Reverse mortgages: Timing and words matter

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By Alain Vallès, CRMP, CSA, MS, MBA, Managing Director

781-724-6221/av@hhcp.org

Alain Valles

Timing is critical – With all the economic damage occurring, I strongly suggest that potential eligible older homeowners learn how a reverse mortgage may provide financial protection.

Coronavirus and reverse mortgages

I am not only concerned about global health and the economy but more specifically on the impact to senior homeowners and how a reverse mortgage might be a financial solution.  I had hoped COVID-19 would no longer be the main headline but it has literally and figuratively infected every aspect of our lives.  I hope you, your family, and friends are safe and sound.  But I can surely guarantee that each of you has had an immediate economic impact that may linger or exacerbate to an unmanageable level.  And that is my concern for older homeowners in this article.

Words matter

Fear:  an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat 

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome

For many of us, just reading these words instantly causes an emotional and physical reaction to whatever is churning away in our subconscious.  For some, the worry for the health of our families and how we’re going to pay the bills while sheltering in place is all but freezing us in place.

When animals perceive a threat, the typical four survival stages are: freeze (camouflage), flight (run away), fight (attack), and succumb (perish).  As a seasoned experienced licensed reverse mortgage professional, I have helped so many older homeowners “fight” back against financial uncertainty and then be able to live a better quality of life with less worry.

But unfortunately, I have witnessed many others become paralyzed with fear and anxiety, to “succumb” to their circumstance as if they lost the will to “fight” when a solution was available.    The word that best describes this is:

Resigned:  having accepted something unpleasant that one cannot do anything about

And then, months or years later, that same person will reach out to me and share that their situation has worsened, that events out of their control have taken place, that life has inflicted more pain and NOW they want to get a reverse mortgage to only learn that they no longer qualify or the lending rules have changed.  And that leads to the most painful word of all:

Regret: feel sad or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a lost or missed opportunity  

For me, it is demoralizing when I may have had the chance to help a family’s financial position, but that person was afraid.  Afraid to make a decision of perhaps obtaining a reverse mortgage, or moving, or implementing immediate drastic cost cutting actions, or taking proactive measures to protect their family for uncertain life events that we will all face.  It’s a heartbreaker when my client says, “I regret….” because it’s so hard to unwind.  One must take action.

Action: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim

For homeowners with at least one person 62 years or older, I implore you to take action and obtain factual information about how a reverse mortgage might be the solution to immediate or future cash needs.  I fully empathize that many of you reading this article are facing life threatening situations and severe economic challenges while many of you have less dire circumstances.  Please don’t give up hope.  Please exhaust every option to maintain or improve your quality of life.  Please invest 10 minutes of time to learn if you may qualify.  If you do, then in an orderly fashion I’ll explain all the details and the process.  You’ll then be able to make a fully informed decision if a reverse mortgage is the best plan for you.  Don’t succumb to fear! 

Get accurate information

A great place to start is the free “How to Use Your Home to Stay at Home” 36-page book. This is the official reverse mortgage consumer booklet approved by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and published by the National Council on Aging.  

Or, please feel comfortable to give me a call at 781-724-6221 and I’ll be happy to have an educational conversation with you about your unique situation and mail you the free 36-page book.  Thank you.  

Alain Valles is the 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.  Valles can be reached directly at 781-724-6221 or by email at reversemortgage@hhcp.org.