Information from the CFPB
CONSIDERING A REVERSE MORTGAGE?
A reverse mortgage is a special type of home equity loan sold to homeowners aged 62 and older. The loan allows homeowners to access a portion of their home equity as cash. In a reverse mortgage, interest is added to the loan balance each month, and the balance grows. The loan must be repaid when the last borrower, co-borrower or eligible spouse sells the home, moves out of the home, or dies.
Most reverse mortgages today are called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). HECMs are federally insured. If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, first see a HECM counselor.
How does a reverse mortgage work? After years of paying down your mortgage, you have built up equity (the amount your property is worth today minus the amount you owe on your mortgage and any home equity loan or line of credit) in your home. With a reverse mortgage, you borrow against your equity.
Proceed with caution
Don’t sign the loan documents unless you understand how a reverse mortgage works.
Know your options — you may have a better choice.
Have a serious talk with a federally approved housing counselor who specializes in reverse mortgages.
The loan balance grows over time. You don’t have to pay back the loan while you or an eligible spouse live in the home, but you still have to pay taxes, insurance, and maintain the home. When both you and any eligible spouse have passed away or moved out of the home, the loan must be paid off. Most people need to sell their home to pay off the loan. But, neither you nor your heirs will have to pay back more than your home is worth.