FAR Rolls Out ‘Flex’ Option for HomeSafe Jumbo Reverse Mortgage

Finance of America Reverse on Tuesday formally introduced updated features for its proprietary HomeSafe reverse mortgage, joining the growing wave of new private product options hitting the marketplace this year.

The HomeSafe Flex option will allow interested borrowers to draw 60% of the loan proceeds upfront, then receive the remaining 40% in the form of monthly term payments spread out over a period of up to five years. The Flex also comes with a fixed rate that applies to the entire loan balance.

“We developed this new feature on the heels of feedback from the financial advisor community and clients who are using HomeSafe as a wealth management tool to leverage home equity in retirement,” FAR president Kristen Sieffert said in a statement announcing the new product. “Overwhelmingly, we heard that advisors and clients wanted more flexibility in how they drew their payments without sacrificing the fixed-rate feature.”

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The Tulsa, Okla.-based FAR originally rolled out the HomeSafe in 2014 — back when the lender was still known as Urban Financial of America — to provide a jumbo option for borrowers with high-value homes. At the time, borrowers could access up to $2.25 million in proceeds, a figure that FAR raised to $4 million late last year; the lender also last fall announced the sale of the first HomeSafe loan on the secondary market. 

FAR then teamed up with industry leader American Advisors Group to offer the HomeSafe on a correspondent basis in March, with AAG branding the products as “AAG Advantage” through its retail channel.

The HomeSafe Flex mortgage will initially be available through the retail, wholesale, and correspondent channels to consumers in California, Florida, and Texas. Additional states will join the lineup over the next several weeks, according to a FAR spokesperson. 

“Our mission at FAR is to continuously innovate so that our partners and reverse mortgage specialists have access to a broad product suite to meet the varying needs of the clients we serve over the course of their retirement years,” Sieffert said. “The introduction of the Flex option is one step further toward that goal, and we anticipate introducing additional products into the market later this year.”

FAR’s jumbo expansion represents just one example of proprietary reverse mortgage growth in 2018: Reverse Mortgage Funding introduced its private Equity Edge loan, designed for borrowers with homes valued at $700,000 or more, last month, and Longbridge Financial indicated that it plans to offer multiple new proprietary products this year.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recent changes to the federally backed reverse mortgage program have played a role in this new landscape, with RMF president David Peskin telling RMD that the lower principal limit factors introduced last fall accelerated the company’s existing plans to enter the proprietary space. 

Written by Alex Spanko

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  • >>designed for borrowers with homes valued at $700,000 or more, last month,

    Seems that’s the only thing we really know about their program. It’d be nice to know more. For example, is there a minimum value requirement for non FHA-approved condos? The program gets released to Wholesale in July, and we know nothing about the programs guidelines yet. Seems it’s the industry’s best kept secret.

  • This new product may fit some but it by itself is no game changer. Yet the more products with substantial variations, the better for the industry.

    The more of these types of proprietary products that are added to what the industry can offer, the better. We need more proprietary products. I have used proprietary products in many situations.

    Back in 2007, we had a prospect who was 63 but the spouse was almost 61. Before the non-borrowing spouse could turn 62, they needed a reverse mortgage yet they could not get a HECM with both spouses as borrowers even though that is what they wanted. We put them into a low upfront cost proprietary reverse mortgage with high interest rates. In 18 months, we had them as co-borrowers on a HECM.

    Another was used in part to partially fund a charitable remainder trust. While dining in a great seafood restaurant at the marina in Play del Rey, the woman decided she wanted to take a chunk of the proceeds and give it one of the grand educational institutions in LA. I cannot go into the details but the charitable remainder trust gave her a great deal more income than she was making back then.

    Then there was the woman with a nice home on a large lot. I used to call the home the postage stamp on the postcard. It was a very difficult origination because two children needed to approve the loan or she would not do it. At dinner at a local restaurant, the sons slowly saw what the mortgage could do for their mother. Recently they have returned to see what more we can do for their mother.

    There are more stories but the point is, having more products makes for more opportunities. I am for the HECM becoming more useful but I am glad to see lenders providing other reverse mortgages as well.

    • >> We put them into a low upfront cost proprietary reverse mortgage with high interest rates

      The “Simple 60” program … I remember it well – the “bridge loan” Reverse Mortgage. Holds you over until you’re 62.

      • Mr. Denton,

        When we did this, there was no Simple 60. We had to take the husband off of title and used a Cash Account.

  • Much of what my friend Jim Veale says in right on target! However, I do feel this is a game changer, no, it will not fit every scenario but it sure will fill a lot of gaps we have in our industry today and heaven knows we need that!!

    Yes, Jim is right, the more proprietary programs coming into play the better it will be for all of us and especially for our senior clients.

    I also remember how useful the proprietary programs were and how they saved the day many, many times for our seniors!

    I believe the HECM will come back strong again, we need many of the changes that have been implemented rolled back and streamlined where the HECM makes sense again.

    I am not saying back to before 2013 but at least mellow down many of the harshness in the changes that has been perpetrated upon us and our senior clients!

    Hopefully our new appointed chief will make some changes to improve the HECM in the way we will all need it to be.

    I feel like Jim, I am all for the HECM becoming attractive again but I continue to encourage more innovation on part of our investors to develop and improve their proprietary programs.

    John A. Smaldone
    http://www.hanover-financial.com

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