How do you begin to learn about a reverse mortgage?

How do you begin to learn about a reverse mortgage? You contact a reverse mortgage professional at a lender who specializes in these loans.

Reverse Mortgage Process:

Present you with a full range of reverse mortgage products that are available from his/her company;

Explain the terms, benefits and costs of each product;
Clearly explain his/her responsibilities to you;
Clearly explain your responsibilities under the terms of a reverse mortgage, including paying property taxes on time, maintaining insurance and maintaining your home in good condition;

Carefully review your income, assets and expenses to help you assess whether you can meet these obligations and determine whether the reverse mortgage is the best financial product for your situation;

Meet with you as frequently as you need and, at your request, also meet with other members of your family or your financial advisors;

Explain that, according to Federal statute, you must complete a reverse mortgage counseling session and provide you with a list of HUD-approved counselors you may contact. (As a means of maintaining a hands-off relationship so that you get unbiased third-party advice, a lender is not permitted to recommend any specific counselor);

Prepare you for making your counseling session the most effective by providing you with questions you might want to ask and information you should confirm.

Types of Reverse Mortgages
The products, all or some of which a lender may have available, include:
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

HECM is the commonly used acronym for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, which is a reverse mortgage insured by and regulated by the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

A HECM is not a government loan. It is a loan issued by a private lender that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The borrower pays an insurance fee upfront at loan origination, and each year the borrower is charged an annual insurance fee of 1.25% of the outstanding loan balance. Your loan balance thus increases by the amount of this fee. The insurance purchased by this fee protects the borrower (1) if and when the lender is not able to make a payment; and (2) if the value of the home upon selling is not enough to cover the loan balance. In the latter case, the FHA will pay off the remaining balance. Currently, HECMs make up 99% of the reverse mortgages offered in America. HECMs come with rules and regulations that include a requirement that the borrower receive third-party counseling.

HECM Standard

The term “HECM Standard” refers to a traditional Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, which has been available since 1989. There are currently more than 500,000 senior homeowners who have standard HECMs on their homes. The amount of money you receive is based on a table created by HUD and is based upon your age, the current appraised value of your home and interest rates. Fees can include an origination fee, an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP), an appraisal fee, traditional closing costs and a monthly servicing fee. (More on fees later.) Beginning April 1, 2013, this product option is only available with an adjustable interest rate. This product is desirable for senior homeowners who need the most money available to them.

HECM Saver

HECM Saver is a lower-cost version of the HECM Standard. The savings comes from a lower upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP). The MIP collected by the Federal Housing Administration on a HECM Saver is equal to 0.01% of the value of the home, rather than 2% on a HECM Standard. On a$250,000 home, for example, you pay $25 in MIP under the Saver option, instead of $5,000 for a HECM Standard. The trade-off is that you receive 10-18% less money. This product is desirable for people who don’t need as much money compared to a HECM Standard, or don’t want to pay the higher fees. Because the fees are lower, and no monthly payment is required, it may also prove to be an alternative to obtaining a home equity line of credit that requires monthly payments.

HECM for Purchase

While retirees typically use a HECM to cover living expenses, supplement income, eliminate debts, or pay for healthcare, a growing segment of the senior population is using HECMs to purchase new homes that better suit their needs. The advantage of using a HECM for Purchase is that the new home is purchased outright, using funds from the sale of the old home, which are then combined with the reverse mortgage proceeds. This homebuying process leaves you with no monthly mortgage payments. While study after study reveals that an overwhelming percentage of seniors want to continue living in their current home for as long as possible, for some people that isn’t the best, or safest, option. HECM for Purchase offers a solution for downsizing into a place that’s more easily navigable, possibly more energy efficient, with lower maintenance costs, or which is closer to friends and family.

Proprietary Reverse Mortgages

Right now, very few proprietary reverse mortgages exist. However, it’s important to mention them, because market conditions may change in the foreseeable future when property values stabilize.

Proprietary reverse mortgages are non-FHA insured reverse mortgages offered by banks and mortgage companies. They are not subject to all of the same regulations as HECMs. In some states, no counseling is required, although it is always recommended and required by some lenders.

Proprietary reverse mortgages are sometimes called “jumbo” reverse mortgages, because they are taken on higher-valued homes, generally $750,000 or more.


To obtain a reverse mortgage on a home, that home must be your primary residence, which means you must reside there 183 days per year or more. When you obtain a reverse mortgage and each year thereafter, you must confirm your residency by signing an Annual Occupancy Certificate that will be provided to you by your Servicer. If you must leave your home for an extended period, due to work or health or for some other reason, you should notify your Servicer and coordinate winterization and other preservation issues. If you are out of the home for twelve consecutive months, your loan could be in default. If, for any reason, you rent the property to someone else, it precludes the property from being your primary residence and the loan is in default. If the loan is in default, your Servicer will request HUD approval that the loan become due and payable.

Additional Information:

In addition to company-specific educational materials provided by a lender, a prospective applicant can gather information from independent sources, such as newspapers, magazine articles and informational websites. Educational material is available from HUD (, AARP ( and NRMLA ( Prior to being counseled, you will receive an information packet from either the counseling agency, or the lender, depending on who you contact first. This information packet will include the following materials:

An informational document called “Preparing for Your Counseling Session”

A printout of loan comparisons, so the counselor may review what you are potentially eligible to receive from the reverse mortgage

A printout of the Total Annual Loan Cost (TALC) Disclosure required by the Federal Reserve Board on all reverse mortgage transactions. This form illustrates the cost of the loan if it is outstanding for different durations of time.
801-277-5100 Legend Financial Services specializes in Reverse Mortgages. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Purchase a Home with a Reverse Mortgage. Reverse mortgages can be used to purchase a home. For example, seniors that wish to downsize can sell their existing home, make a large down payment on a smaller home, and finance the rest with a reverse mortgage. Then, no payments will need to be made for life.