Reverse mortgages tougher to get

The ads on TV tell you that you never have to leave your house. “A lifetime of income,” says one. But it’s not totally true. If you fail to pay your home insurance or your property taxes, or if you fail to maintain the house, you are in default and can be foreclosed on.

To protect against these defaults the government, which insures these loans, has initiated new checks on all applicants. From now on, you will have to pass a credit check, show that you have paid your real estate taxes on time for two years, and prove you have enough to cover insurance and repairs.

If you don’t meet these requirements they will set up an escrow account from the money you have borrowed to make sure that there are sufficient funds for taxes and insurance.

The main impact of these new requirements will be to make it more difficult for lower income people to qualify for a reverse mortgage. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in Massachusetts, there is another type of reverse mortgage available to people with low and moderate incomes; the Term Reverse Mortgage. You can get more info on that by calling Homeowners’ Options for Mass Elders at 978-970-0012.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has more information on federally insured reverse mortgages (Home Equity Conversion Mortgages — HECMs) and you can click here to access it.

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