A reverse mortgage offers homeowners age 62 and older an affordable avenue to access their home equity. For some, this provides an opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream, while others may simply make it a part of their retirement strategy.

In any case, tapping into your home’s value also makes you contractually obligated to be a responsible homeowner. It shouldn’t be surprising that owners will need to continue to pay property taxes and homeowners association fees, as well as insure the home against hazards. But many may not realize there is also a requirement to maintain the property up to the lender’s standards.

Maintenance Responsibility

Once you have closed on your reverse mortgage, the lender will have a vested interest in your home’s condition. It’s likely they will even schedule regular inspections to assess the property. The good news is they probably won’t be paying much attention to the scuff on your wall or weeds in your flower beds.

Instead, they will want to see that you are keeping your home structurally sound and taking necessary steps to avoid significant problems down the road. Protecting your home against termite infestation and keeping your roof free of leaks will likely be near the top of their checklist.

Be Proactive

The simplest way to stay in the good graces of your lender is to take a proactive approach. Make sure you repair small problems like leaks before they turn into big issues like rotting wood or mold. If you start noticing the early symptoms of a shifting foundation – sheetrock cracks and doors that won’t close properly – enlist a specialist to evaluate the situation. And have a plan to regularly check your roof, foundation and structure of your home so you can catch problems early.

Budget Smartly

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, it’s best to take the maintenance aspect seriously. Failure to do so could result in the value of your home dropping and even put your ownership at risk.

A popular tactic is to set aside an appropriate amount of the funds from the loan to have ready for any repairs that may be needed in the future. Doing so can protect your reverse mortgage and give you invaluable peace of mind to enjoy your future.

If a reverse mortgage might be right for your retirement, contact us to discuss your options with an Open Mortgage Loan Origination Specialist.

Things to know about Reverse Mortgages:

  • At the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds
  • Charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees
  • The loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance
  • The borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home
  • Interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax-deductible until the borrower makes partial or full re-payment

2 Comments

  • Paul Sharp says:

    Reverse mortgage is a popular financial tool to help retired people with age 62 or above. It converts your home equity into cash income and you can stay in your home as well. It removes the stress to get your home repaired or costs of maintenance.

  • In addition to being contractually obligated to properly maintain your home once you get a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), the home must be up to HUD’s standards during the origination process in order for your lender to complete the loan process.

    In general, the house needs to be in livable condition, have an adequate, reliable water supply (whether well or city), at least one bathroom with sanitary facilities, sink, shower or bath; hot water must be available, and the home needs to have an adequate heating system, as well as electricity for lighting, cooking and to run typical household mechanical systems. Of course, there are other requirements including right-of-way easements, access to the property, environmental concerns and more.

    When the appraisal is performed on your property, the appraiser will note any deficiencies in key areas, and funds will generally be set aside from the amount in the HECM to make needed repairs or corrections.

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