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Reverse Mortgages ? A Tax Free Income For Senior Citizens
I fully realize if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL) immediately jumped into your head when you read the title of this article. However, if you are 62 or over, you may have just found the goose that laid the golden egg.
A reverse mortgage is exactly what the name implies. Rather than you paying a monthly sum of money to a mortgage company, a mortgage company pays you. There are three types of reverse mortgages and all have the same eligibility requirements.
You must be at least 62, live in, and own, your home and sign a contract. You must also have equity in your home and the inherent interest rate is based on what the lender is currently charging (more about this later) on non-reverse mortgages. The lender, by the way, will also have your property appraised for which you may or may not be charged.
There are no income restrictions such as those imposed by Social Security and most are tax free since they do not involve additional features such as an attached annuity. They also do not affect your social security benefits nor your Medicare entitlements.
This article discusses only those mortgages without additional features. Should you wish to know more about reverse mortgages with additional features, consult with a competent tax professional to reduce the chances of running afoul of tax laws.
The FTC's website, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/online/pubs/homes/rms.htm has an excellent article on reverse mortgages but it also does not discuss mortgages with additional features. Another reason to consult with a tax professional.
This tool called reverse mortgage is actually a loan, hence an interest rate, which allows senior citizens, or as some say, the elderly, to convert part of their equity into cash without having to sell their home. Because it is a loan "in reverse" you are receiving a monthly sum and not paying a monthly amount while you live in your home.
However, this loan must be repaid and repaid with interest should you sell, die, no longer live their as your principal residence or reach the end of the pre-selected loan period. You remain responsible to pay real estate taxes, insurance and all attendant maintenance expenses which, of course, you would have to pay with, or without, a reverse mortgage.
With this explanation, the picture becomes more focused, right? You enjoy a monthly sum, tax free and non-repayable until a date sometime in the future, while remaining in your home. As close to a win-win situation as one can get in this day and age.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize anyone who is cash poor but house rich should at least investigate this tool. However, like any other instrument involving your signature on the dotted line involving financial obligation, you must have some preliminary information.
I mentioned there are three types of reverse mortgages. The first is the single purpose reverse mortgage. These are offered by some sate and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
They may not be available in your area. Call your county's Department of Senior Services. Their phone number is in the white pages under the listing for your county.
Single purpose means exactly that. The proceeds may be used for only the purpose specified by the lender and generally are only made to people with low or moderate incomes. If you call your county, be sure to ask if their reverse mortgage is a single purpose and what are the limits.
The second type of reverse mortgage is called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). The federal government insures these mortgages and they are backed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The up front costs are generally high especially if you plan on staying in your home for a short period of time but they carry no income or medical restrictions and can be used for any purpose.
HECMs also require all applicants to meet with a counselor from an independent government approved housing counseling agency. The FTC says, "The counselor must explain the loan's costs, financial implications, and alternatives. For example, counselors should tell you about government or nonprofit programs for which you may qualify, and any single-purpose or proprietary reverse mortgages available in your area."
An additional benefit of an HECM mortgage is the nursing home clause. Should a borrower have to move out of her home and into a nursing home or other medical facility, she has up to 12 months before the loan becomes due. This enhances financial planning.
The third type is called a proprietary reverse mortgage. These are private loans backed by the companies offering them. In other words, they are NOT government insured. Like HECMs, the upfront cost could be high for a proprietary reverse mortgage.
A reverse mortgage, cost wise, is like a non-reverse mortgage. The lender usually charges loan origination fees, closing costs, insurance premiums (for insured loans) and service fees which are all set by the lender.
Fortunately, like non-reverse mortgages, the federal Truth In Lending Act (TILA) applies to reverse mortgages. This means the lender MUST disclose the costs and terms of the reverse mortgage you are considering.
The annual percentage rate (APR) and payment terms must be prominently displayed and not in the fine print. If you choose a credit line as your loan, lenders must tell you the charges related to not only opening but using this credit account.
Another word about the interest rate since it too mirrors the non-reverse mortgage. Just as with a non-reverse mortgage, an interest rate can be fixed or variable with variable rates tied to a financial index. This means the rate will change as the index changes.
