As you may already know, reverse mortgages are a valuable financial tool for homeowners looking to access their home equity. But did you know there are different types of reverse mortgages? As a leading provider of title services, we understand the importance of making informed financial decisions. That’s why we’re exploring the unique features and benefits of each type of reverse mortgage. Join us as we aim to help you navigate this complex landscape and choose the option that best suits your needs and goals. 


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Comparing the Different Types of Reverse Mortgages

Let’s do a brief overview before we begin. A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners typically aged 62 and older to access the equity in their homes without having to sell or move. Depending on the loan type, the homeowner can use the equity to supplement their retirement income, pay off debts or medical expenses, make home repairs, and more. Unlike traditional mortgages, where borrowers make monthly payments to the lender, in a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the homeowner. The unique feature of a reverse mortgage is that the loan is repaid when the homeowner no longer uses the home as their primary residence, which typically occurs when they sell the house, move out, or pass away. 

Now that we have a solid understanding of what reverse mortgages are and how they work, let’s compare the various types of reverse mortgages in more detail. 


1. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

A HECM offers the most protection for borrowers as it is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). One of its key advantages is it is a nonrecourse loan, so borrowers never owe more than the value of their home, even if its value declines. Another is that the financial requirements for HECM loans, including credit score, are often more lenient compared to other loans. It provides a range of payment options, including lump sum payments through fixed or adjustable rates, monthly distributions, a line of credit, or a combination of these. This makes HECM loans versatile and suitable for various needs such as debt consolidation, medical expenses, supplementing income, or funding education expenses. That said, these loans must adhere to the FHA’s loan limits, meaning a loan cannot exceed $1,149,825 (as of 2024). 


2. Proprietary Reverse Mortgage

If you prefer more flexibility and have a higher home value, a proprietary reverse mortgage might be the right option for you. Since private lenders offer these loans, they are not subject to FHA regulations or mortgage insurance. In other words, they do not offer the same amount of protection as HECM loans, but lenders may offer amounts greater than the federal limit. Also known as jumbo reverse mortgages, proprietary loans give borrowers independence in how they use their loan. This option is ideal for individuals who want greater autonomy and require higher loan limits for their specific financial goals. 


3. Single Purpose Reverse Mortgage

Distributed by state or local government agencies or nonprofit organizations, single-purpose reverse mortgages often offer lower costs compared to other types of reverse mortgages. However, they also come with certain restrictions. For example, the funds can only be used for the specified purpose outlined by the lender such as home repairs, property taxes, or other essential expenses. This limits their flexibility in comparison to HECM or proprietary reverse mortgages. Additionally, these loans may have stricter eligibility requirements, such as income limitations or residency qualifications. 


Factors to Consider When Choosing

When deciding on the type of reverse mortgage that suits your needs, there are several factors to consider: 

  • Interest Rates and Fees: Compare interest rates and associated fees for each type of reverse mortgage to understand the potential costs involved. 
  • Borrower Age and Property Type: Eligibility requirements may vary based on your age and the type of property you own. Consider whether you meet the criteria for each type of reverse mortgage. 
  • Long-Term Plans: Think about your long-term goals and how a reverse mortgage fits into your financial plans. Consider whether you plan to stay in your home for an extended period or eventually move elsewhere. 
  • Financial Stability and Personal Needs: Assess your financial stability and personal needs to determine how much loan proceeds you require and which payment option would best suit your circumstances. 


Understanding the Different Types of Reverse Mortgages with Metropolitan Title

At Metropolitan Title Company, we recognize a reverse mortgage is a significant financial commitment which requires careful consideration. Whether you opt for the comprehensive protection provided by an HECM, the flexibility afforded by a proprietary reverse mortgage, or the cost-effective nature of a single-purpose reverse mortgage, our team is here to support you every step of the way. Partnering with lenders across the state, we are committed to providing guidance and expertise to help you make the right choice for your future. Contact us today to learn more about reverse mortgages so you can make an informed decision.  


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