A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a type of reverse mortgage that allows homeowners 62 years of age or older to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. It is a loan that does not require monthly mortgage payments, and the proceeds can be used for any purpose, such as paying for healthcare expenses, home improvements, or supplementing retirement income.
HECMs are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and are available through FHA-approved lenders. To qualify for a HECM, the borrower must own the home outright or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off at closing with proceeds from the HECM loan. The borrower must also meet certain financial criteria and attend a counseling session with a HUD-approved counselor.
One of the unique features of a HECM is that the loan balance increases over time, as interest and mortgage insurance premiums are added to the outstanding balance. However, the borrower or their heirs will never owe more than the value of the home at the time of sale.
HECMs come in two types: the HECM Standard and the HECM Saver. The HECM Standard has a higher upfront mortgage insurance premium, but a lower annual mortgage insurance premium. The HECM Saver has a lower upfront mortgage insurance premium, but a higher annual mortgage insurance premium.
HECMs can be a valuable tool for seniors looking to tap into their home equity, but it is important to understand the terms and conditions of the loan and the potential impact on the borrower's financial situation. Before considering a HECM, it is recommended that homeowners seek the advice of a financial advisor or a HUD-approved counselor to determine if a HECM is right for them.
It's also important to note that the loan amount and terms of the loan will also depend on the value of the home, the age of the borrower, and current interest rates. Additionally, these loans can have significant costs and fees, which must be factored in when considering a HECM.
In summary, a HECM is a type of reverse mortgage that allows homeowners aged 62 or older to convert a portion of their home equity into cash without having to make monthly mortgage payments. It can be a helpful financial tool for seniors, but it's important to understand the terms and fees and to seek advice from financial professionals before making a decision.
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