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Is a Reverse Mortgage Good for Me?
by Ken Go
A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in the home that provides tax-free cash advances, but requires no payments during the term of the loan. Since there are no monthly payments during the life of the loan, the balance grows larger and t

A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity in the home that provides tax-free cash advances, but requires no payments during the term of the loan. Since there are no monthly payments during the life of the loan, the balance grows larger and the equity gets smaller. Meaning the interest in accrued to your balance.

The loan is not due and payable until the borrower no longer occupies the home as a principal residence, e.g. the last surviving borrower sells, moves out permanently or passes away.

You must be at least 62 and own your own home or condominium in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. There are no income or credit requirements to qualify. Based on the amount of benefit, which you qualify for, you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage even if you still owe money on your first mortgage.

Another benefit of these loans is that they are "non recourse," which means that no matter how high the loan balance grows, the borrower or their heirs never owe more than the home's market value.

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be used for anything: daily living expenses; home repairs and home improvements; medical bills and prescription drugs; pay-off of existing debts; education; travel; long-term health care; retirement and estate tax planning; and other needs you may have.

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage are available as a lump sum, fixed monthly payments for as long as you live in the property, a line of credit; or a combination of these options. The amount of benefit that you will qualify for will depend on your age at the time you apply for the loan, the type of reverse mortgage you choose, the value of your home, current interest rates, and, for some products, where you live. As a general rule, the older you are and the greater your equity, the larger the reverse mortgage benefit will be.

The costs associated with getting a reverse mortgage are similar to those with a conventional mortgage, such as the origination fee, appraisal and inspection fees, title policy, mortgage insurance and other normal closing costs. With a reverse mortgage, all of these costs can be financed as part of the mortgage. In other words, fees are collected at the back end or when the property is due. The interest on these mortgages are typically adjustable, so be clear with which types of ARM loans you are tied to.

You must first meet with an independent reverse mortgage counselor before applying for a reverse mortgage. The counselor's job is to educate you about reverse mortgages, to inform you about other alternative options available to you given your situation, and to assist you in determining which particular reverse mortgage product would best fit your needs if you elect to get a reverse mortgage. This counseling session is at no cost to the borrower and can be done in person or over the telephone.

Advantages of a reverse mortgage :

a) Avoid having to make mortgage payments and managing the account.
b) Cash out money upfront and still collect a monthly distribution of your equity.
c) No qualifying loan.


a) Slightly higher closing fees.
b) Fewer choices on the terms of the loan.
c) Have to qualify for the loan.

Ken Go has been running his southern California home loans business since 1987. His honesty and courtesy equal loyalty to his customers. Forget about "good faith estimates." With 1st Innovative Finance Group, all loan rates and fees are guaranteed upon application. Ken Go writes a California home loans blog for anyone who might want free advice about financing a home with a mortgage. Ken speaks English, Chinese, and Filipino (Tagalog).

The site is not responsible for any content in it. E-mail: alldir[at]gmx[dot]com
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