The Reverse Mortgage has been around for quite awhile but many people are unaware that the FHA has made them very viable and affordable in recent years. Early reverse mortgages were burdened with outrageously high fees that made them a poor option for nearly everyone. The feds however cracked down on the less desirable practices and the result is a fabulous opportunity to get paid for living in your own house.
The ideal situation for a reverse mortgage for the retiree looking to downsize that giant house that the kids were raised in. Let's say a homeowner is 62 years old and lives in a house that is worth $300,000 and has a debt owed of $150,000. That homeowner can sell the house and walk with roughly $130,000 in cash. Options include buying a smaller house valued at say $225,000 and putting $100,000 down and making a small payment for the next 30 years which is likely the rest of his life.
What if he were to take that $130,000 profit and put it down on a reverse mortgage for a nice smaller but upscale home valued at $260,000. Now that homeowner has a nicer home say in Fairway Village and instead of making payments to the bank the he lives in the house free of charge until he dies. Each month interest is added to the principle balance.
After the reverse mortgage is over the bank will sell the home. If the home clears more money than is owed after the owner dies, his estate will receive the remaining proceeds. If the balance owed is higher than the proceeds the bank takes that as a loss and no action is due on the part of the heirs.
These programs are not for everyone, but for many they are ideal. Any person nearing the age of 62 should sit down with a qualified reverse mortgage professional and take a look at the options. Although the cost of doing a reverse mortgage is much better than it used to be, they are still a bit more expensive than a traditional loan.
I have seen many happy folks retire right here in the great state of Washington with a reverse mortgage and cash to spend on the things you are supposed to do when you retire. Relax, travel and have fun!