The Chatham County Council on Aging is urging seniors to be alert to aggressive mortgage lenders promoting reverse mortgages.
Angel Dennison, executive director of the Chatham County Council on Aging, told the Herald Sun that “anyone considering reverse mortgages should have as much information as possible to avoid putting their home assets at risk.”
Dennison said that reverse mortgage contracts can be complex and may not be appropriate for all seniors.
“I have been contacted by numerous people selling reverse mortgages to older adults in our county. The Chatham County Council on Aging does not promote any specific reverse mortgage product or lender,” Dennison said.
The Council refers homeowners to counselors not affiliated with any lending institution and who are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).
“Homeowners age 62 and older who are eligible for the reverse mortgage product need to educate themselves and make sure they work with counselors or mortgage company sales people who are certified by HUD and who follow the new counseling and education protocols fully and completely,” Dennison said.
“If your counselor proposes shortcuts to the process, you should walk away and find a different counselor who is better informed,” Dennison said.
Seniors with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level will be required to complete a BenefitsCheckUp analysis as part of the counseling session. NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp is a comprehensive online service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes details on more than 2,000 public and private benefits programs.
“It is important to contact our local Council on Aging office as well. There are many programs and services available that assist older adults in living independently, which might prevent or delay the need for a reverse mortgage,” Dennison said.
Note: A previous version of the article said the Chatam Council was a counseling agency, it’s not.