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  • Many still claim reverse mortgages do not require income, and prior to 2015 they would have been correct. That changed when HUD began requiring every lender to examine the financial capacity of the borrower and the sustainability of each HECM
  • One of the great advantages of the adjustable rate Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is the ability to draw funds from the line of credit (LOC) when needed. For this reason, the HECM ARM is often preferred over the fixed
  • Rates are extremely low right now, and I’m not just talking about traditional fixed rate mortgages. When reverse mortgage rates drop, it’s highly beneficial to new reverse mortgage prospects as well as for existing borrowers with federally insured reverse mortgages
  • It’s best to plan for retirement cash flow needs, and now is an ideal time for many homeowners to look at their options. In fact, those that believe that a reverse mortgage is a last resort may find that their
  • The book, Understanding Reverse, is updated each year to reflect regulatory changes and to simplify the reverse mortgage. The primary reason we continue to update and publish the book is that we continue to receive feedback from consumers that Understanding
  • I recently had the opportunity to present at our national conference alongside industry trainer, Jim McMinn. During this presentation, one talking point stood out as a misconception that needed addressed – what is necessary to satisfy a HECM loan when
  • The short answer is yes. ANY homeowner or estate can lose a home for various reasons. While the media sensationalizes this as “news,” they haven’t taken the time to understand reverse. But as ridiculous as this sounds to the novice,
  • On Friday, December 14th, we saw The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) raise the 2019 limits for FHA’s reverse mortgage product – the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). This means that homes valued above $726,525 are capped
  • When a spouse is not a borrower in a HECM transaction, he or she is referred to as a non-borrowing spouse (NBS). This is often due to the spouse not meeting the age requirement of 62.  Understanding Reverse – 2020
  • Reverse Mortgage Professionals find themselves constantly touting, defending, and pitching the numerous advantages of the federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). The primary reason they put in so much effort is not to make a sale. It is because
  • HECM for Purchase began with the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Prior to this legislation, if a homeowner in retirement wanted to relocate, qualifying for the new home often proved difficult. They would have to
  • I can understand why there are reverse mortgage skeptics. The product is unfamiliar to most, and confusing to others. Unfortunately, no number of charts, mathematical calculations, HUD guideline references, or even my book, will ever change the minds of many
  • You see it all the time – articles about reverse mortgages that begin with “They are not for everyone”, and then the author describes an ideal scenario. Sadly, many perfect candidates won’t consider a reverse mortgage because misinformed authors and
  • Many financial planners are now recommending reverse mortgages, as they have finally begun to recognize the strategic uses of home equity as a retirement planning tool. Sadly, however, many will consider the product only once their other retirement funds are
  • For most of us, the bulk of our housing costs are relatively constant. Monthly mortgage payments may vary slightly as property taxes and insurance rate are updated annually. But one housing cost is often seasonal – Heating Ventilation and Air
  • Is the Reverse Mortgage as simple as some claim? Or is it a highly complex financial tool, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau describes it? While it may appear that these views are mutually exclusive, they are not. However, the
  • With the regulatory overhaul over the last three years, and with more to come, the reverse mortgage program has gained positive attention in the national media and financial planning community. But, the basic concepts that every older homeowner should know
  • Reverse mortgage lenders have been fighting an uphill battle for years. And blogs and online debates likely won’t change the overall perception (or misperception) about reverse mortgages. There will always be those who can’t help but voice their opinions about
  • If I were to track my phone usage for the last ten years, May 2016 probably was the busiest. I seemed I received hourly phone calls from loan originators, financial services professionals, the media, and of course older homeowners, all
  • “Accessing a large sum of cash from home equity and placing it in a bank account might be a problem for certain benefits that are “means-tested.” – Understanding Reverse Will getting a reverse mortgage impact my government benefits and/or my income
  • Delayed gratification is the principle that resisting a SMALLER reward today may lead to a LARGER reward later. Yet how many people are really willing to wait for something better? Consider the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiments conducted in the early
  • YES, I HAVE BEEN AWAY Some of you were curious about my absence in February. I generally avoid adding personal information to my professional blog. Nevertheless, my writing was placed on hold for a month as a result of a
  • When discussing Social Security and Reverse Mortgages, most professionals have always responded that “distributions from a reverse mortgage do not adversely affect basic Social Security benefits.” That is true, as basic Social Security is not a “means tested’ program. But
  • man in black long sleeve shirt and white coat
    When making big decisions, procrastination is only natural. I fight this battle every morning when I have to sort out which projects are IMPORTANT, and which projects are just EASY. Unfortunately, making estate planning decisions based on an understanding of
  • A HECM, or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, is the technical term for the federally-insured reverse mortgage. Therefore a HECM to HECM refinance (also known as a H2H Refi), occurs when the borrower is paying off an existing HECM with a new
  • November is a month where days seem to be moving a little faster, closing in on the holidays, and allowing less time for research, writing, and blogging. In addition, November is a month where we are reminded to give thanks,
  • The book, Understanding Reverse, was designed to answer the top questions I received as a loan originator and educator. Now that I often find myself speaking to financial planners and realtors, however, I receive questions like: “How can home equity
  • The press has been favorable to recent reverse mortgage reforms, yet there is still no shortage of articles that offer warnings. I believe those warnings are misplaced, and that other, more legitimate, concerns about reverse mortgages need addressed. The issues
  • Earlier in the year, I was asked to write an article for a large national publication. My primary message was that the reverse mortgage is NOT the financial product you thought you knew. With recent regulatory changes and a renewed
  • My blogs have been, and always will be, politically neutral. And when changes to government regulations affect what I do, I simply do my best to explain how those changes impact homeowners and my role as a reverse mortgage professional.
  • As it turns out, Ben Franklin didn’t really discover electricity. While many still believe he did, it’s simply not true. Just like this common fallacy, the complex reverse mortgage program is highly misunderstood. This was the primary reason I wrote
  • Consider a doctor explaining that “A blood vessel wall was damaged, causing a series of reactions to take place which stimulated platelets, resulting in coagulation in your body. You have thrombophlebitis in your lower leg, a condition we call deep
  • The money experts on TV and radio have never fully understood Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) and the proper use of these reverse mortgages. From Dave Ramsey to Suze Orman, they have not taken the time to listen to researchers
  • “Financial planners, advisors, CPA’s, estate planners, and other finance professionals are realizing that obtaining a Reverse Mortgage EARLY opens up potential income later in retirement. The basic premise is that the growing line of credit (LOC) is not taxed on
  • “When a spouse is not included in a HECM (Reverse Mortgage) transaction, they are referred to as a non-borrowing spouse (NBS). This is often due to the spouse not meeting the age requirement.” – Understanding Reverse I recently had a
  • “The mortgagee (lender) must evaluate the mortgagor’s (borrower’s) willingness and capacity to timely meet his or her financial obligations and to comply with the mortgage requirements.” – Mortgagee Letter 2014-21 The federally insured reverse mortgage program is modified more regularly
  • Since 2013, the federally-insured reverse mortgage program has gone through so many dramatic changes that it’s no longer the reverse mortgage everyone thought it was. Some of the changes added consumer protections, while others radically altered the way reverse mortgages
  • Most successful blogs are infused with a little humor. Parenting blogs are funny. Kids say the darndest things. Other blogs are designed to enrage you. Sometimes I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at the political ones. However,
  • Building a personal collection of rare items can be quite entertaining. Some of the most commonly collected items are pocket knives, comic books, sports cards, and postage stamps. While I have a small, but growing collection of coins, I may
  • “The mortgagee must evaluate the mortgagor’s willingness and capacity to timely meet his or her financial obligations and to comply with the mortgage requirements.” – Mortgagee Letter 2014-21 If you have not already heard, the federally insured reverse mortgage program
  • “Being able to recognize the alternate uses of home equity in retirement requires one to take a long-term financial-planning view. Remember, the program was not initially designed as a short-term, quick fix. It was designed for two purposes – a
  • “Historically, the principal limit has been a measure of what HUD says a borrower with certain factors is able to borrow at closing. After the September 2013 changes to the program, however, that definition is not quite accurate. Homeowners may
  • “Whether households have sufficient savings from which to ensure adequate income throughout retirement is a concern of households and, therefore, policymakers. Although most households are eligible to receive Social Security benefits in retirement, over the past 30 years, the types
  • “The changes in 2013 were major, and were the most significant changes since the first HECM was originated in 1989. Fortunately, the changes of the last two years strengthened the HECM program and added more consumer protections.” – Understanding Reverse
  • Last week, I wrote a piece that violated my personal blogging guidelines – it exceeded 700 words. Worse yet, I couldn’t wrap up the topic in one blog, and had to split it in two. I fully recognize that Dave
  • Best-selling author, and nationally syndicated radio personality, Dave Ramsey, has helped millions of individuals find financial peace with his sound budgeting advice. While this is worthy of applause, the mainstream financial planning community regularly disagrees with his guidance. The Motley Fool
  • “Top executives and related professionals in the mortgage industry are encouraging friends and family members to obtain Reverse Mortgages. In many cases this is happening even when a homeowner has no immediate need for one. Could there be significant non-traditional
  • “There are significant advantages in making payments toward HECM loan balances that are not well known. Many homeowners are too intrigued by the fact that HECMs don’t REQUIRE a payment. Unfortunately, they miss a great opportunity to maximize some advantages
  • “Quite possibly the most amazing feature of the adjustable rate HECM product is the line of credit (LOC) and its ability to grow. It is only available on the adjustable rate products, and it is unique in the world of
  • “HECM for Purchase began with the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Prior to this legislation, if a homeowner in retirement wanted to relocate, qualifying for the new home often proved difficult. They would have to