Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders
A reverse mortgage can be a smart way to supplement retirement income for people older than 62 who have most of their net worth tied up in their homes. As you compare reverse mortgage companies, look for a lender who is responsive to your questions and walks you through the entire process.
Compare Top Reverse Mortgage Lenders
|Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc.|
Read 1,285 Reviews
Provides HECM and HECM for Purchase loans. Properties must meet FHA’s minimum requirements to be eligible. Guarantees competitive pricing and loan closing within 60 days. Offers financing for processing and loan fees.
|Visit Website Toll free number (866) 268-5369|
|American Advisors Group (AAG)|
Read 874 Reviews
Offers HECM, HECM for Purchase, jumbo loans and refinancing programs. Handles proprietary reverse mortgage loans up to $4 million. Lump-sum payouts and growing lines of credit available. Provides free reverse mortgage calculator.
|Visit Website Toll free number (800) 485-9418|
|Finance of America Reverse|
Read 1,925 Reviews
Specializes in senior reverse mortgage services. Provides HECM loans, HomeSafe loans, second mortgages, refinancing and retirement planning services. Connects seniors with potential housemates with Silvernest program.
|Visit Website Toll free number (218) 282-4772|
|Champion Mortgage||Read 63 Reviews|
Provides reverse mortgage loan options to eligible homeowners. Offers direct deposit disbursement payments. Closes typical reverse mortgages within 30 days.
|One Reverse Mortgage|
Read 19 Reviews
Specializes in reverse mortgages. Adjustable- and fixed-rate HECM, HECM for Purchase and HELO programs are available. Licensed loan specialists help guide borrowers through each step of the process.
|InterContinental Capital Group|
Read 150 Reviews
Offers reverse mortgages, FHA loans, mortgage refinancing and conventional mortgages. Focuses on providing good customer service through mortgage loan specialists and its electronic loan center.
|All Reverse Mortgage Company||Read Reviews|
Offers HECM and HECM for Purchase reverse mortgage programs. Handles jumbo and proprietary loans up to $4 million. Provides accurate online quotes that let you compare reverse mortgage rates and loan terms.
|Open Mortgage||Read Expert Review|
Provides traditional and reverse mortgages plus refinancing. Mortgage programs include FHA, USDA, VA, DPA, conventional, rehab, HECM and HECM for Purchase. Licensed in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
|Reverse Mortgage Funding||Read Expert Review|
Offers senior reverse mortgage services, including solutions for refinancing, HECM for Purchase, paying off debt and retirement planning. Provides a price-match guarantee.
|Live Well Financial|
Read 432 Reviews
|Out of Business|
Walks you through the reverse mortgage process, including who is eligible and what to expect after the mortgage is approved. Provides traditional mortgages and online calculators to compare options.
Reverse mortgage information
Many people think of reverse mortgages as a last-resort source of income, but reverse mortgages can also be a smart financial tool for eligible homeowners in retirement. Reverse mortgages provide seniors with an alternative way to access their equity without refinancing or selling their homes.
Most people access about
60% of a home’s value
through a reverse mortgage
To understand the basics of reverse mortgage lending, you first need to understand how home equity works. Equity is the difference between your home's fair market value and the balance of your loan on the property. In other words, your home equity is the percentage of your home that you own.
With a reverse mortgage, you get a one-time cash payout or regularly recurring disbursements in exchange for reduced equity. Each reverse mortgage payment you receive reduces your overall equity. The title of your house stays in your name, and your lender uses the property as collateral against the reverse mortgage loan. Your mortgage loan balance increases over time through a process called negative amortization.
Reverse mortgage loans are due when the borrower sells the property, permanently leaves the residence or breaks the loan terms in some way (for example, not paying property taxes). In 2020, the maximum lending limit for anyone through a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) is $765,600. The maximum amount you can receive depends on how much equity you have built up and other factors.
Once you understand what a reverse mortgage is and how it works and complete a financial assessment, you should compare reverse mortgage company reviews to find a trustworthy lender.
