance a reverse mortgage if you happen to meet the borrowing standards set forth by your most well-liked lender. As an illustration, you may choose to refinance if the market worth of your property has elevated considerably because you obtained your present reverse mortgage.

How do you keep away from reverse mortgage foreclosures?

You will need to maintain paying your property taxes, owners insurance coverage premiums, and owners affiliation charges whereas sustaining your property in good bodily situation to keep away from reverse mortgage foreclosures.

How do I discover a reverse mortgage lender?

As federally insured HECM reverse mortgages are the commonest choice, looking the HUD’s lender checklist is the best approach to discover a reverse mortgage lender. This search software will present a listing of HUD-approved lenders providing these loans.

How will you keep away from reverse mortgage scams?

To keep away from reverse mortgage scams, be certain you totally perceive one of these mortgage and work with a trusted lender. If in case you have questions or considerations, communicate with a HUD counselor, a monetary advisor, or an legal professional earlier than shifting ahead with a mortgage or offering any delicate info to a possible lender.