TILA forces the lender to disclose this information. TILA does not force the lender to tell you the reverse mortgage may, or may not, use up all of your equity. If a "non-recourse" clause is included in the contract, and most have them, you must be told you will not owe more than the value of your home when the loan is repaid. This is a good thing.
Of the three, the HECM is the most flexible. It lets you select the way you receive your money. For example, you can receive fixed monthly cash advances for a specified period or for as long as you live in your home. Or, if you choose, you can receive a line of credit.
A line of credit allows you to draw on the loan proceeds when you want and how much you want. The HECM allows a combination of the two choices. You can receive a monthly payment plus a line of credit.
The key is to read and understand every clause in the contract before signing and do not be afraid to ask questions about what you don't understand. Don't let a huge monthly payment cloud your judgment and decision making ability.
Both HUD and the FTC have toll free numbers and websites to help you in making an informed decision. HUD can be called at 1-888-466-3487 with their web address at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/rmtopen.cfm while the FTC can be called at 1-877-382-4357 with their web address at: http://www.ftc.gov/credit
After reading the above information you may have decided the goose with the golden eggs is really a vulture waiting to pounce on your carcass. Or, you may have decided the goose's eggs are worth your time and attention. Either way, you are now a more informed consumer.
Tom Koziol is the Executive Secretary for Senior Outreach Ministries. Visit http://www.senior2senior.org and download their free senior caregiver manual.
Bad Credit Home Loans - Pre-Approval is Still Possible With Adverse Credit History
If you are among the millions with less than perfect credit, there are many sources available to you in obtaining a mortgage. Lenders that specialize in mortgages for those with bad credit are competing for your business. The lender will analyze your credit report, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and your employment history. You may also be asked to provide statements from your utility companies and other creditors to help form a complete picture of how you manage your finances. The lender will then inform you of how much you can afford to spend on a mortgage and the terms of the proposed home loan.
Understanding Mortgage Basics
As common as mortgages are, there are a surprisingly large number of us who are under false impressions about the way they function, and what they actually are. For one thing, though we do commonly call mortgages "home loans," this is not at all what they actually are. In fact, mortgages aren't loans at all, nor are they something that have been given to you by lenders. More accurately, it is a security instrument that you have provided to a lender. It is a document that protects your lender's interest with your property itself.
Poor Credit Home Mortgage Loans - The Role of the FICO Score
If you have bad credit history and are looking to get a home mortgage loan, then chances are you are going to need to know all about how the FICO credit scoring system works.
A Simple Way to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage Charges
How many times do you check you restaurant bill? If not often, I would advise you to do it more, especially when dining on your overseas vacations. Still, much more Americans check their restaurants bill, than the number of homebuyers, who check the charges for their mortgages.
Mortgage-Refinance Loan Can Put Cash in Your Pocket
Do you need cash? Here's a mortgage for you. If you are not in a good position to take an equity line of credit on your home, because you have not built enough equity or a poor credit situation is making bankers steer clear of you, altogether, there is another option -- the cashout refinance. This loan does what the equity line does in most cases, but it is not an interest-only loan, and it has conventional mortgage terms. The advantage for people without enough equity and less than perfect credit is you can get at what little equity you do have by refinancing to a new conventional mortgage, taking cash out at the close of the loan.
Adverse Credit Mortgage Loan - Persistence is the Key to Getting Approved
People with bad credit that are looking to get a home mortgage loan or to refinance their existing home mortgage loan, know how difficult of a job it can be to try and get approved. Adverse credit history can mean a little more legwork to get an approval for a mortgage loan, and especially to get a decent interest rate.
What is a Flexible Mortgage?
'Flexible mortgage' is a term that's used a lot, but what exactly does it mean? A flexible mortgage allows the borrower to make extra repayments when they have the extra money and even reduce or skip payments should the need arise.
Revive Mortgage Tenure With Extend Loan Term Remortgage
You are comfortably wedged in a mortgage deal, paying the standard rate of interests year after year. You are most in all probability paying more than required and you don't even know it. You must have heard of remortgage but shunned it as a precarious option against your traditional mortgage. Perhaps your mortgage needs a health check. The mortgage which was working for you earlier may not be as beneficial in the present context. You must have read more than often that interest rates are at an historical low. For once take them seriously before they start to steep up again.
