The reverse mortgage is used by senior homeowners age 62 and older to convert the equity in their home into monthly streams of income and/or a line of credit to be repaid when they no longer occupy the home. A lending institution such as a mortgage lender, bank, credit union or savings and loan association funds the FHA insured loan, commonly known as HECM.

A reverse mortgage (or lifetime mortgage) is a loan available to seniors aged 62 or older, per HUD, and is used to release the home equity in the property as one lump sum or multiple payments. The homeowner's obligation to repay the loan is deferred until the owner dies, the home is sold, or the owner leaves, they can be out of the home for up to 364 consecutive days. (e. g. , into aged care). In a conventional mortgage the homeowner makes a monthly amortized payment to the lender; after each payment the equity increases within his or her property, and typically after the end of the term the mortgage has been paid in full and the property is released from the lender. In a reverse mortgage, the home owner makes no payments and all interest is added to the lien on the property. If the owner receives monthly payments, or a bulk payment of the available equity percentage for their age, then the debt on the property increases each month. If a property has increased in value after a reverse mortgage is taken out, it is possible to acquire a second (or third) reverse mortgage over the increased equity in the home. In certain countries (including the United States), however, a reverse mortgage must be the only mortgage on the property. Most lender put a lien of close to 300% of the amount funded in the transaction, so very rarely do they allow a "refi" type event to "capture" more equity. It is generally a one time event. The lender will require the loan satisfied and paid in full before they will offer a loan somewhere else. You will have to be in good standing with HUD as well. To qualify for a reverse mortgage in the United States, the borrower must be at least 62 years of age. There are no minimum income or credit requirements, but there are other requirements and homeowners should make sure that they qualify for the loan before they invest significant time or money into the process. They are qualified for the ability to "afford the home " , to cover taxes, insurance, utilities, ,water, gas, etc. . For most reverse mortgages, the money can be used for any purpose; however, the borrower must pay off any existing mortgage(s) with the proceeds from the reverse mortgage and, if needed, additional personal funds. A pending bankruptcy which has not been finalized may, however, slow the process. (or with most lenders make you NON eligible until it is resolved and settled. ) Some types of dwellings do not qualify, while others (like mobile homes) have special requirements (such as being on an approved permanent foundation and built after 1976) in order to be approved. Before borrowing, applicants must seek third party financial counseling from a source which is approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The counseling is a both safeguard for the borrower and his/her family, to make sure the borrower completely understands what a reverse mortgage is and how one is obtained and so the home owner is alerted to the possibility of fraud. The current lending limit (the maximum the home can be appraised for, no matter how much it is worth) is $625,500. This was increased in 2009, after being raised from $200,000 to $417,000 in 2008. The maximum an originator can charge for a loan origination fee on a reverse mortgage is $6,000. The older the individual is, the more lenient the qualifications become, as the mortality rate increases with age. Once you make application and have been given the proper information and consultation with a seasoned professional, you will be required to attend a counseling session given by a HUD-approved counselor (in the US). These sessions typically cost anywhere between $100–$125 (in the US) although some agencies receive federal grants which allow them to provide it for free. This allows another opportunity to ask all the necessary and proper questions. During the loan and the remainder of its life, you cannot be asked to leave the property, as you still are the owner and deed holder. This is the case whether you outlast the performance of the loan or not. As far as your heirs go, they are still entitled to the property upon your passing. The estate will be settled in the normal way, the property will be passed on to the heirs, and they can refinance out of the reverse mortgage. If they decide not to reside in the property, they can sell the unit, pay off the reverse mortgage, and keep the balance of the monies of the estate. They have one year, from the passing of the note holders, to settle the mortgage. The amount of money available to the consumer is determined by five primary factors:All these factors contribute to the Total Annual Lending Cost (TALC) as defined by the US Federal Government Regulation Z, the single rate which includes all the loan costs. The specific formulas to calculate the impact of the factors listed above can be found in Appendix 22 of the HUD Handbook 4235. 1. There are reverse mortgages for homes valued over the maximum limit. These are called "Jumbo" reverse mortgages, and are generally offered as proprietary reverse mortgages. For homeowners of higher-valued homes, a Jumbo loan can provide a larger loan amount. However, these loans are currently uninsured by the FHA and their fees are often higher. The money received (loan advances) from a reverse mortgage is not taxable and does not directly affect Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, an American Bar Association guide to reverse mortgages explains that if borrowers receive Medicaid, SSI, or other public benefits, loan advances will be counted as "liquid assets" if the money is kept in an account (savings, checking, etc. ) past the end of the calendar month in which it is received. The borrower could then lose eligibility for such public programs if his or her total liquid assets (cash, generally) is then greater than those programs allow. It is important to note that the homeowner must ensure that taxes and insurance are kept current at all times. If either taxes or insurance lapse, it could result in a default on the reverse mortgage. Once the reverse mortgage is established, there are no restrictions on how the funds are used. In addition to the tenure monthly payments, the borrower has the option of moving the entire amount of money into investments, or they can simply take the money and spend it as they wish. Among the options of interest bearing instruments, the borrower can keep them with the lender and (These accounts grow by the same percentage as the interest rate of the loan), move the funds to a directed account with a financial specialist (This option is risky unless you direct the investment options of the financial specialist), or withdraw the funds and manage their investment themselves. