A reverse mortgage is a mortgage loan, secured by a residential property, that enables the borrower to access the unencumbered value of the property. The loans are promoted to older homeowners (you must be at least 62 years old to qualify) and typically do not require monthly mortgage payments. Borrowers are still responsible for property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Reverse mortgages allow elders to access the home equity they have built up in their homes now, and defer payment of the loan until they die, sell, or move out of the home. Because there are no required mortgage payments on a reverse mortgage, the interest is added to the loan balance each month. The rising loan balance can eventually grow to exceed the value of the home, particularly in times of declining home values or if the borrower continues to live in the home for many years. However, the borrower (or the borrower's estate) is generally not required to repay any additional loan balance in excess of the value of the home.
In the United States, the FHA-insured HECM (home equity conversion mortgage) aka reverse mortgage, is a non-recourse loan. In simple terms, the borrowers are not responsible to repay any loan balance that exceeds the net-sales proceeds of their home. For example, if the last borrower left the home and the loan balance on their FHA-insured reverse mortgage was $125,000, and the home sold for $100,000, neither the borrower or their heirs would be responsible for the $25,000 on the reverse mortgage loan that exceeded the value of their home. The extra $25,000 would be paid from the FHA insurance that was purchased when the HECM loan was originated.
The popularity of reverse mortgages has skyrocketed in recent years. They can be a very important piece of an effective retirement plan. Please contact your Admiral Mortgage Services representative for more information.