Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders
Most people's best asset is their house. It can make sense to tap into the equity you’ve built up, but there are risks involved. After you understand how a reverse mortgage works, be sure to compare multiple reverse mortgage lenders to find the one that’s best for your financial future.
Compare Top Reverse Mortgage Lenders
|Finance of America Reverse|
Read 1892 Reviews
Finance of America Reverse provides homeowners age 62 and older with financial independence for retirement through reverse mortgages. Savvy homeowners can leverage their home equity to strengthen and lengthen retirement plans.
|toll freenumber(218) 282-4772 Visit Website|
|American Advisors Group (AAG)|
Read 814 Reviews
The American Advisors Group (AAG) offers reverse mortgage loans that are backed by the FHA. Informed seniors around the country have used this financial tool and interested applicants can opt to receive a free information kit.
|toll freenumber(800) 485-9418 Visit Website|
|Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc.|
Read 1211 Reviews
Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc. offers reverse mortgages to homeowners aged 62 and older to achieve short-term financial goals and as a long-term retirement planning solution.
|toll freenumber(866) 268-5369 Visit Website|
|InterContinental Capital Group|
Read 150 Reviews
Intercontinental Capital Group offers reverse mortgages, FHA loans, mortgage refinancing and conventional mortgages. The company focuses on providing good customer service with mortgage specialists and its Electronic Loan Center.
|Champion Mortgage||Read 60 Reviews|
Champion Mortgage makes it easy to get answers about obtaining and living with a reverse mortgage. You can call the toll-free number to talk to a representative, and information is also available in their website's FAQ section.
|One Reverse Mortgage|
Read 18 Reviews
Specializing in reverse mortgages, One Reverse Mortgage leads borrowers through each step of the process. This and their licensed specialists make it an easy option for those new to the concept of reverse mortgages.
|All Reverse Mortgage Company||Read Reviews|
All Reverse Mortgage Company only does reverse mortgages, meaning the representatives are focused on and knowledgeable about them. Its commitment to customer care make it a stand-out in the reverse mortgage industry.
|Live Well Financial|
Read 432 Reviews
|Out of Business|
Live Well Financial walks you through the reverse mortgage process, including who is eligible and what to expect after the mortgage is approved. Traditional mortgages and online calculators to compare options are also available.
Top 3 best reverse mortgage lenders
Important factors to consider when comparing reverse mortgage lenders are availability, fees and customer service. When comparing the best reverse mortgage lenders, we chose our top picks based on their public availability and verified customer reviews.
Across reverse mortgage lenders, you’ll find that origination fees and mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) are federally regulated or capped for FHA-insured reverse mortgages or home equity conversion mortgages. Although reverse mortgage lenders are largely regulated, the types of loan products offered, interest rates and closing costs can vary by lender.
Best proprietary lender
What we like: Finance of America Reverse offers reverse mortgages, second mortgage and refinancing loan products to eligible borrowers nationwide. FAR specializes in proprietary reverse mortgage through their HomeSafe program.
Available in 22 states, HomeSafe is a “second-lien” reverse mortgage, which allows homeowners who already have low fixed rates to keep their loan while still tapping 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 pay mortgage insurance premiums.
What to consider: Since they are not as federally regulated, jumbo reverse mortgages can have different rules regarding non-borrowing spouses by state, and funds might affect some government assistance programs.
Best HECM lender
What we like: American Advisors Group offers a variety of reverse mortgage loan products, including home equity conversion mortgages (HECM) loans. 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. The loan specialist will be able to answer all of your questions to be sure you thoroughly understand the risks and benefits of their reverse mortgage loan products.
Then, you’ll be assigned a loan specialist who will schedule an appraisal to calculate the legal value of your property and submit your application for underwriting review. Be sure to ask individual loan specialists about this cost for you. You may have the option to roll up-front costs and fees into the principal, which will be due when the rest of the loan is due.
What to consider: AAG is licensed to provide reverse mortgages in almost every state, though physical branch locations are currently only in California, Hawaii, New York, Georgia, Missouri and Texas. In 2010, American Advisors Group was one of several reverse mortgage lenders reprimanded for deceptive advertising practices. Since then, the company’s marketing materials have become more transparent and educational.
Best HECM for purchase
What we like: Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc. offers FHA-insured reverse mortgages, also called home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), and HECM for Purchase loans. Perhaps the most significant advantage of a HECM for Purchase loan is that you’ll only be required to may one set of closing costs. Plus, 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 they can’t.
The application process usually takes 30–45 days. After you fill out your initial application, you’ll need to submit a signed HECM Counseling Certificate and hire an independent HUD-approved appraisal to establish the legal value of your property. Then, an underwriter to review your application and the condition on your home. A closing date is set if all conditions are satisfied. At closing, one of Liberty’s reverse mortgage specialists will meet with you, an attorney and a notary to sign all the final documents.
What to consider: Because all HECM for Purchase loans are federally backed and regulated, origination fees across lenders are determined by a HUD formula and capped at 2 percent on the first $200,000 and 1 percent of any amount over $200,000 up to $6,000. You’ll also be required to pay for HUD-approved financial counseling and a HUD-approved appraisal.
