For older Americans who find themselves house rich and cash poor, a reverse mortgage may be the answer according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
One requirement to receiving a Federal Housing Administration reverse mortgage is that the borrower meets with a HUD-approved housing counselor who has passed a special HECM exam prior to obtaining the loan.
“This is a protection to the consumer, as the terms and options associated with a reverse mortgage can be complicated,” said the agency. “For instance, consumers need to fully understand that the up-front costs can be quite steep, and that money received from a reverse mortgage can be counted as income or an asset that restricts eligibility to some government programs.”
A reverse mortgage may not be your best option, and the counselor’s role is to review all the options available to you says NFCC. The agency has close to 500 certified HECM counselors and nearly 850 offices in communities throughout the country.
“Reverse mortgages are the perfect solution for some people, but not all. At your counseling session, feel free to keep asking questions until you completely understand the reverse mortgage product,” comments Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). “And, be sure to inquire if there might be a better option for you. If your financial need is short-term, there may be community programs that can help.”