Simply stated, a reverse mortgage is a loan that enables homeowners (age 62 and older) to convert part of the equity in their home into a tax-free income without having to sell the home, give up the title, or take on a new monthly mortgage payment. More and more homeowners are using this to supplement their retirement income, pay for health care, modify their home, or just get some cash for emergencies. Since this is a new product, some people have misconceptions of what a reverse mortgage is. The bank doesn’t give you money and take your house. Let’s look at some of the most common questions in Holtsville NY.
Are reverse mortgages for desperate people? No. It is an excellent financial planning tool used from people of all walks of life.
How do I qualify? You must be 62 or if both parties are on the mortgage, then you both must be at least 62. And, you must have equity in your home.
What if I still owe on my home? You may still qualify even if you have a balance on your first mortgage. The proceeds must be used to pay off the mortgage, first.
How much can I get? This depends on several factors such as, the age of your home, the value, your age at the time of closing, and interest rates.
Is it just monthly payments? No. You can get a lump sum, line of credit, monthly payments or a combination of monthly income and a line of credit.
But, won’t I have to pay taxes on these monthly payments to the government? No. The funds are tax-free. Its your money, not additional income.
Should I seek a lawyer or receive some counseling before I get a reverse mortgage. Yes. You must be counseled before receiving a reverse mortgage. You don’t have to talk to a lawyer or accountant, but it would be advised.
Who owns the title to my house? You still own the title.
What happens when I die? Once your home is passed on to your heirs, the mortgage becomes due. Your heirs may pay the mortgage and keep the home or sell the home and pay off the home. They may keep any excess sales proceeds.
What if I owe more than the house is worth? You can’t. Your repayment amount will never exceed the value of the home at the time the loan comes due. Also, there are no prepayment penalties.
What if I move? If you move, then the mortgage becomes due and must be repaid.
When explaining a reverse mortgage to a senior homeowner, one of the most important terms a reverse mortgage loan officer will discuss is the “Principal Limit.”
What is the Principal Limit and why is it important?
The Principal Limit (PL) is the gross amount of money the lender is willing to lend to the borrower of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM reverse mortgage, based on a formula derived from Congressional legislation and implemented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and using the following three criteria:
The lower of the Maximum Claim Limit or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) appraised value of the home;
The age of the youngest borrower (must be 62 or older);
The current expected interest rate (based on the current 10 year London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR rate, plus a stated margin for the adjustable rate HECM and based on the current fixed interest rate for the fixed rate reverse mortgage) in Holtsville NY.
The three listed criteria affect the PL in the following ways:
The higher the value of the home (up to the maximum claim limit of $625,500) the higher the amount of the PL will be;
The older the youngest borrower (age is always based on the youngest borrower’s age, not a blending of multiple borrowers’ ages) the higher the amount of the PL will be;
And, conversely, the higher the current expected interest rate, the lower the amount of the PL will be.
The reason potential borrowers should become familiar with the term Principal Limit and what it means is because it is from this cash figure that all fees and set asides will be subtracted in order to arrive at the maximum cash or loan proceeds available to the borrower.
Congress Plans to Lower the Principal Limit in Holtsville NY
Congress lowered the Principal Limit for the fiscal year 2010 signifantly to make up for a perceived budget shortfall of approximately $798 million for HECM reverse mortgages put in place within that fiscal year. HUD has announced that for the fiscal year 2011 there will likely be decreases in the Principal Limit as well. The 2011 year begins in October 2010 for budgetary purposes.
Until the budget bill has made it through the joint Senate and House committee, been voted on and signed, we do not know what the exact amount of the cut in the principal limit will be. Senior homeowners who have investigated HECM reverse mortgages prior to October 1, 2010 should contact a reverse mortgage lender to learn how the decreases in Principal Limits could impact them personally if they pursue a reverse mortgage.East Setauket, NY, Coram, NY, Sagaponack, NY, Middle Island, NY, Bridgehampton, NY, Mattituck, NY, Smithtown, NY, Port Jefferson, NY, East Quogue, NY, South Jamesport, NY