In continuing my series of “Terms to Know”, this third installment goes over some very common acronyms used in the reverse mortgage industry. Understanding what these mean can help with understanding on a more detailed level when doing research or speaking with a specialist, as well as when applying for or finalizing the loan. You can find “Terms to Know- Part 1” of this series here, and “Terms to Know – Interest Rates”, by clicking here.
There are a few notable agencies involved in the federally created reverse mortgage system. These are HUD, FHA, and AAA. All are designed to help the one seeking a reverse mortgage understand the process and proceed safely. Like any product where the lender is receiving advantage alongside the borrower, it is good to be cautioned about scams. The best route when considering a reverse mortgage is to always work with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist.
The HUD is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They not only instituted the reverse mortgage (aka HECM – Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) program, but also provide solid third party counselors to help you sift through the options and make sure all questions are answered. The FHA is the Federal Housing Administration. It is the part of the HUD that insures reverse mortgages.
The AAA stands for Area Agency for Aging. This organization provides information and resources for aging adults. They can be found as non-profit agencies right in your town or region. Not only can you find information about the variety of reverse mortgage options but many other resources available to senior citizens.
A reverse mortgage can be called both HECM and Reverse Mortgage, but they are the same thing, the terms are interchangeable. They are also often referred to as Federally Insured or FHA Insured Reverse Mortgages. Another term you may run across is Model Specifications; these are recommended rules for both analyzing and comparing reverse mortgages.
Reverse mortgages are available to seniors 62 and over, including married couples. The funds can be accessed in a variety of ways including monthly installments, a line of credit, a lump sum, and to purchase a home. Homeowners with a reverse mortgage will be able to stay in the home as long as they desire and they will NEVER have a loan payment until the last borrower permanently leaves the residence.
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.