Types of reverse mortgages
- Home equity conversion mortgage: A home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM (typically pronounced “heck-um”), is a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Authority. The FHA capped the maximum HECM lending limit at $765,600 in 2020. Borrowers can use the money from a HECM for any purpose they wish, including living expenses or home repairs.
- Proprietary reverse mortgage: Proprietary reverse mortgages aren’t insured by the government. Since they are not as federally regulated, jumbo reverse mortgages can have different rules regarding nonborrowing spouses by state, and funds might affect some government assistance programs. Many proprietary jumbo reverse mortgage loans are available up to $4 million.
- HECM for Purchase: A HECM for Purchase loan leverages a borrower’s existing equity to finance a new house, usually to downsize, move closer to family or transition into a retirement community. HECM for Purchase loans don’t require monthly mortgage payments, but they do require that you keep up with mortgage insurance premiums and property taxes. Perhaps the most significant advantage of a HECM for Purchase is that you only have to pay one set of loan closing costs.
- Single-purpose reverse mortgage: Unlike HECM and proprietary reverse mortgage loans, funds acquired through single-purpose reverse mortgages must be used for lender-approved expenses, which can include property taxes or crucial home repairs. A single-purpose reverse mortgage is sometimes referred to as a property-tax deferral program or deferred payment loan. Lenders usually don’t charge origination fees, and closing costs are minimal.
Reverse mortgage payment options
- Lump-sum payment: Lump-sum payments are received all at once in a single disbursement. Most commonly, lump-sum payments are used in HECM for Purchase reverse mortgages.
- Fixed monthly payment: Fixed monthly payments are disbursed regularly each month. If you opt into fixed monthly payments, you can select from term or tenure payments.
- Term payments are received over a specific amount of time, typically between five and ten years.
- Tenure payments are received as long as the borrower resides in the home as their primary residence.
- Line of credit: A line of credit lets borrowers access funds as needed. The line of credit grows over time, but borrowers do not earn interest.
Reverse mortgage costs
The true cost of your reverse mortgage is determined by several factors, including your loan terms, interest rates and the timing of payout distributions. The Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to provide a Good Faith Estimate that itemizes all reverse mortgage fees. Lenders must also disclose your total annual loan cost (TALC), which is similar to how standard mortgage lenders must disclose the annual percentage rate (APR).
Upfront reverse mortgage costs
The upfront costs associated with a reverse mortgage include various fees and the initial mortgage insurance premium.
- Counseling fee: Mandatory counseling with a HUD-approved third-party HECM counselor typically costs around $125.
- Appraisal fees: Average home appraisal costs range from $300 to $500. Professional home appraisals are required for HECM.
- Loan origination fee: Reverse mortgage lenders can charge up to $6,000 in loan origination fees. Reverse mortgage loan origination fees are based on your current home value.
- Closing costs: Closing costs include fees for credit checks, document preparation, loan recording, couriers, inspections, and title insurance. Average reverse mortgage closing costs are between $600 and $2,000 but vary depending on the type of loan and the state in which you live. Eligible homeowners have the option to pay closing fees upfront or bundle closing costs into their reverse mortgage loan.
- Initial MIP: Initial mortgage insurance premiums cost up to 2% of the loan amount and are due at loan closing.
Ongoing reverse mortgage costs
Even though you receive payments after you close on a reverse mortgage loan, keep in mind the following ongoing costs.
- Loan interest: Reverse mortgage loans accumulate interest based on the funds received. Just like traditional mortgages, reverse mortgages are available with fixed or adjustable interest rates.
- Property taxes: You must continue to pay property taxes when you take out a reverse mortgage. Failing to do so could violate the loan terms of your loan and put you in default.
- Insurance premiums: Annual mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) make up about half a percentage point of the outstanding mortgage balance. Homeowner’s insurance is also required, and companies require flood insurance in some areas.
