If you’ve reached the point you are ready to apply for a reverse mortgage, you have likely done a fair amount of research (and if you haven’t, feel free to read through the informational articles here on my blog). So what comes next? Here’s a quick run down of what to expect…
Age qualifications. You’re probably aware the borrower needs to be age 62 or older to qualify, but in the case of married couples who both want to be on the loan, both borrowers will need to be 62 or older. In addition, the loan amount will be calculated of the age of the youngest borrower, with the older the borrower, the more funds available.
Does your home qualify? Not every residence qualifies for a reverse mortgage but many do. The home must be HUD and FHA approved. These include: single family or a 2-4 unit homes with one unit occupied by the borrower, as well as some condominiums and manufactured homes. If you’re looking to purchase a home with a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase, any new construction must have a certificate of occupancy. Once it’s determined your home qualifies, an appraisal will be done to determine it’s value.
Financial Assessment. In some recent changes made by HUD to ensure the continued progress of the reverse mortgage industry, a financial assessment became part of the application process. This is set up to make sure borrowers are financially stable enough to continue to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other related costs to the home, although once a reverse mortgage is obtained on the home, there are NO mortgage or loan payments. Although the financial assessment is similar to that with a traditional mortgage, if borrowers don’t meet the traditional criteria, there are still options through a Fully-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside, which is an amount drawn under the HECM that is reserved for payment of property taxes and insurance by the lender; or a Partialy-Funded Life Expectancy Set-Aside which works the same as the Fully-Funded option except a smaller reserve is drawn when borrowers meet credit requirements but not income requirements. The amount of both of these reserves is determined by the age of the borrower and the value of the home.
During these first steps, it’s incredibly important to work with a trusted and reputable reverse mortgage advisor and lender. You should never feel pressured or feel your concerns and/or questions aren’t being addressed. Also watch out for scams that some homeowners can easily fall prey to.
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.