Types of reverse mortgages
Home equity conversion mortgages
A home equity conversion mortgage or HECM (pronounced “heck ‘em”) is the only type of reverse mortgage that’s backed by the Federal Housing Authority. Available through FHA-approved lenders, HECM reverse mortgages are the most common type of reverse mortgages. HECM loans give borrowers the largest amount of money; upper limits are based on the borrower’s age and the amount of equity he or she has in the home. With a HECM, the borrower continues to pay insurance premiums. Borrowers can use the money from a HECM for any purpose they wish.
On the other hand, a HECM for Purchase is a similar type of loan that leverages the borrower’s old equity to finance a new house. HECM for Purchase loans do not require monthly mortgage payments, but they do require that you keep up with mortgage insurance premiums and property taxes. Common reasons to consider a HECM for purchase loan include downsizing into a smaller home, moving closer to friends or family and transitioning into a retirement community.
Most people access about
60% of a home’s value
through a reverse mortgage
Proprietary reverse mortgages
Private lending companies sometimes offer proprietary reverse mortgages. Proprietary reverse mortgage loans can provide a larger payout than HECMs since they are not beholden to FHA regulations, but they also tend to be more expensive since they are not insured by a government agency. Proprietary reverse mortgage lenders do still require a financial evaluation and credit counseling. Homeowners seeking a reverse mortgage would consider a proprietary reverse mortgage if their home isn’t up to FHA codes or if their homes are currently worth more than $1 million.
Reverse mortgages that aren’t insured by the government aren’t beholden to as strict of regulations, for better or worse. Some financial institutions are able to extend certain proprietary reverse mortgage products to homeowners as young as 60, but those fees won’t be as regulated or capped by a government agency.
Single-purpose reverse mortgages
Also referred to as a property-tax deferral program or deferred payment loans, single-purpose reverse mortgage loans are available to eligible homeowners who need to take out a one-time lump sum against their equity. Single-purpose reverse mortgage lenders usually don’t charge origination fees and closing costs are minimal, which is good since most people take out single-purpose reverse mortgages out of desperation.
Unlike HECM and proprietary reverse mortgage loans, which can be used for anything, funds acquired through single-purpose reverse mortgages must be used for a lender-approved expense, most typically to pay property taxes or to make a crucial home repair. Like other reverse mortgage programs, the loan is due when you sell the property, pass away or stop paying homeowner’s insurance.
Reverse mortgage questions
- How much money do you get from a reverse mortgage?
- The initial principal limit, or total amount, that you’ll be able to borrow against your home through any reverse mortgage is determined primarily by the value of your home, your age and current interest rates. The maximum loan amount anyone can access through a reverse mortgage is capped by the FHA at $726,525 for federally insured reserve mortgages or home equity conversion mortgages in 2019. Since proprietary reverse mortgages are issued by private lenders, they are not capped.
Generally, you’ll need more than 50 percent in equity, or more than half your mortgage balance paid, to be eligible for a significant reverse mortgage loan. The more your home is currently worth, the more funds you’ll be able to access through a reverse mortgage.
The older the borrower is when he or she takes out the reverse mortgage, the more loan proceeds he or she is entitled to. People over the age of 75 tend to get much higher loan payments, and many use the money to finance new experiences during their later years. Current interest rates also will affect how much you’ll be able to take out with a reverse mortgage. Generally, the lower interest rates are the more funds you’ll 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 3–6 percent. Similar to traditional mortgage loans, reverse mortgages are available with fixed or variable rates and are determined by government agencies, investors and competitors. All types of reverse mortgage loans defer interest payments until the loan is due.
Most borrowers opt for fixed rates because they are 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 that will 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?
- Reverse mortgages become payable at the end of the life of the loan. Borrowers, or their heirs, will be liable for the full payment once the loan ends due to borrower’s death, relocation or failure to maintain the home or keep up with property taxes and servicing fees. The borrower or their estate will have the option of selling the house and turning over proceeds to the reverse mortgage lender or repaying the loan with other funds if they want to keep the house.
The debt limit for any mortgage is the total amount of debt the borrower incurs. It includes all loan amounts, interest payments and financing fees. It’s important to remember that the total amount you borrow with a reverse mortgage is based on how much equity is in the home, and so the lender cannot demand more from a borrower in repayments than the home is worth. Likewise, if the debt limit is less than the total value of the home at the time the borrower pays it off, the borrower gets to keep the surplus.
- Who should get a reverse mortgage?
- Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners who are over the age of 62 and own their homes outright or have minimal remaining mortgage balances. A lot of people think of reverse mortgages as a last resort source of income, but they can also be an important factor in planning your retirement or if you’re already retired and your house is your most valuable asset.
- If you don’t plan to move
Since a change of permanent residency triggers reverse mortgage repayment obligations, reverse mortgages are really 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 will get a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and use 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, as well as a servicing fee, which is typically paid to the lender monthly. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk for default and foreclosure on the home.