- Servicing fees: Reverse mortgage lenders charge monthly fees for administering the loan. Servicing fees are a fixed amount, usually less than $40, and are due each month.
- Home costs: You must keep your property in good condition, so plan on paying regular costs for maintenance. A reverse mortgage loan can wind up in default if a borrower violates their terms by neglecting the collateral property.
How to get a reverse mortgage
Getting a reverse mortgage can be a confusing process, but it’s much easier if you find the right lender to work with.
Before you apply for a reverse mortgage
- Confirm your eligibility: To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must be at least 62 years old and own a substantial part of your home. There’s no minimum credit score or income requirements, but the property you take a reverse mortgage out against must be your primary residence. Some financial institutions offer proprietary reverse mortgage products to homeowners as young as 60, but those fees aren’t as regulated or capped by a government agency. To meet HECM property requirements, you must live in a single-family home or two-to-four unit property.
- Complete a financial assessment: If you’re eligible for a reverse mortgage, the next thing you should do is find out the fair market value of your house and exactly how much is left on your first mortgage. You can see how much you owe on your house on your monthly mortgage statement. A reverse mortgage usually isn’t a good idea if you don’t plan on spending the rest of your life in the home. Remember, the loan becomes due when you die or permanently move out of the property.
- Talk to your family: Since your primary residence is collateral against a reverse mortgage loan, it’s crucial to talk to your spouse, children or other heirs about whether they plan to live in your house once you pass. If you want to keep the house in your family, your children can potentially refinance your mortgage loan and maintain the title.
Finding the right reverse mortgage lender
- Compare multiple companies: It’s a good idea to compare at least three different lenders to make sure you get the best rates available. As you compare reverse mortgage companies, ask each lender how much you can qualify for, what your payment options are, if there are any restrictions on the funds and what kind of fees you should expect to pay. Look for a national reverse mortgage lender that can walk you through the whole process and doesn’t resort to high-pressure sales tactics.
- Collect important documents: Before you get reverse mortgage counseling and start filling out applications, it’s smart to get all the right documentation in order. You need a valid government-issued identification (driver’s license or passport), verification that the property is your primary residence (bank statements or voter registration), proof of income (W-2, Social Security award letter or pay stubs) and your counseling certificate.
- Get HUD-approved counseling: You are required to meet with a counselor that is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before applying for a reverse mortgage. Your counselor sends you information before your session so you can prepare. During the counseling session, you learn more about how a reverse mortgage affects you and your family. Your counselor also helps you compare alternatives to reverse mortgages, like cash-out refinancing or a home equity loan. After the counseling session, you receive a certificate of completion stating that you understand the basics of a reverse mortgage loan.
- Fill out the application: The 1009 form is required to apply for most reverse mortgages. The reverse mortgage application process takes between 30 and 45 days.
- Hire a HUD-approved appraiser: You need an appraisal to determine your home’s current market value. After you complete the initial application and submit a signed HECM Counseling Certificate, you must pay for an independent HUD-approved appraisal. An underwriter then reviews your application and sets a closing date if everything is in order.
- Close on the loan: At closing, your loan officer meets with you, an attorney and a notary to sign the documents to finalize your reverse mortgage loan. You have the right to cancel without any penalties within three business days after your closing date — this is known as the rescission period.
After you close on a reverse mortgage
- Start receiving payments: After the three-day rescission period, you start receiving payment disbursements according to the terms of your reverse mortgage. Funds from HECM and proprietary reverse mortgages can be used for living expenses or whatever else you like.
- Maintain the property: Once you close on a reverse mortgage, it’s essential to maintain the property to avoid going into default. You’re responsible for maintaining the home (including making any necessary home repairs) and keeping up with property taxes, homeowners insurance and homeowners association fees.
You can opt into a lifetime expectancy set aside (LESA), which dedicates a portion of your reverse mortgage funds to pay for future taxes and premiums for a period of time. According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), LESA can fund property taxes, homeowners insurance and flood insurance, but it can’t fund homeowners association dues or condominium fees.
