Inman: Reverse Mortgages, The Most Scrutinized Financial Vehicle In America

Likening the oversight of reverse mortgages to home inspectors focused on different abusive homebuilding practices, Inman New columnist Tom Kelly writes this week about the scrutiny over reverse mortgages—focused on a rotation of different aspects. 

But the products can provide help to those who need it most, so why make it even harder for them to get access? Kelly asks. 

Kelly writes

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“Given the number of needed safeguards and cautions included in latest report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on reverse mortgages, I’m starting to think a similar rotation holds true for reverse mortgages, which are already the most scrutinized financial vehicle offered to the American consumer.

First there was the fear of extremely high reverse mortgage fees. Then came a stern caution about buying an annuity with reverse mortgage funds, followed by the “trailing spouse” issue, followed by a reminder to pay taxes and insurance. Now, we’re back to high fees.

…Reverse mortgage rates and fees have come down. Fixed-rate programs are now in place. There is no other product where greater care is given, more counseling is mandatory and more questions are answered before anything is done. If a person outlives the value of the home, they can still remain in it.

In a world where the average person cannot afford a retirement-living community, why make it more difficult to help them get the funds to stay put?

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 Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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