Category: Information for Financial Planners

What To Look For In A Reverse Mortgage Lender

reverse mortgage colorado loveland fort collins longmont greeley boulderFor many retirees, a reverse mortgage is a feasible option to living the golden years they always dreamed of, or for others it may be a path to living within a budget without the constraints and worry of excessive financial distress.  In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the individual must own their home, be at least 62 years old, and have some equity in the home.  In general, the older the borrower (or the youngest borrower in the case of married couples) and the more valuable the home, the more reverse mortgage funds will be available.  Other factors also come into play, such as: the appraised home value, interest rates, and the amount of equity in the home.  Once a basic understanding of how a reverse mortgage works, the next step is finding a lender.

Where to find a lender?

Reverse mortgages are marketed in every possible way.  Television, radio, mailers, internet, etc.  Although not all of these methods ensure trouble, some of them can be scams.  When seeking a reverse mortgage lender, it’s important to speak with people you trust.  Ask around at your bank or financial institution.  Speak with a financial or retirement adviser.  Talk with neighbors or friends who have utilized a reverse mortgage.  Seek information from the local Chamber of Commerce or Senior Centers.   Utilize other resources that may be available in your community.

What to look for in a reverse mortgage lender?

Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender is critical.  It can be risky to get involved with a lender who does not offer all the details or who is just looking to make a “quick sell”.   A reputable lender will have strong connections in the community, working closely with a network of professional organizations.

Accreditation and ratings?

Seek out a lender that is a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).  Members of the NRMLA must conform to a strict code of lending ethic.  Look for a lender that is affiliated with the  Better Business Bureau (BBB), where you can also learn of any complaints against the company.

Follow your gut.

When it comes down to it, always follow your gut.  Just because a lender may meet all this criteria doesn’t mean they will be right for you.  If you do not feel comfortable or feel your questions are not being adequately answered, there is nothing wrong with seeking out a different lender.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Will A Reverse Mortgage Affect Social Security, Medicare & Pension?

Reverse Mortgage for Purchase Loveland Fort Collins Greeley Longmont Westminster Colorado Cheyenne Laramie WyomingA very common concern among seniors and adult children when considering a reverse mortgage is how it will affect social security, medicare, and even certain pensions.  For many seniors, these benefits are a large part of their income. Fortunately, because the funds from a reverse mortgage are NOT considered taxable income, a borrower’s benefits will not be affected when taking out a reverse mortgage.

On the other hand, borrowers who have Medicaid, TANF, Food Stamps or SSI may see those benefits affected by this additional income.   Because these programs are government sponsored programs with strict approval guidelines based on all sources of income, even non-taxable income, there is a possibility the additional cash flow will need reported.  Other supplemental and assistance programs would need to be addressed on a case by case basis.  Working with a reputable reverse mortgage lender and required third party counseling will ensure all your questions are answered thoroughly and honestly.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners 62 and older.  The proceeds can be received as a lump sum, as monthly installments, or a reverse line of credit and can be used for any purpose the borrower sees fit.  This FHA insured loan allows the borrower(s) to live mortgage payment free.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado as well as Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.  

Can Reverse Mortgage Help You Achieve Your Retirement Vision?

Reverse Mortgage Colorado Fort Collins Loveland Berthoud Greeley WindsorIn an era where “retirement” has taken on whole new meaning and commonly lasts for two or three decades, more and more retirees are ready to live the latter part of their life to the fullest.  They see this as a time to enjoy life after years of working and raising a family.  But in order to achieve these goals retirees need a plan, but first they need a vision.

For those ready to realize their retirement dreams, start by asking some simple questions:

If your retirement could be anything you hoped for, what would it include?  Would you buy a vacation home?  Move closer to family and grandkids?  Take a yearly cruise?  Visit Europe?  Volunteer with your most passionate charity?  By articulating your desires, you can better prioritize your wants and needs, and consider these costs when developing a retirement plan.

Determine other expenditures that may hinder these goals.  Healthcare, home modifications and improvements, debt, and other scenarios like this are the most common.  These expenses can arise later in retirement, so preparing for them upfront is often an important consideration.

What are the expectations between yourself, your spouse (if you have one), and your family?  It’s amazing how often what is assumed and what is reality vary greatly.  So many retirees feel they need to hold on to their assets because they want to pass a home or a vast inheritance down to their children, yet their children would much rather see their parents live their two or three decade retirement to the fullest.  Make sure the lines of communication are open and no one is afraid to ask tough questions.  The answers may be surprising.