- When the loan becomes due: As long as the terms of the reverse mortgage are met, the loan only has to be repaid when the borrower dies or permanently moves from the residence. Reverse mortgages are nonrecourse loans, meaning that the lender can seize the collateral if the borrower defaults. Still, the borrower (or heir) is not responsible for additional compensation, even if the collateral doesn’t cover the full balance of the debt. Heirs have the option to pay back the reverse mortgage, usually through refinancing. Otherwise, the lender seizes the collateral property to settle the loan.
Who are the best reverse mortgage lenders near me?
We’ve compared the best local reverse mortgage companies across the U.S. to help you find trusted lenders in your city.
Reverse mortgage questions
- How much money do you get from a reverse mortgage?
- The maximum amount anyone can access through a HECM is $765,600 in 2020 (up from $726,525 in 2019). Since proprietary reverse mortgages are issued by private lenders, they are not capped. Many of the best reverse mortgage lending companies offer proprietary jumbo reverse mortgages up to $4 million.
The initial principal limit or the total amount that you can borrow against your home through a reverse mortgage is determined by three factors: the value of your home, your age and current interest rates. The more your home is currently worth, the more funds you can get through a reverse mortgage. Older homeowners, especially those over 75, tend to get much higher loan disbursements. Current interest rates also affect how much you can take out with a reverse mortgage — the lower interest rates are, the more funds you have available to you through a mortgage loan.
- What is the interest rate on a reverse mortgage?
- Interest rates for reverse mortgages have historically fluctuated between 3% and 6%. Similar to traditional mortgage loans, reverse mortgages are available with fixed or variable rates and are determined by government agencies, investors and competitors. Reverse mortgage lenders typically add a margin between 1% and 3% to the base interest rate.
As you compare reverse mortgage interest rates, it’s helpful to know that fixed-rate reverse mortgages are generally less risky. The drawback with a fixed rate is that funds must be awarded as a lump sum. If you’re more interested in regular reverse mortgage payments to supplement your monthly income, you may have to get a variable rate reverse mortgage. Variable interest rates are set by market-based indexes and can change either monthly or yearly.
- How do you pay back a reverse mortgage?
- Most of the time, a reverse mortgage is paid back by selling the property. The borrower (or their estate) has the option of selling the house and turning over proceeds to the reverse mortgage lender. The borrower can also refinance or repay the loan with other funds if they want to keep the house.
Reverse mortgage loans are due after a maturity event occurs, such as a change of residency, transfer of title, failure to pay property charges or death. Only then are borrowers (or their heirs) liable for the outstanding loan balance.
Reverse mortgages are nonrecourse loans, and lenders cannot demand more than the home is worth. If the debt limit is less than the total home value at the time the borrower pays it off, the borrower gets to keep the surplus.
- Who should get a reverse mortgage?
- Eligible homeowners should use a reverse mortgage if it helps them retire more comfortably. A reverse mortgage isn’t right for everybody, but it can be a smart financial tool in the following situations:
- If you don't plan to move: Since a change of permanent residency triggers the reverse mortgage repayment obligations, reverse mortgages are generally only a good idea if you plan to age in place.
- If you’re on a fixed income: Many seniors who depend on a fixed income from Social Security or other retirement programs use reverse mortgages to supplement their income. Often a person gets a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and uses the savings for extra cash every month.
- If you can afford to maintain ongoing costs: Reverse mortgages require borrowers to pay costs associated with property taxes, insurance and maintaining the residence. Borrowers must also pay a servicing fee to the lender, which is typically due monthly. Otherwise, you’re at risk for default and foreclosure on the home.
- If you expect your home value to increase: If your heirs sell your house after you die to pay off the reverse mortgage loan, they can keep the surplus of the sale. If your property value rises in the last several years of your life, your heirs might see an increase in their inheritance.
- What happens when you die with a reverse mortgage?