- If you expect your house’s value to rise
If your kids 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 kids could actually see an increase in their inheritance.
- If you don’t plan to move
- What happens when you die with a reverse mortgage?
- After you die, your family or estate will inherit your remaining equity and be responsible for repaying the reverse mortgage debt. Generally, they will 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 will keep the difference. Alternatively, if the home sells for less than is needed to repay the loan, your family probably won’t be held financially responsible. For federally insured reverse mortgages, FHA Mortgage Insurance will cover 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 he or she was listed as a “nonborrowing spouse” in your reverse mortgage documents. If your spouse turns 62 after your death, he or she will likely have to refinance with their own reverse mortgage to keep living on the property.
- Is a reverse mortgage a ripoff?
- Often in a reverse mortgage scam, the victim is already acquainted with the scammer, but some lenders purposely mislead prospective borrowers too, which is why it’s so important to read verified customer reviews as you’re comparing lenders. 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 some kind of personal financial gain.
In the last several years, more regulations and stricter requirements on HECM programs from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) protect high-risk borrowers from default. For example, defaults on new reverse mortgage loans decreased by almost 75 percent after underwriting standards started setting aside some of the borrowed funds to cover future costs associated with the loan. Before you can be approved for a reverse mortgage, you’re also now required to meet with a third-party financial expert or reverse mortgage counseling agency to evaluate your financial situation and be sure you fully understand the loan program for which your applying.
- What is the downside to a reverse mortgage?
- The downside to a reverse mortgage is that the balance increases over time as interest on the loan and fees accumulate. This process can eat up your home’s equity. The extra income may also affect your Medicare or Medicaid benefits.
- Do banks do reverse mortgages?
- Most traditional banks don’t participate in reverse mortgages anymore. The reverse mortgage industry is largely dominated by companies that focus exclusively on HECM loans.
Compare reverse mortgage reviews
Finance of America Reverse has been servicing mortgages and reverse mortgages since 2003. It consistently gets high scores on customer satisfaction surveys.
- Provides comprehensive information: Finance of America Reverse offers a Reverse Mortgages 101 page as well as an FAQ page to ensure every customer understands what reverse mortgages entail.
- Focuses solely on reverse mortgages: Consumers can easily find the loans they are looking for since Finance of America Reverse doesn’t service any other type of mortgage.
- Customer service: Finance of America Reverse offers 24-hour customer service by phone and email. Consumers can easily resolve problems or get questions answered.
- Loans: Finance of America Reverse provides HECM loans.
- Best for: Seniors on fixed income and seniors who want to enjoy their later years.
Formerly known as Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, Inc., Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc. has been helping senior citizens gain financial independence and security through Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) for almost a decade. They are a direct lender and are licensed in all 50 states. Liberty currently does not offer consumer-direct retail lending in Utah, but they do in every other state.
- No up-front lender fees: Liberty does not charge any up-front lender fees. Any processing and loan fees are financed into the mortgage itself instead.
- Homeowner resources: Liberty’s website has many resources for homeowners to review to help them decide if a reverse mortgage is right for them. Resources include: HUD counseling, reverse mortgage pros and cons and a checklist of eligibility and requirements for applicants.
- Free 2-step calculator: Use Liberty’s free 2-step calculator on their website and within 30 seconds receive a free rate comparison, an available cash estimate and a downloadable handbook delivered to your email.
- Iron Clad Guarantee: Liberty’s Iron Clad Guarantee promises to deliver fair and competitive pricing, loan closing within 60 days of the date they receive your loan application and HUD Counseling Certificate, live customer service between 9 am and 5 pm PST, an online loan application, protection of your personal information and the promise that you can always change your mind or stop the process any time before your loan is funded.
- Pricing promise and closing commitment: Liberty guarantees they will match or beat a competitor’s pricing, and they will give you a $100 VISA gift card if they are unable to do so. They are also committed to closing quickly and efficiently and will give you a $500 credit toward your closing costs if they fail to close your loan within 60 days.
- 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 a mortgage lender specializing in loans for single-family homes and multi-family homes with up to four residences. The company offers reverse mortgages as well as FHA loans, conventional mortgages and mortgage refinancing. It has been in business since 2005 and is headquartered in Jericho, New York.
American Advisors Group has been in business for approximately 10 years. Its mission is to help seniors convert as much home equity into tax free cash as possible.
- Fairly well-known company: AAG has been offering reverse mortgages for over 10 years and has used celebrity spokespeople in its marketing campaigns.
- Clear info on site: AAG’s website includes a frequently asked question section, which contains detailed information about reverse mortgages.
- Offers free informational kit: Rather than applying online, consumers are encouraged to send for free information before making their decision.
- Customer service: There have been consumer complaints alleging 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 has been providing seniors and others with a variety of mortgage products since 1997.
All Reverse Mortgage Company is a family-owned mortgage business whose team members have 100 years of mortgage experience when their individual experiences are combined.
One Reverse Mortgage is the largest reverse mortgage lender in America. It is best known for using actor Henry Winkler in its infomercials.
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.