No matter what your retirement vision is, reverse mortgage can help you achieve it.  For seniors 62 and over a reverse mortgage can provide funds to achieve goals, frees up those strapped by limited incomes, and even help purchase a new home.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado as well as Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Dissecting The Differences In Reverse Mortgage Professionals

reverse mortgage colorado loveland fort collins longmont greeley boulderWhen you start navigating the waters of reverse mortgages, you will undoubtedly come across MANY different companies and individuals ready and willing to help.  Flashy ads, website calculators, famous spokesmen, and more.  But who are all these people?  And what is the difference between them?  How do you know what is the best fit for YOU?

Here’s some information I think anyone considering a reverse mortgage needs to know about the various professionals who work in the industry:

Banks and Credit Unions – Most local banks and credit unions do not offer reverse mortgage loans, although sometimes the larger ones will.  Unfortunately seeking a loan through them can often mean little or no face-to-face time, and it’s not uncommon for these banks to leave the industry down the road.  At one time Wells Fargo and Bank of America were in the business, but they quit, leaving their borrowers with loans that few employees can understand and little help if reverse mortgage customers need it. 

Brokers – A reverse mortgage broker is a third party individual that is licensed by the state but doesn’t work directly with a lender, instead they essentially shop the marketplace.  When working with a broker, borrowers will pay higher fees because they will have to cover the costs of the broker.  In addition, because all transactions run through a third party, things can easily get slowed down or even stalled completely.

Direct Lender Specialists – This is the category I fall into.  Working directly with a lender that specializes in FHA insured HECM reverse mortgages, such as Retirement Funding Solutions, direct lender specialists are able to offer local, personal, face-to-face time with clients, and eliminate the need for costly third-party fees.  We are able to do all this while ensuring the smoothest, most efficient transaction possible because they are handling the loan and not farming it out to another company.

Reverse mortgages are available to individuals and married couples age 62 and older.  These FHA insured loans allow homeowners to live mortgage and loan payment free until they pass away, permanently leave the home (meaning 12 consecutive months), or they default on financial responsibilities associated with the home, such asproperty taxes or homeowner’s insurance.  The funds are available via monthly installments, a line of credit, a lump sum, or even to purchase a home

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

What Will I Be Responsible For After I Get A Reverse Mortgage?

reverse mortgage colorado fort collins loveland greeleyReverse Mortgages have helped millions of seniors live more plentiful lives as they age.  Homeowners and their spouses over the age of 62 are eligible for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), but although they will NOT have a monthly mortgage payment to pay, they are still responsible for some financial obligations regarding the home.  These include:

Property Taxes:

Just as with a conventional home loan, a reverse mortgage homeowner is always responsible for paying their property taxes.  Your particular county or city may have a program that allows you to defer a portion of your property tax.  Homeowners can contact their county human services office for more information.

Homeowners Insurance:

Just as with any conventional home loan, reverse mortgage holders are required to purchase and maintain homeowners insurance.  This yearly expense is something that should be discussed with your lender and a reverse mortgage counselor to ensure the homeowner understands their options and a plan is put in place to keep insurance current.

Home Maintenance: 

The homeowner or their family will be responsible for continuing to maintain and upkeep the home.  Because a reverse mortgage uses the equity available in the home to make it’s monthly mortgage payments, if major repairs are needed the homeowners will not be eligible for a home equity loan or similar.  It’s important to keep this in mind, especially when homeowners elect to receive their reverse mortgage funds in one lump sum.  Again, discussing this with your lender can help ensure you have planned to have funds available should a major home repair be needed.

Ultimately, understanding and planning for these expenses is key to being prepared in the years to come.  Working with and asking questions of a reputable reverse mortgage lender, as well as a reverse mortgage counselor, can help alleviate any concerns a homeowner may have.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Is Reverse Mortgage Good Financial Strategy?

Reverse mortgages are available to seniors 62 and over who either have their home paid off or have substantial equity.  Certain criteria applies to the home in order to meet HUD’s rules, and although anyone on the loan must be 62 and over, they are available to married couples the same as individuals.  The funds available from these FHA insured loans are available in various ways including monthly installments, a lump sum, a line of credit, and as a purchase option.  Even with all these funding choices, reverse mortgages are not right for everyone but they are a perfect match for many.