- When you die, your family or estate inherits your remaining equity and is responsible for repaying the reverse mortgage debt. Generally, they have about six months to repay the loan outright or sell the property to recoup the balance. If the house is sold for more than the loan balance, your family keeps the difference. Alternatively, if the home sells for less than is needed to repay the loan, your family isn’t held financially responsible — mortgage insurance covers the difference.
If you’re married, your spouse can continue to live in the house only if you were married before you took out the reverse mortgage and they were listed as a nonborrowing spouse on the reverse mortgage application. If your spouse turns 62 after your death, they will likely have to refinance the reverse mortgage to continue living on the property.
- Is a reverse mortgage a ripoff?
- A reverse mortgage isn’t usually a ripoff, but scams do exist. Reverse mortgage fraud is a type of equity scam when a perpetrator convinces a senior to take out a reverse mortgage against their best interests for the perpetrator's personal financial gain.
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) set more regulations and stricter requirements on HECM programs to protect high-risk borrowers from default. Since then, defaults on new reverse mortgage loans have decreased by almost 75%.
Often in a reverse mortgage scam, the victim is already acquainted with the scammer, but some lenders purposely mislead prospective borrowers too, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA).
- What is the downside to a reverse mortgage?
- The biggest downside to a reverse mortgage is that the balance increases over time as interest on the loan accumulates. This process can eat up your home’s equity, which leaves fewer assets for your heirs.
Reverse mortgage residency requirements can also be difficult to uphold as you get older. For example, the loan becomes due if you unexpectedly have to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility. There’s also the chance that you outlive the loan terms on your reverse mortgage, which could lead to a significant financial struggle in your final years.
Another downside to a reverse mortgage is that the fees can get expensive. Plus, you are financially responsible for property taxes, insurance and maintenance charges. The extra income from disbursements can also affect your eligibility for needs-based government programs, including Medicare and SSI.
- Do banks do reverse mortgages?
- Few national banks offer reverse mortgage programs anymore, but some smaller banks do. The reverse mortgage industry in 2020 is primarily dominated by companies that focus exclusively on HECM loans.
- Can a reverse mortgage be refinanced?
- Yes. Just like a traditional mortgage, you can refinance a reverse mortgage to get a better rate, term or lender. Reverse mortgage refinancing requirements vary depending on the reverse mortgage type and whether you want to refinance into a conventional mortgage or refinance with another reverse mortgage. To refinance a reverse mortgage, you must submit a new application and possibly schedule another session with an FHA-approved reverse mortgage counselor.
Best reverse mortgage companies
Best proprietary lender
Finance of America Reverse offers reverse mortgages, second mortgage and loan refinancing products to eligible borrowers nationwide. FAR specializes in proprietary reverse mortgages through the HomeSafe program. Available in 22 states, HomeSafe is a “second-lien” reverse mortgage that allows homeowners who already have low fixed rates to keep their terms and still tap into their equity through a second mortgage.
The program has similar requirements to a government-backed reverse mortgage but with higher loan limits up to $4 million, which qualifies as a jumbo reverse loan. Also, FAR’s HomeSafe program doesn’t require you to pay mortgage insurance premiums.
Best HECM lender
American Advisors Group offers a variety of reverse mortgage loan products, including home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), HECM for Purchase and refinancing loans. Each client is assigned a dedicated loan officer who helps them through the whole process, from scheduling an appraisal to submitting your application for underwriting review. You may have the option to roll upfront costs and fees into the principal, which is due when the rest of the loan is due.
All of AAG’s reverse mortgage professionals are required to pass federal and state tests to get their licenses through the National Mortgage Licensing System. AAG is licensed to provide reverse mortgages in almost every state, though it currently only has physical branch locations in California, Hawaii, New York, Georgia, Missouri and Texas.
