What should I discuss with my housing counselor if I’m thinking about getting a reverse mortgage?

Here are some things you might want to discuss with a housing counselor:

  • How does a reverse mortgage loan work? Would it be better for you to take out the money as a line of credit, in monthly installments, or in a lump sum?
  • Depending on which of these three basic options you choose, you may qualify for an adjustable interest rate or a fixed interest rate. Which one makes more sense for you?
  • What fees will you have to pay up front, before you can get the reverse mortgage? Examples of typical fees are mortgage insurance, loan origination, credit reports, property inspection, appraisals, and title insurance.
  • How much will you have to pay in monthly fees? What happens if you have to move out or want to sell the home?
  • If someone else is living in the home with you, could they stay in the home if you died or had to move into a nursing home?
  • How you will pay your property taxes and insurance?
  • What other reverse mortgage requirements are important to discuss?
  • If you discussed reverse mortgages with a lender before speaking with a counselor, tell your counselor about that discussion. Did the lender recommend a particular loan type? Did the lender try to sell you anything in addition to the reverse mortgage, or impose any conditions? Your counselor can give you an unbiased second opinion.

A good question to ask when choosing a counselor is how many reverse mortgage counseling sessions the counselor conducts each year.

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