The reverse mortgage product is still largely misunderstood, and those who market reverse mortgages can use a dose of reality. That’s the message presented by Bob Massi, also known as Fox Business Network’s “Property Man,” who is also a practicing attorney based in Las Vegas.
On his show, Massi has covered reverse mortgages on a number of occasions, including the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase product and found wide interest among his audience about topics relating to reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.
“This includes not just baby boomers, but also their children who want to understand how it works and how it affects them,” Massi tells RMD.
The research Massi did for the segments, as well as outside research unrelated to his reporting, also netted some knowledge about the public perception of reverse mortgages, as well as the types of sales tactics used among industry professionals.
“The biggest thing I learned is how many people don’t understand [reverse mortgages] as consumers,” he says.
In an upcoming presentation to industry members attending ReverseVision’s UserCon next month, Massi plans to help industry members understand their audience, including how professionals should present the product and how they can improve the sales process, including special emphasis on the HECM for Purchase product.
“HECM for Purchase is an excellent product that the majority of the industry admits isn’t necessary fully understood or sold properly,” says Wendy Peel, VP at ReverseVision. “We are thrilled to have Bob Massi provide his expert insights into how to best sell H4P and build a lead network for this niche product.”
A focus of Massi will be on how originators can better position reverse mortgages for consumers.
“One of the biggest things is how they present the product,” he says of several reverse mortgage originators he met with during research for the conference presentation. “The presentation was patronizing.”
But given the interest among baby boomers and their family members, the message is highly worthwhile, he says. Recent studies indicate roughly half of Americans don’t feel they will be prepared for retirement, and home equity still ranks high among prospective retirees’ sources of wealth.
Further research shows today’s younger workers may also be inadequately prepared for retirement, with a recent TD Ameritrade survey showing 37% of Generation X members will never be ready for their golden years, as reported by USA Today.
“The baby boomers may be even worse, because we spend every dime we have,” Massi says. “I think there is a flavor for [the reverse mortgage] but you have to be able to make the consumer understand that this is something that is good for them. Consumers today are very educated… there’s a lot to overcome.”
Massi will speak on February 8 at ReverseVision’s UserCon in San Diego.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker