Review Mortgage Lenders

reverse mortgage information aarp

Is a Reverse Mortgage the Right Choice for You?— AARP Bulletin

A tale of two reverse mortgage borrowers who had two very different outcomes.

AARP Weighs in on the 'New' Reverse Mortgage Math

Lori Trawinski, director of banking and finance at AARP’s Public Policy Institute, declines to call the changes positive or negative, but does admit that higher costs might make the loan less attractive — and new principal limits might mean fewer seniors will qualify.

“If you have an existing forward mortgage, that mortgage needs to be paid off before you can get a reverse,” she says. “So if someone is counting on a certain amount of reverse mortgage proceeds to be able to pay off a forward loan, it could be that with the new principal limit factors, they may not get enough proceeds out of the loan to do that.”

Higher upfront costs might also be a disincentive to consumers, Trawinski says.

“For about three quarters of borrowers, the upfront premium went from 0.5% to 2%, so that’s a significant increase. It may dissuade some borrowers from going forward with the loan,” she says.

Amy Ford, NCOA’s senior director of home equity initiatives and social accountability, agrees that these factors might influence consumer decisions and says the changes highlight the need for effective counseling.

More seniors are taking loans against their homes — and it's costing them

As she was getting on in years and her resources dwindled, Virginia Rayford took out a special kind of mortgage in 2008 that she hoped would help her stay in her three-bedroom Washington rowhouse for the rest of her life.

Rayford, 92, took advantage of a federally insured loan called a reverse mortgage that allows cash-strapped seniors to borrow against the equity in their houses that has built up over decades.

But the risks of the financial arrangement are stark — and today the frail widow finds herself facing foreclosure.

Under the terms of the loan, Rayford can defer paying back her mortgage debt that totals about $416,000 until she dies, sells or moves out. She is, however, responsible for keeping up with other charges — namely, the taxes and insurance on the property.

The loan servicer, Nationstar Mortgage, says Rayford owes $6,004 in unpaid taxes and insurance. If she cannot come up with it, she stands to lose her home in Washington’s Petworth neighborhood.