Prior 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 third party, 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, as well as to answer any questions.
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.
About Reverse Mortgages
Reverse mortgage are available to seniors 62 and older, including married couples. These non-recourse loans allow retirees to live mortgage payment free while tapping into the equity of their home. How they use the funds is entirely up to them.
The money can be accessed in a variety of ways – including monthly installments, line of credit, and even can be used to purchase a home. The loan will only come due when the last borrower leaves the home permanently or passes away, at which time the heirs will have several options when deciding what they want to do with the home, but because it is a non-recourse loan no one will every be “saddled” with debt as is a common misconception.
Janis Layman is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Seattle, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Shoreline areas of Washington. Contact Janis and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.