||May 31st, 2007|
Reverse Mortgages . . .
with Laura Strickler
Laura Strickler -
Your Reverse Mortgage Specialist
Living in Reverse
Deciding whether a reverse mortgage is right for you is a huge decision. There are many factors involved, not the least of which is your reverse mortgage representative, or originator. There are other people involved in your transaction also, the counselor, the appraiser, and sometimes, termite inspectors and other contractors.
Even though you receive lots of mail soliciting your reverse mortgage business, reverse mortgages are not offered by every bank or lending institution. There are more companies getting into the business, but not all people in the mortgage business know reverse mortgages.
As I mentioned last week, I always recommend scheduling the counseling session as soon as you have an interest in obtaining a reverse mortgage. It typically costs you nothing, but it is invaluable in helping you decide if you want to proceed. Besides, it is required for both the FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM-both monthly and annually adjustable) and the FNMA HomeKeeper Mortgage.
The counselor is a HUD approved counselor specifically designated to offer information on reverse mortgages. They are not affiliated with any lender and are required to remain completely unbiased, giving you only the facts for each of the reverse mortgage programs. During your counseling session, you will be asked questions about your finances, your health, your family and your lifestyle. You don't need to have your financial information down to the penny, but you need to be able to review your budget with the counselor. The counselor welcomes any family member you wish to include in the session. The session typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour. At the end of the session, the counselor will mail you a certificate. You will have to sign one of the originals and present it to your originator to proceed with your loan.
I am a reverse mortgage originator. I specialize in reverse mortgages and have done so since 2001. When I first started in reverse mortgages, other "loan officers" were surprised to learn that was my specialty. They often asked if I was able to survive doing so. But that was when the "refi" boom was still booming. I wasn't participating in that part of the business. I'm glad I made the decision to specialize in reverse mortgages. There is a lot to know about this product. Now that this portion of the lending industry is growing, there is even more to know about all the new products that are coming out. It's an exciting time to be involved in the reverse mortgage field.
When you decide to learn more about reverse mortgages, you should contact an originator that specializes in reverse mortgages. There are many details involved with a reverse mortgage that an inexperienced originator would not know or be able to warn you about. There are also many ways to make a reverse mortgage work harder for you, even after you have it in place.
Your reverse mortgage originator should never pressure you. Your family and/or friends should be encouraged to attend all meetings, if you want them there. You should take as many meetings as you need to make your decision and your originator should be patient with that decision.
Most of all, you need to feel that you can trust the person you are dealing with. If you are not comfortable with your originator, your whole transaction will be unsettling for you. This is an extremely important financial move and you need to feel at ease with the person handling it for you. If you're not comfortable, find another originator.
Remember, this is all about you!
Laura Strickler, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor
Reverse Mortgage Specialist