Best HECM for purchase
Liberty Home Equity Solutions Inc. offers HECM and HECM for Purchase loans. Liberty’s Pricing Promise guarantees fair and competitive prices — if you find a competitor with better rates or terms, Liberty will match them or send you a $100 gift card if it can’t. HECM for Purchase origination fees are capped at 2% on the first $200,000 and 1% of any amount more than $200,000, up to $6,000.
Liberty clients also get access to a free reverse mortgage calculator. You can find Liberty Home Equity Solutions in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Compare reverse mortgage reviews
Finance of America Reverse provides homeowners aged 62 and older with financial independence for retirement through reverse mortgages. Eligible homeowners can get a free quote for FAR senior reverse mortgage services.
- HECM and HomeSafe: FAR offers conventional HECM loans and proprietary reverse mortgages through the HomeSafe program.
- Reverse for Purchase: With a HECM or HomeSafe for Purchase, your new down payment is typically between 45% and 62% of the purchase price.
- Silvernest: Silvernest is a program that helps seniors generate income through homesharing. The platform matches your personality profile with potential housemates.
- 24/7 support: Finance of America Reverse offers 24/7 customer service by phone and email. Consumers can easily resolve problems or get questions answered.
- Availability: FAR services are available in most states, and the company has offices in San Diego, New York, Indianapolis and Tulsa.
- Best for: Seniors on fixed incomes and seniors who want to enjoy their later years.
Liberty Home Equity Solutions, formerly known as Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, has been helping senior citizens gain financial independence and security through Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) for almost a decade.
- Reverse mortgage loan options: Liberty Home Equity Solutions is a direct lender for HECM and HECM for Purchase loans. Repair set-asides are not available with the HECM for Purchase.
- Iron Clad Guarantee: Liberty’s Iron Clad Guarantee promises to deliver fair and competitive pricing and a loan closing within 60 days of the date the company receives your loan application and HUD Counseling Certificate. Liberty guarantees it will match or beat a competitor’s pricing, and it will give you a $100 gift card if it can’t.
- Reverse mortgage calculator: Use Liberty’s free reverse mortgage calculator for estimates and rate comparisons.
- Availability: Liberty is a direct lender licensed in all 50 states but does not currently offer consumer-direct retail reverse mortgage lending in Utah.
- Best for: Seniors who want a fast reverse mortgage process.
Live Well Financial has been offering reverse mortgages and other mortgage products since 2005. It originally only served customers in Virginia, but now services mortgages and reverse mortgages across America.
Intercontinental Capital Group Inc. is licensed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Title II Mortgagee to offer government-insured Federal Housing Administration home loans and standard conventional financing.
American Advisors Group offers reverse mortgage loans and refinancing options. Dedicated loan specialists help you compare reverse mortgage interest rates.
- Loan options: The company offers reverse mortgages, HECM for Purchase, jumbo and refinance loans.
- Free reverse mortgage calculator: Use AAG’s free reverse mortgage calculator to figure out know much you could qualify for. Clients can also prequalify online.
- Customer service: Some consumer complaints indicate that it took months for AAG to close on a reverse mortgage.
- Comparison: Some consumers claim that they got less money once AAG closed on the mortgage than they would have from competing companies.
- Best for: Seniors who want to enjoy their later years and seniors who expect their house’s value to rise.
Champion Mortgage is a division of Nationstar Mortgage. The company has been providing seniors and others with a variety of mortgage products since 1997.
All Reverse Mortgage Company offers HECM and HECM for Purchase loan options. Choose from a line of credit, lump-sum and term or tenure disbursements.
Open Mortgage offers loan programs for traditional and reverse mortgages and refinancing options. The company provides mortgage products in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Reverse Mortgage Funding’s loan products include Equity Elite Reverse Mortgage, adjustable-rate HECM, fixed-rate HECM and Reverse Mortgage for Purchase.
One Reverse Mortgage is the largest reverse mortgage lender in America. Licensed loan officers lead borrowers through each step of the process in all 50 states. This process and the company’s licensed specialists make it an easy option for those new to the concept of reverse mortgages.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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