Understanding reverse mortgages

Published 11:01am Friday, August 3, 2012

Just go to homeequityadvisor.org and click on their “Quick Check” tool which will ask you a series of questions about your personal and household situation to define exactly what you might need or want. Then, based on your answers, you’ll receive an individualized report offering information, tools, and consumer advice on a range of possible solutions that includes reverse mortgages and other alternatives.
If you find that you are a good candidate for a reverse mortgage, your next stop is at reversemortgage.org, a new consumer website created by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.
This site offers lots of educational information including “Your Road Map” which will help guide you through all the features of reverse mortgages and the process of obtaining one.
It also has a calculator to estimate how much you’d be eligible to receive from a reverse mortgage, and offers has a comprehensive directory of licensed HUD-approved mortgage lenders, banks, and credit unions that offer reverse mortgage loans in your state.
Get counseling
Another important resource to help you understand the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage and how it would work in your particular situation is through counseling.
In fact, because reverse mortgages are such complicated products, the federal government requires that all reverse mortgage borrowers receive counseling through a HUD approved independent counseling agency before they take out a HECM loan.
Counseling can be done in person or over the phone and some agencies today provide it for free or at a minimal fee. Some locations charge around $125. To locate counseling agencies in your area, visit hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/hecmhome.cfm or call 800-569-4287.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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