Loan amounts: The amount you get through a reverse mortgage depends on your age, your home’s value and the prevailing interest rates. Generally, the older you are, the more your house is worth, and the lower the interest rates are, the more you can borrow. A 70-year-old, for example, with a home worth $300,000 could borrow around $170,000 with a fixed-rate HECM. To calculate how much you can borrow, visit reversemortgage.org.
Loan costs: Reverse mortgages have a number of up-front fees including a 2 percent lender origination fee for the first $200,000 of the home’s value and 1 percent of the remaining value, with a cap of $6,000; a 0.5 percent initial mortgage insurance premium fee; along with an appraisal fee, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Most fees can be deducted for the loan amount to reduce your out-of-pocket cost at closing.
In addition, you’ll also have to pay an annual mortgage insurance premium of 1.25 percent of the loan amount.
Payment options: You can receive the money in a lump sum, a line of credit, regular monthly checks or a combination of these. But in most cases, you cannot withdraw more than 60 percent of the loan during the first year. If you do, you’ll pay a 2.5 percent upfront insurance premium fee.
Counseling: All borrowers are required to get face-to-face or telephone counseling through a HUD-approved independent counseling agency before taking out a reverse mortgage. Some agencies are awarded grants that enable them to offer counseling for free, but most charge around $125 to $250.
To locate a counseling agency near you, visit hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/hecmhome.cfm or call 800-569-4287.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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