What You Need to Know Before You Get a Reverse Mortgage

 A reverse mortgage is essentially a loan in which homeowners aged 62 and over who have built up home equity may borrow money against the value of their house. These homeowners may get the funds as a line of credit, a flat sum, or a fixed monthly payment.

In contrast to the mortgage used to buy the property in the first place, this kind of financing does not require the homeowner to make any payments. Although this is a perfect situation for many people who have reached retirement age, there are some aspects you should be aware of before entering into a reverse mortgage.

How Does It Work?

Recognizing “How does a reverse mortgage work?” is crucial. 

A reverse mortgage enables homeowners over the age of 62 to borrow against the value of their property without making mortgage payments.

The age of the youngest borrower, the value of the home, and the current interest rates all play a part in determining the amount of money that may be collected via a reverse mortgage. The money you got is tax-free, and you are free to use it however you see fit. You may take the money as a lump sum, a line of credit, monthly payments, or any combination of these.

The debt becomes overdue and must be repaid when the last surviving borrower dies, permanently moves out of the residence, or ceases paying property taxes or homeowner’s insurance. If the debt is repaid, the borrower’s heirs or beneficiaries, as named in their will or trust, would get any remaining equity in the property.

Types of Reverse Mortgages

  • Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgages

State, municipal, and nonprofit agencies may provide borrowers with this kind of reverse mortgage with a specific goal. It is the most cost-effective option for a reverse mortgage because the government and other nonprofit organizations financially support it. As a result, homeowners may expect to pay less in total interest and fees for a single-purpose reverse mortgage.

  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

It is the most common kind of reverse mortgage preferred by homeowners. The interest rates and fees are lower as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures these loans.  Since its inception in 1988, the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) has been a viable alternative for older persons in the United States to stay in their homes. whether you want your reverse mortgage to be as flexible as possible, check with your lender to see whether this kind of loan is available. You are free to use the money towards whatever you like, including your monthly payments and home upgrades. A terrific resource on how to shop for a hecm can be found here.

  • Proprietary Reverse Mortgage

You might consider getting a private reverse mortgage if the value of your property is higher than the HECM’s maximum allowable value or if your home does not meet the FHA’s requirements for a HECM. There are no restrictions on how these loans, made accessible by private lenders, may be used, and the amount that can be borrowed is not restricted at any moment.

Do You Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?

For a reverse mortgage to be considered, at least one of the applicants must be 62 or older. To qualify, you must have a significant amount of equity in your home—typically at least 50%—and the property must be your primary residence. 

A lender will also expect you to meet the financial obligations that come with home ownership, such as completing regular maintenance and paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and HOA fees. Furthermore, as part of the application process, you may be asked to attend a mandatory counseling session given by a qualified nonprofit agency. 

Paying Off a Reverse Mortgage

As long as the homeowner keeps living on the property and makes regular taxes, insurance, and maintenance payments, they are not required to bring back the money. Most borrowers are obliged to begin paying payments if the homeowner dies, sells the house, or moves out for at least a year. If a couple jointly owns a house and one of them dies, the surviving spouse is allowed to continue living there without being compelled to make loan payments until he or she dies, sells the home, or moves out for twelve months.

When it comes time to repay the loan, you or your estate will be liable for both the principal and the interest that has accrued. Keep in mind that the interest expense has the potential to build up quickly. If you take out the loan in your 60s and continue to live in the same house until you’re in your 80s, the interest you’ll have to pay might be significant. 


Reverse mortgages may be an excellent financial choice for homeowners, enabling them to receive income without raising their tax liability. Although the interest rates may be higher than those of other mortgage and loan products, the benefits of being able to stay in your existing home and neighborhood may outweigh these additional costs. They might be a great way to offer money to your children and grandchildren without paying taxes on it while you are still alive.

Because reverse mortgages are not suitable for every situation, it is important to do thorough research on every option and seek the guidance of an experienced mortgage professional before making the final decision to ensure that all details are recognized.