When is Reverse Mortgage a good financial strategy?

reverse mortgage loveland fort collins greeley longmont westminster coloradoThink of reverse mortgage as a financial tool that turns home equity into cash WITHOUT incurring a loan payment, unlike a traditional mortgage or home equity loan.  No repayment is due as long as the borrower is living in the home.  This also goes for married couples, in which case no repayment would be due until the last borrower permanently leaves the home.  The borrower will still be responsible for some things related to the home, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

Reverse mortgages are increasing in popularity as more retirement and financial planners are recommending their use as a potential tool.  Typically retirement planners have used a three legged stool as an example for their clients – saving, social security, and pensions make up this visual structure.  But with changes in the economy and uncertain futures, pensions are disappearing.  In this scenario, those who are “house rich, but cash poor” may find using home equity to balance out the stool is a saving grace.  In addition, for those secure in all three areas, adding home equity can be used as a safety net or to delay, thus enhance, certain areas.

The reverse mortgage industry underwent some changes last year as legislation was passed making these loans a safer option for both borrowers and lenders.  As a result, the reputation that once surrounded the industry has drastically improved and their use is being studied by some of the most prominent retirement experts.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Here’s How To Know If Your Home Qualifies For A Reverse Mortgage

Jan Jordan Blog : Reverse Mortgage Loveland Fort Collins Greeley Longmont ColoradoReverse Mortgages are a specialized loan available to seniors 62 and over.  This creative resource is used by a wide demographic – from those looking to supplement a fixed income, to the more affluent in need of protection for retirement assets, and even those wanting to purchase a home in retirement.  But there are some requirements when it comes to the actual home…

Which types of homes are included? 

According the HUD’s Federal Housing Administration, the home must be a single family home or a 2-4 unit home with one unit occupied by the borrower. Some condominiums and manufactured homes that are approved by HUD also meet FHA requirements.

In the case of a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, borrowers can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a single family home or 2-4 unit home with completed construction that has received a certificate of occupancy.

Are there reasons my home may not qualify?

A home with very little equity may not qualify, although homes with existing mortgages may.

In addition, homes must be maintained with general upkeep and be current on property taxes and other expenses relevant to the home.

A second home or vacation home may not qualify.  The borrower must be living (or plan to live) in the home.

Bottom line

The funds from a reverse mortgage can be accessed via a lump sum, line of credit, monthly installments, or to purchase a home. If you have questions let your specialist guide you in the many scenarios that are possible and the two of you can think creatively about your needs and desires.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

What Is Required Reverse Mortgage Counseling?

reverse mortgage loveland fort collins greeley longmont westminster coloradoPrior to being approved for a reverse mortgage, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires each borrow to participate in a counseling session with an approved agency. These not-for-profit agencies are funded by the federal government and work closely with both the FHA and lenders to ensure a smooth process.

The goal of this session is not to steer a potential borrower in one direction or another, but to make sure they clearly understand all aspects of a reverse mortgage.

Here is what you can expect at your counseling session:

The potential borrower will need to schedule an appointment directly with a counseling agency. The lender does not initiate or take part in the session, but can provide you with resources to seek out a counselor. The session will take place in person or over the phone – although the FHA recommends a face-to-face meeting whenever possible.

Prior to your appointment, the counseling agency will provide you with a packet of information to allow you to prepare for the session. During the session the counselor will discuss your immediate and long-term financial needs, your reasons for seeking out a reverse mortgage, address any questions or concerns you may have, and clearly educate you on the process as well as the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. Again, they are not there to “sell” you on the product, but to educate instead.

Once you have completed the counseling session, you will be provided with a “Certificate of Completion”. This certificate verifies to your lender that you have completed the counseling session and that you understand the essentials of a reverse mortgage. Your counselor will also follow up with you to ensure you have no further needs, questions, or concerns.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Three Things You Never Knew About A Reverse Mortgage

reverse mortgage loveland fort collins greeley longmont westminster coloradoReverse mortgages are available to senior homeowners 62 and over, even married couples.  The borrower will live mortgage payment free and always retain the title to the home.  There are many myths and misconceptions that surround reverse mortgages – but there are also some not-so-known perks to the loans.  

Here are my top three:

1.) Most Reverse Mortgages are Insured By the FHA

It is normal for older adults to be concerned with the welfare of their children after their passing. This is one of the reasons many seniors balk at the idea of a reverse mortgage – they don’t want to “saddle their children with their debt.”  

Fortunately, there are safeguards in place to address this issue.

Almost all reverse mortgage are FHA insured. This means under current guidelines there is a large equity reserve that will always protect their home from going upside down.  Even if the homeowner lives to be 110, has used all the equity in the home, and the market has crashed – the heir will NEVER owe more than the home is worth.  FHA/HUD have guaranteed that they will cover the bank’s losses should the situation arise.  This leaves the homeowner and their estate protected against any possible losses.  

