Can anyone take out a reverse mortgage loan?
No. Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), the most common type of reverse mortgage loan, are a special type of home loan available to homeowners who are 62 and older.
Aside from age, other reverse mortgage requirements include:
- Your home must be your principal residence, meaning you live there the majority of the year.
- You must either own your home outright or have a low mortgage balance. Owning your home outright means you do not have a mortgage on it anymore. If you have a mortgage balance, you must be able to pay it off when you close on the reverse mortgage. You can use your own funds or money from the reverse mortgage to pay off your existing mortgage balance.
- You cannot owe any federal debt, such as federal income taxes or federal student loans. You may, however, use money from the reverse mortgage loan to pay off this debt.
- You must have enough of your own money or agree to set aside part of the reverse mortgage funds at your loan closing to pay ongoing property charges, including taxes and insurance, as well as maintenance and repair costs.
- Your home must be in good shape. If your house does not meet the required property standards, the lender will tell you what repairs need to be made before you can get a reverse mortgage loan.
- You must receive counseling from a to discuss your eligibility, the financial implications of the loan, and other alternatives.
Alternatives to a reverse mortgage
Before taking out a reverse mortgage, make sure you understand this type of loan. You may want to look at other borrowing and housing options such as:
If you take out a reverse mortgage loan when you are too young, you may run out of money when you’re older and more likely to have less income and higher health care bills.
Other home equity options
A home equity loan or a home equity line of credit might be a cheaper way to borrow cash against your equity. However, these loans carry their own risks and usually have monthly payments. Qualifying for these loans also depends on your income and credit.
Depending on interest rates, refinancing your current mortgage with a new traditional mortgage could lower your monthly mortgage payments. Pay attention to the length of time you’ll have to repay your new mortgage as it can affect your retirement plan. For example, taking on a new 30-year mortgage when you are nearing retirement can become a hardship later. Consider choosing a shorter-term mortgage, such as a 10- or 15-year loan.
Consider selling your home. Moving to a more affordable home may be your best option to reduce your overall expenses.
Lowering your expenses
There are state and local programs that may help with utilities and fuel payments as well as home repairs. Many localities also have programs to help with property taxes: check with your county or town tax office. Information about these and other benefit programs is available through .
Note: This information only applies to Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), which are the most common type of reverse mortgage loans.