Reverse Mortgages and Home Equity

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Reverse mortgages allow older homeowners to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash without having to sell their homes or take on additional monthly bills.  In a "regular" mortgage, you make monthly payments to the lender. But in a "reverse" mortgage, you receive money from the lender and generally don't have to pay it back for as long as you live in your home. Instead, the loan must be repaid when you die, sell your home, or no longer live there as your principal residence. Reverse mortgages can help homeowners who are house-rich but cash-poor stay in their homes and still meet their financial obligations.

To qualify for most reverse mortgages, you must be at least 62 and live in your home. The proceeds of a reverse mortgage (without other features, like an annuity) are generally tax-free, and many reverse mortgages have no income restrictions.

The three basic types of reverse mortgage are: single-purpose reverse mortgages, which are offered by some state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations; federally-insured reverse mortgages, which are known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), and are backed by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and proprietary reverse mortgages, which are private loans that are backed by the companies that develop them.

Learn More About Reverse Mortgages

Investor Alerts

Before you take out a new mortgage, refinance your home, or obtain a line of credit secured by your home for the specific purpose of investing in securities, read: