Reversed Mortgages in the United States

Reversed Mortgages in the United States

by David Redmond on 3 Aug, 2011

A reverse mortgage is a form of equity release (or lifetime mortgage) available in the United States. It is a loan available to seniors aged 62 or older, per HUD, and is used to release the home equity in the property as one lump sum or multiple payments. The homeowner’s obligation to repay the loan is deferred until the owner dies, the home is sold, or the owner leaves. The owner can be out of the home for up to 364 consecutive days (i.e., into aged care).

In a conventional mortgage the homeowner makes a monthly amortized payment to the lender; after each payment the equity increases within his or her property, and typically after the end of the term the mortgage has been paid in full and the property is released from the lender and becomes fully and solely owned by the homeowner.

In a reverse mortgage, the home owner makes no payments and all interest is added to the lien on the property. If the owner receives monthly payments, or a bulk payment of the available equity percentage for their age, then the debt on the property increases each month. If a property has increased in value after a reverse mortgage is taken out, it is possible to acquire a second (or third) reverse mortgage over the increased equity in the home in some areas.

However most lenders do not like to take a second or third lien position behind a reverse mortgage because its balance increases with time. It is rare to find reverse mortgages with subordinate liens behind them as a result. A reverse mortgage may be refinanced if enough equity is present in the home, and in some cases may qualify for a streamline refinance if the interest rate is reduced.

A reverse mortgage lien is often recorded at a higher dollar amount than the amount of money actually disbursed at the loan closing. This recorded lien is at times misunderstood by some borrowers as being the payoff amount of the mortgage. The recorded lien works in similar fashion to a home equity line of credit where the lien represents the maximum lending limit, but the payoff is calculated based on actual disbursements plus interest owing.

Are reverse mortgages a future of UK’s lending market?

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_mortgage

About the Author

David Redmond


David Redmond is a Partner of Don Gilliard Finance Group. He is a fee-only, independent financial advisor and financial planner. For over 15 years, he has been helping individual investors and their families realize their investment goals.