It’s important to also know that on the flip side, if the home is worth more than it sells for after the owners passing, the heirs will receive any excess equity available.  The bank will never take more than what is needed to pay off the loan. 

2.) Reverse Mortgages Have the Option of a Growth Line of Credit

For many years, there were only two ways to tap into home equity when obtaining a reverse mortgage – a lump sum or monthly installments.  This is has changed and HUD has added two new options – a Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit (HECM-LOC) which works similar to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), with the exception the borrowers will NOT be required to make repayments, and the other option is a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, which allows seniors to use a reverse mortgage to make a home purchase. 

The line of credit is just as it sounds, it is a line of credit with funds that are available for the homeowner to take when they need it. But the major benefit to this line of credit is it also has a growth factor attached to it. This means that any money left in the line of credit will grow at a rate that is equal to the interest rate and mortgage insurance rates on the loan. 

Here’s an example:

Imagine your HECM-LOC has an interest rate of 4.5% and a mortgage insurance rate of .5%. The combined rate is 5.0%.  You have $100,000 in this line of credit which you don’t plan on using for 15 years unless you need it. That $100,000 is going to grow by 5% annually until you begin accessing those funds.

After year one this line of credit is up to $105,000. After year five the LOC is up to $127,500. And After 15 years the total funds in the line of credit are up to nearly $208,000. In 15 years, that 5% return has grown his available funds by 108%!

3.) A Reverse Mortgage Can Be Used To Purchase A Home

Although the Reverse Mortgage for Purchase program has been around for some years, it’s still relatively unknown – even in the real estate community. 

Reverse mortgages are an excellent option for retirees looking to buy a home near or far.  These loans require a down payment at the time of purchase, but beyond that there are quite a few differences than using a conventional mortgage.  

Borrowers are often able to purchase outside their expected “cash purchase” price range, because the cash is used as a down payment and the remainder of the purchase amount is covered under the reverse mortgage loan, while the borrower lives mortgage payment free.  The borrower will also always retain the title to the home, just as they would with a conventional mortgage.  These loans are also FHA insured, so everything discussed above still applies in that regard. The borrower can own other properties and still qualify as long as the home being purchased is their primary residence.  

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado, as well as the Cheyenne and Laramie communities of Wyoming.  Contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.


Tips for Selling an Inherited Property

reverse mortgage loveland fort collins greeley longmont westminster coloradoSelling an inherited home can be one of the most difficult situations for both realtor and seller. It can be an overwhelming experience, filled with emotion and lots of questions.

While talking about it is hard, it is smart to be prepared. This includes having conversations as a family to determine who will be included in the will to inherit the home, where the deed to the home is kept and where other paperwork is located.

It’s important to remember that each situation is unique, but regardless of the individual situation there are certain ways you can plan.

Here are four tips to help prepare to sell an inherited home:

Work with a Strong Team of Professionals

This is not a task you want to take on alone, and in addition, you want to work with people who are skilled in this area.  This will include a real estate agent, estate lawyer and potentially a tax specialist.

A real estate agent can offer crucial, local market information that is helpful if the heir does not live nearby.

Lawyers and tax specialists can help with important information such as how it will affect the estate and the tax implications the heir may face due to the sale.

Get Organized and Do a Walk Through

Going from room to room and looking at everything from the condition of the floors to how fresh the paint looks can help determine what may need to be done to the home to help it sell quickly.

If the inherited property is older, a home inspection is important before making any decisions as there may be certain systems that need renovations.

Equally important is to gather all of the necessary paperwork such as the deed to the home as well as researching whether there are any mortgages on the inherited property that need to be paid.

Even if the original mortgage was paid off, a reverse mortgage may have been negotiated to help cover expenses. Also look into local property taxes and when they were last paid.

Get the Home Appraised and Price it Correctly

A real estate agent can also provide counsel on an appropriate listing price to match market value. If the heir happens to live out of town, a real estate agent can offer direction to competent inspectors to complete the appraisal, as well as other professionals to assist in the home selling process.

Consider Staging and Cosmetic Improvements

It’s not uncommon for the interior of an inherited property to be outdated.  Staging and making cosmetic improvements can really make a difference in these situations. 

If you’re not sure staging is necessary, ask your real estate agent.  They have a good pulse on similar homes on the market, when you may not. They may also suggest making home design improvements such as repainting rooms and/or landscaping.

Other points to consider are landscaping and the exterior of the home.  Even if the inside is top-notch, don’t make getting them through the front door a challenge.

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and other Front Range areas of Colorado, as well as the Cheyenne and Laramie communities of Wyoming. Contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.