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provided HECM mortgagors with the opportunity to purchase a new principal residence with HECM loan proceeds—the so-called HECM for Purchase program, effective January 2009. The program was designed to allow seniors to purchase a new principal residence and obtain a reverse mortgage within a single transaction by eliminating the need for a second closing. The program was also designed to enable senior homeowners to relocate to other geographical areas to be closer to family members or downsize to homes that meet their physical needs, i. e. , handrails, one-level properties, ramps, wider doorways, etc. Texas is the only state that does not allow for reverse mortgages for purchase. The cost of getting a reverse mortgage from a private sector lender may exceed the costs of other types of mortgage or equity conversion loans. Exact costs depend on the particular reverse mortgage program the borrower acquires. For the most popular type of reverse mortgage in the U. S. , the FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), there will be the following types of costs:In addition, a monthly service charge (between $25 and $35) is usually added monthly to the balance of the loan. In all of these cases, the costs of a reverse mortgage can be financed with the proceeds of the loan itself. Interest rates on reverse mortgages are determined on a program-by-program basis, because the loans are secured by the home itself, and backed by HUD, the interest rate should always be below any other available interest rate in the standard mortgage marketplace for an FHA reverse mortgage. Prior to 2007, all major reverse mortgage programs had adjustable interest rates. Such adjustable rate reverse mortgages are still being offered which are adjusted on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual rate up to a maximum rate. Several lenders now offer FHA HECM reverse mortgages that have fixed interest rates. Some fixed rate reverse mortgages limit the cash proceeds to half of that offered by adjustable rate reverse mortgages. The borrower(s) will be required to take out the entire amount offered at closing. Some state and local governments offer low-cost reverse mortgages to seniors. These "public sector" loans generally must be used for specific purposes, such as paying for home repairs or property taxes, but most of them often have more favorable interest rates and fewer or no fees associated with them. These programs are typically very restrictive in terms of qualification and location, and many regions, states, and areas do not have such programs at all. To apply for an FHA/HUD reverse mortgage, a borrower is required to complete a counseling session with a HUD-approved counselor. The counselor will explain the legal and financial obligations of a reverse mortgage. After the counseling session, the borrower receives a "certificate of counseling" that is required before the loan application can be processed. The American Bar Association guide advises that generally,The loan ends when the homeowner dies, sells the house, or, depending on the loan conditions, moves out of the house for 12 consecutive months (for example, to go into an assisted living home or, due to physical or mental illness, the borrower is not able to live in the property on which the loan has been taken). At that point, the reverse mortgage can be paid off with the proceeds of the sale of the house, or if the borrower has died, the property can be refinanced by the heirs of the homeowner's estate with a regular mortgage. If the proceeds exceed the loan amount including compounded interest and fees, the owner of the house receives the difference. If the owner has died, the heirs receive the difference. For cases where the proceeds are not sufficient to pay off the loan, then the bank (or insurance which the bank has on the loan) absorbs the difference. The technical term for this cap on debt is "non-recourse limit. " It means that the lender does not have legal recourse to anything other than the value of the home when the loan is to be paid off. In most cases when the borrower moves out of the property or dies, as long as the borrower (or his estate) provides proof to the lender that he/she is attempting to sell the home or obtain financing to pay off the outstanding debt, the investor will allow him up to one year to do so. After the one year extension period is up, the lender cannot provide any further extension of time to the borrower (or estate). Home Equity Conversion Mortgages account for 90% of all reverse mortgages originated in the U. S. As of May 2010, there were 493,815 active HECM loans. As of 2006, the number of HECM mortgages that HUD is authorized to insure under the reverse mortgage law was capped at 275,000. However, through the annual appropriations acts, Congress has temporarily extended HUD's authority to insure HECM's notwithstanding the statutory limits. Program growth in recent years has been very rapid. In fiscal year 2001, 7,781 HECM loans were originated. By the end of fiscal year 2008, the annual volume of HECM loans topped 112,000 representing a 1,300% increase in six years. For the first seven months of 2010 (ending July 31) 66,497 loans were originated and insured through the HECM program. Loan volume is expected to grow further as the U. S. population ages. The U. S. senior population is expected to increase from 35 million in 2000 to 64 million in 2025, and seniors are expected to make up a larger share of the population. A drawback to reverse mortgages are the high upfront costs. This upfront cost is tempered by the lower interest rate over time, but some seniors choose other options to draw on their home equity, particularly if they don't plan to remain at the property more than five years. Other options which can free up home equity but avoid the high upfront costs of a reverse mortgage include: 1) intra-family loan or sale-leaseback and, 2) selling and moving to a less expensive dwelling or location. However, when selling the homeowner incurs high closing costs including, typically, a 6% commission, moving costs, and purchase costs on the new dwelling. Currently, there is a coordinated government program called "Aging in Place" intended to assist homeowners wishing to remain in their home and/or neighborhood. Studies conducted by various agencies, including AARP, show that over 80% of elderly homeowners do not want to move. No cost and low cost mortgages are available for those homeowners who anticipate moving from the home in the near future. For example, they may select a home equity line of credit, commonly called a "HELOC", requiring interest-only payments for 10 years. These loans typically have very low (or zero) upfront costs but the interest rates are usually slightly higher than a reverse mortgage. Since monthly payments are required on a HELOC, borrowers need to qualify based on their income and credit score. Oftentimes, seniors who may be on a limited fixed income can't get approved for a HELOC for this reason. Reverse mortgages do not require monthly payments and, as a result, income and credit score are not considered as part of the approval process. Reverse mortgages have been criticized for three major shortcomings: