By Alain Valles, CRMP, CSA, MS, MBA
Too many ads and TV commercials only highlight the benefits of reverse mortgages, and are silent about the cost and risks. As Managing Director of Helping Hands Community Partners, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, our mission is to educate people about senior housing options and, when appropriate, arrange a reverse mortgage for qualified individuals.
Get accurate information
The first step regarding reverse mortgages is to get accurate information. Reverse mortgages are a government insured home loan program that allows qualified senior homeowners the ability to access cash whenever needed in the form of a lump sum, monthly amount, and/or a line of credit. For thousands of people, this has been an excellent approach to having extra cashflow for retirement, home repairs, paying off credit cards and other debts, medical expenses, divorce, back real estate taxes, or just peace of mind knowing money is available if needed.
How do I qualify for a reverse mortgage?
The following are the initial questions that we ask to determine if you qualify:
- Age (at least one homeowner must be at least 62 years old)
- Property type (single family, condo, or multifamily)
- Estimated home value (must be your primary residence)
- Current mortgage balance, if any (property does not have to be free and clear)
- Have the real estate taxes and insurance been paid on time for the past two years (if not, you may still qualify)
- Source and amount of monthly income
How much money can I get?
Based on the answers you share with us, we then calculate the maximum available reverse mortgage benefits. We never encourage you to borrow the maximum amount. The total amount is different for everyone so it’s important to obtain a specific comparison of different options for your situation. Just give us a call or email.
What is the first step in the process?
The first step is to call or email us. We’ll review your personal situation, goals and begin discussing if you qualify. If you’re interested in more information, we will meet with you to review the cost, benefits, guidelines, forms, counseling requirements and different options to receiving the cash. Our goal is to share information with you so that you may make a fully educated decision if a reverse mortgage is right for you.
Is there any information you can send me?
Yes. A great place to get information is the free “How to Use Your Home to Stay at Home” book. This is the official reverse mortgage consumer booklet approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and published by the National Council on Aging. The free “25 Ways to Use a Reverse Mortgage” from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association lists the many ways a reverse Mortgage can help with retirement.
Please give me a call or email with your questions and to receive your free copy of “Use Your Home to Stay at Home” and “25 Ways to Use a Reverse Mortgage.”
Alain Valles is Managing Director of Helping Hands Community Partners, Inc. and was the first designated Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional in New England. He obtained a Master of Science from the M.I.T. Center for Real Estate, an MBA from the Wharton School, and graduated summa cum laude from UMass Amherst. He can be reached directly at 781-724-6221 or by email at [email protected]. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.