By Alain Valles, CRMP, CSA, MS, MBA, Nonprofit Charitable Managing Director
I have a new best friend, Bill Noyes. When Bill meets someone, he’ll say his name is spelled “No Yes” but is pronounced “Noise.” Bill gave me permission to share his story about going from “No” to “Noise” to “Yes” with the hope he’ll be able to help others.
Bill just turned 81 years young. A proud veteran. Met his sweetheart in her teens. Enjoyed raising their children, motorcycle racing, playing cards, and entertaining their many friends. Bill lived happily married in the same home for over 50 years until sadly he lost the love of his life to cancer three years ago.
Bill loves his home and all the fond memories but was becoming increasingly worried about having the cash flow and resources to remain financially independent. Increasing real estate taxes, medical expenses, and living costs were outpacing his fixed income of social security and a small pension. Bill wanted new siding, to be able to pay off a small home equity line, and, most importantly, to feel less stressed about not having enough money if ever needed.
Bill is not alone. Studies show that millions of older homeowners’ desire to live independently in their homes but are concerned on how to financially achieve this goal. Bill took the initiative to look at obtaining a mortgage.
Without his wife’s social security income, Bill no longer qualified for a traditional mortgage or new bank home equity line and, even if he did, he would not be able to afford the monthly payments. And that is when Bill thought about obtaining a reverse mortgage.
As I spoke with Bill, his name suddenly epitomized the journey senior homeowners face when contemplating a reverse mortgage. We chuckled about his name Noyes – “No, Noise, Yes.”
- Bill asked his friends and family about what they thought about reverse mortgages. It seemed everyone had heard about them and everybody said NO – they’re bad, you lose your house to the government, they’re expensive, you must make a monthly payment, there’ll be nothing left to leave to the kids, and it’s only for desperate people.
NOISE. For Bill, if that was all true then why would anyone would get one? Bill started searching the internet about reverse mortgages. He even regrettably filled out information on the web to only be bombarded with calls from salespeople. Bill shared how the TV infomercials, telemarketing calls, and junk mail had created so much “noise” that he felt overwhelmed. Fortunately, Bill read an article about how our self-funded nonprofit charitable organization, Helping Hands Community Partners, focuses on educating people about senior housing options and, when appropriate, may arrange reverse mortgages. Bill gave me a call and we agreed to meet.
YES. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Bill’s life story and future goals. We invested over three hours discussing the pros, cons, and myths about reverse mortgages. I had the pleasure of explaining how a reverse mortgage gives the option of never having to make a monthly payment, ability to increase monthly cash flow, providing funds for home repairs, and perhaps the most important feature – a reverse mortgage credit line that grows over time giving access to cash if ever needed. Bill’s response was a reverse mortgage is the solution to solving his current cash flow needs and a financial safety for the future.
Unnecessary pain. Bill shared how grateful he was to finally get objective reverse mortgage information that allowed him to make an informed decision on his housing options to fulfill his housing objective. And then Bill made a profound observation – how there must be so many older homeowners who are or will be faced with financial struggles who don’t know reverse mortgages exist or how they work. Bill said what a shame that many people are living with “unnecessary pain” not knowing a solution is readily available. I responded that my and Helping Hands Community Partners’ mission is just that – educating people about housing options.
Take the first step. If you have interest about reverse mortgages, please contact me at 781-724-6221 or email [email protected] to obtain your free “How to Use Your Home to Stay at Home” 36-page book. We’ll also provide a detailed summary based on your specific situation and goals.
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. Alain can be reached directly at 781-724-6221 or by email at [email protected].