Q. I've heard that with a REVERSE MORTGAGE the lender would own my home. Is this true?
A. It's absolutely false. The borrower retains title to the property. The REVERSE MORTGAGE lender is merely extending a loan to the borrower. Because the homeowners retain title and are still the owner of the property, they remain responsible for the payment of property taxes, insurance, utilities, home maintenance, and other expenses - just as they would with a standard first mortgage or home equity loan because it is still their home.
Q. Do I risk losing my house by getting a REVERSE MORTGAGE?
A. As long as you continue to occupy the home as your primary residence, maintain the upkeep of your home and as with any mortgage, must continue to pay property taxes and keep home insured - under no circumstances relating to a REVERSE MORTGAGE can you ever lose the home or be forced to leave. In fact, it is a great way to protect a home from foreclosure or other unforeseen circumstances.
Q. Can the mortgage lender take my home away if I outlive the loan?
A. No they cannot. There is no specific term in a REVERSE MORTGAGE, so the loan continues in place as long as either you or your spouse continue to live in the home as your primary residence and keep the property taxes and homeowners insurance in force as you do now. No matter how long that may be.
Q. If I take a REVERSE MORTGAGE, may I still leave my home to my heirs?
A. Yes, it is your home and you may leave it to whoever you wish. Any remaining equity belongs to you or your heirs. It's important to remember that you can never owe more than the home's appraised value when it is sold. None of your other assets will be affected by your REVERSE MORTGAGE loan.
Q. Must the heir or the last surviving borrower sell the property to repay the REVERSE MORTGAGE loan?
A. No. Repayment may be accomplished by refinancing the REVERSE MORTGAGE with a traditional "forward" mortgage loan, or through the use of other assets.
Q. What if the value of the home increases over time and there is much more wealth in the home down the road. Who gets this wealth?
A. Any increase in home value is yours and you or your estate receives all proceeds above and beyond the loan balance when you sell your home. This also is guaranteed part of the contract.
Q. Is it possible for my loan balance to become greater than the value of my home?
A. The loan has a "limited liability" clause, and specifically says that if the home is sold and the mortgage exceeds the value of the home neither you nor your heirs would be responsible for any short fall. The value of the home is the sole source of repayment for the loan, even if it becomes lower than the mortgage balance. This is a guaranteed part of the contract.