• Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgage
  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage
  • Proprietary Reverse Mortgage

The three types of reverse mortgages are single-purpose reverse mortgages, federally insured reverse mortgages and proprietary reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is available only to those who are 62 years of age or older; it is often used to pay off current mortgages, help pay healthcare expenses or supplement current income. Once a reverse mortgage is established, repayment is typically not required until death or if you move or sell your home. 

Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgage

A single-purpose reverse mortgage is offered by state, local and nonprofit agencies, and is considered the least expensive process. The state or local government or nonprofit agency specifies the reason for the reverse mortgage, and that must be its only use. Area Agencies on Aging can help you find a low-cost single-purpose loan that can help pay for home repairs or property taxes; these types of reverse mortgages are not as prevalent as the rest.

Homeowners can use single-purpose reverse mortgage proceeds only to pay for a specific lender-approved item, such as necessary repairs to the home or property taxes. Unlike home-equity loan proceeds, which can be used for any purpose, lenders restrict how single-purpose reverse mortgage proceeds can be used. However, while a home-equity loan or line of credit requires monthly installment payments, a single-purpose reverse mortgage doesn’t have to be repaid until the home’s ownership changes, the borrower moves to a different primary residence or the borrower passes away. A single-purpose reverse mortgage will also become due if the borrower stops maintaining homeowners insurance on the property or if the city condemns the property.

The reason to choose this limited option: A homeowner can expect to pay less in interest and fees for a single-purpose reverse mortgage than for a home equity conversion mortgage or a proprietary reverse mortgage. While the homeowner doesn’t have to make any payments on a reverse mortgage until it is due, mortgage insurance, fees and interest reduce the amount the homeowner can borrow.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

Home equity conversion mortgages (HECM) are federally insured reverse mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An HECM is likely to be more expensive than a traditional home loan with high upfront costs. It is the most widely used reverse mortgage because it carries no income limitations or medical requirements, and the loan can be used for any reason.

Counseling is required before applying for an HECM to become fully educated on the costs, payment options and responsibilities involved in the loan. You are also notified about any nonprofit or government-issued alternatives for which you may be eligible, and it is determined whether you should opt for a single-purpose or proprietary reverse mortgage. You are charged for this counseling session, but the charge can be paid from your loan proceeds.

After the counseling session, you find out how much you can borrow with an HECM. Your age, the value of your home and current interest rates determine how much you can borrow. Those who are older and have higher equity are provided with more money. It is also important to owe as little as possible on the home to receive the best results.

Once the loan is established, you can choose between several payments, such as a term option that allots monthly cash advances for a specific time, a tenure option that pays monthly advances for as long as the home is your primary residence, a credit line that lets you draw from the account at any time or a combination of this credit line coupled with monthly payments. If you need to change your payment option, you can do so with a low fee.

Proprietary Reverse Mortgage

A proprietary reverse mortgage is used for a larger advance for a home appraised at a high value. For example, if your property is worth more than $679,650, the 2018 lending limit for federally backed HECMs, you may be eligible for a higher loan if you go the proprietary route.

Those with low mortgages qualify for more funds. Counseling is sometimes required before applying for these loans; a counselor can help compare the costs and benefits of a proprietary loan and an HECM to determine if a proprietary loan is right for you.

Because proprietary reverse mortgages are not federally insured, they do not have up-front or monthly mortgage insurance premiums. That means you're likely to be able to borrow more. (While the homeowner doesn’t have to pay anything on a home equity conversion mortgage until it is due, the monthly premiums reduce the amount the homeowner can borrow.) So is a proprietary reverse mortgage a better deal than an HECM? That depends: Lenders may charge higher interest rates and lend less relative to the home’s value to make up for the lack of mortgage insurance.

Investigate both if you’re considering a proprietary reverse mortgage. Compare interest rates and fees from several proprietary reverse mortgage lenders to each other and to quotes from several HECM quotes to see which option gives you the best deal. Your age and how far above HECM limits your home’s value is will also influence which one will be the better deal. Also consider alternatives like home-equity loans and lines of credit (see Reverse Mortgage or Home-Equity Loan?). And since your home is likely high value (one reason to go after a proprietary mortgage), also consider whether downsizing to something smaller would accomplish your goals and leave you with more equity.

Continue Reading

Complete Guide to Reverse Mortgage
Comparing Reverse Mortgages vs. Forward Mortgages
Do You Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?
How to Choose a Reverse Mortgage Payment Plan
Reverse Mortgage or Home-Equity Loan?
5 Top Alternatives to a Reverse Mortgage
5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Good Idea
5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Bad Idea
How to Avoid Outliving Your Reverse Mortgage
A look at Regulation of Reverse Mortgages
Rules For Obtaining an FHA Reverse Mortgage
Reverse Mortgage: Could Your Widow(er) Lose the House?
Beware of These Reverse Mortgage Scams
Reverse Mortgage Pitfalls