As Senior Housing Wealth Reaches New High, Is It Time To Consider A Reverse Mortgage?

Older homeowners continue to break home equity records as home values appreciate across the nation. In the first quarter of 2021 homeowners 62 and older saw their housing wealth grow by 3.4 percent or $305 billion from Q4 2020. 

That brought senior housing wealth to a record-breaking $9.23 trillion in the first quarter of the year, according to a quarterly index published by National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association and RiskSpan.

Reverse mortgages have become a critical component to helping fund retirement alongside other tools such as 401(k)s, IRAs, savings, investments, and Social Security. 

Because the amount available for the borrower through a reverse mortgage is based on the current appraised value of the home, today’s senior housing wealth numbers indicate this is a great time to explore the reverse mortgage option. The FHA insured reverse mortgage means even if the housing market were to become volatile in the future, the borrower will never owe more than the appraised value of the home at any given time.

Homeowners 62 and over, with significant equity in their home, may be eligible for a reverse mortgage.  These loans are typically insured by the FHA and provide non-taxable income to the borrowers based on the available equity in the home.  The more equity and the older the borrower, the more funds available.  The funds can be accessed via a line of credit, monthly installments, a lump sum, and even can be wrapped into the purchase of a new home.  The borrower can always use the funds for whatever they deem fit.

The homeowner will live mortgage payment free for as long as they remain in the home, although they will have a few financial obligations related to the house such as homeowners insurance, property taxes, utilities, and HOA fees.  As long as the borrowers keeps current on these few obligations, they cannot be evicted from the home or made to repay the loan.  The loan comes due once the last borrower has left the home for 12 consecutive months or passes away.  At this time the loan will be due and payable with time allotted to allow for transitions.  

This is where the FHA insurance comes in.

In the case of a death, the home with pass onto the heirs.  At this time they have two options – 1) Pay off the loan and keep the home (often through life insurance or sale of another asset), or 2) Sell the home.

In the scenario of loan repayment the heirs will never have to repay any more than the home is appraised for.  They will only be required to pay 95% of the appraised home value or the full amount of the loan, whichever is less.  Any amount due on the loan above the appraised amount will be covered by the FHA insurance and no one will be held liable.

In the case of a home sale, the heirs will never be required to pay more on the loan than the home sells for as long as the sale price is at least 95% of the appraised value.  Any remaining balance will be covered by the FHA insurance.  On the other hand, if the home sells for more than the loan balance, the heirs will keep any remaining funds.   This is especially important as over the years the housing market shifts.

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

 

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