Home Equity Loans
A home equity loan allows you to cash-in on the equity you have built-up in your home. The funds you receive can be used for debt consolidation, home improvement, college education, investments or any purpose. With a home equity loan your home is used as collateral to secure the loan. If you default on the payment you can lose your home so it is important to insure that you can afford to take out the loan before you sign on the dotted line!
Know Your Mortgage Options
While trying to find the lowest rates, many homeowners fail to examine the type of mortgage, and which type of mortgage is best suited to their needs. Whether you are buying a new home or refinancing, it is important to understand the different mortgage types, and evaluate which one best meets your needs.
Know Your Mortgage Fees, and Youll Never Pay Too Much for Your Loan
If you buy new windows, you'll not only pay for the windows, you will also pay an installation fee. When you purchase a car, you pay tax, title, assumption fee, etc. Just about every major purchase comes with extra costs or fees, and home loans are no different. Most people think they don't have to pay costs on a loan, because they are paying interest on the loan (they figure this is their fee ? a premium on the money). A mortgage, however, does not come free.
Home Equity Lines of Credit Vs. Other Conventional Loans
When it comes to getting money, you have two basic options. If you are a homeowner you can choose to take out a home equity line or credit (HELOC), or you can take out a conventional loan. Both of these products will provide you with the funds needed, but the similarities end there. With varying interest rates and repayment options, you have a wide array of choices. We will discuss the differences between these two options, and then decide on which one is best for the typical homeowner. Remember, that everyone's situation is different, so use your best judgment when choosing a loan product.
Buying a Home With Bad Credit - Get Approved With a Recent Bankruptcy or Foreclosure
A few years ago, if you had a bankruptcy or a foreclosure on your credit report, you could forget about trying to get a mortgage loan. If you were lucky enough to find someone who would finance you, your interest rate would be through the roof and plan on putting 10-20% down.
First Time Buyers Fail To Shop Around
Almost two thirds of first time buyers accept the first mortgage they are offered and fail to shop around, often missing out on better deals.
Buying a home remains the great American dream. Home ownership rates have been exploding in recent years, spurred on by the historically low interest rates in the home mortgage market. Home prices have been rising at far faster than inflation, especially in major urban areas such as San Francisco, San Diego and Chicago. This means that not only can that home you've always wanted put a roof over your head, but it can provide you with a great investment as well. For people new to the mortgage market, buying their first home starts with finding the best home loans.
Refinance Mortgage Rate and Mortgage Rates
Refinance mortgage rate is the best rate available to qualified homeowners for refinancing their current home mortgage. Refinance mortgage rates vary from product to product and customer to customer. A consumer with excellent credit will qualify for the very lowest and best refinance mortgage rate but one with problem credit will have to pay a higher rate of interest. Refinance mortgage rates are offered by mortgage loan companies, banks, and savings and loan associations. You can find out the best refinance mortgage rate by going to an Internet web site and supplying answers to a survey that will enable a quote to be made for your particular situation.
Guide to Home Equity Loans
Here is a useful guide to home equity loans. A home equity loan is quite simply a loan against your house. Another term for a home equity loan is a mortgage or second mortgage. Home equity loans are also known as equity release schemes.
Flexible Mortgage Tips
Outlined below are some useful flexible mortgage tips. The most prominent addition in recent years to the mortgage industry has been the flexible mortgage. As the name implies, it offers greater flexibility than the traditional mortgage.
Tips for First Time Home Buyers
When looking at tips for first time home buyers, you've come to the right place. Many people are looking all over the Internet for reliable information. There's over 761,940 websites (as of March 05) with information or online forms urging you to fill them out for more details.
Getting a Home Improvement Loan: What Your Bank Needs
The popularity of stores like Home Depot and Lowe's show how many homeowners are jumping on the home improvement bandwagon. Maybe you're thinking of redoing part of your house as well. Perhaps you want the kitchen of your dreams or an extra bathroom. You know you'll have to take out a loan to finance the project, but if you're just in the beginning stages of the planning, you may not know exactly how to go about it. Whether you're refinancing or taking out a home-equity loan, here's some information on what your bank needs:
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