Reverse mortgages are an increasingly common retirement planning tool—with more financial advisors and wealth managers recommending them to eligible clients each year. But a wide variety of reverse mortgage myths and misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the concerns we frequently hear from homeowners, followed by the actual facts.
"The lender can take my home!"
Not true. Home ownership is never given up. A reverse mortgage is a lien like any other mortgage.
"I can lose the house and be forced out of my home!"
Not true. The homeowners can remain in the home as long as they want, and as long as they keep the loan in good standing.
"I (or my heirs) could owe more than the value of the house!"
Not true. The HECM reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan, meaning neither the borrowers or their heirs have any personal liability. The loan payoff balance can never exceed the net sale proceeds if and when the house is sold. If there is a deficiency at the time of sale or maturity, the borrowers and the lender are protected from any loss by the FHA insurance fund.
"The lender will take some, or all, of my home's future appreciation!"
Not true. The homeowner retains full ownership of the property, including any future increase in property value. There is no shared appreciation with any HECM reverse mortgage.
"My children (heirs) will not want the equity reduced!"
Not likely. Actually, records show that the great majority of family members support and encourage using the financial support a reverse mortgage can provide.
"I will lose my Social Security or Medicare benefits!"
Not true. A reverse mortgage does not affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, it could affect your eligibility for Medicaid or some state assistance programs, so be sure to explore this question beforehand.