Hello, and welcome to our website! If you’ve made it here, chances are you’re looking for more information or insight into reverse mortgages. This unique loan is complex – in our opinion, far more complex than a conventional “forward” home loan – and there’s a lot to wrap your head around. That’s why we started Reverse Mortgage Alert.
About Reverse Mortgage Alert
For someone searching for information for the first time, the process can seem overwhelming. In our experience, you’ll find either very light, sales oriented writing or extremely complex work that requires a lot of previous knowledge. Even worse, the material you’ll find will often have a heavy slant, either positive or overly negative.
Our goal is to provide a reverse mortgage loan resource that’s in the sweet spot in between the extremes – a resource that’s extensively researched yet also written in accessible plain English, and one that doesn’t choose sides. We focus most of our attention on the Federal Housing Administration’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, as HECM loans dominate the marketplace.
Overall, we like the flexibility that these loans provide to seniors, and we believe they can be used as a valuable financial tool, particularly in making retirement more secure. According to Alicia H. Munnell, a professor at Boston College and an expert on retirement, “Reverse mortgages, which allow homeowners to tap into their home equity, are instruments that many Americans are going to need in order to have any chance at a decent retirement…a future without reverse mortgages would be a very grim one indeed.”
That said, the negative connotation surrounding these loans is not without some merit, and we’ll explain why and what to watch out for. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put it in 2012, “Reverse mortgages are inherently complicated products that are not easy for the average consumer to understand. Consumers particularly struggle with the rising balance, falling equity nature of the loan. Recent innovation and policy changes have increased the complexity of the choices and tradeoffs consumers have to make when deciding to take out a reverse mortgage loan.”
Using This Website to Understand HECM Loans
We’ve put together Reverse Mortgage Alert in the hopes of serving a diverse audience. Where you start, and how you end up using this website, will depend on who you are and why you’re here. Here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re looking for an introduction to reverse mortgage loans, start here. This page will help seniors, those helping a senior, and others new to the subject. It defines the reverse mortgage product, how it works, costs associated with the loan, and questions to help determine suitability.
- If you’re want to understand the history of the industry, start here. This page explains how the product began, how it has changed over time, and where it might be headed in the future. This information will be useful to journalists, industry professionals, and others who want a deeper understanding of reverse mortgages.
- If you want to understand why reverse mortgages are such an important topic, start here. This page explains demographic shifts in the American population, trends in retirement security, and different ideas on what the next generation of seniors will need to do to make ends meet in retirement.