Since being introduced in 2001, reverse mortgages have been allowing senior citizen home owners to take advantage of the equity in their home and receive a cash payment or a line of credit. Most reverse mortgages, also known as Home Equity Conversion Loans (HECM), are insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who supervises reverse mortgage terms and requirements. While HUD doesn’t make the loan, it makes sure that the borrower is protected in the event that the lender is unable to make the reverse mortgage payment or if the home value has decreased so much that the loan balance cannot be paid.
Considering a Reverse Mortgage Lender- What to Look for
- Types of reverse mortgages offered. There are three types of reverse mortgages. The federal-insured reverse mortgage, more commonly known as Home Equity Conversion Loan (HECM), doesn’t have many requirements, but has a higher upfront cost. The single-purpose reverse mortgage, which is low-cost and geared towards people with lower incomes, can be used for specific purposes, like home improvements and repairs, or for paying property taxes. The third kind of reverse mortgage is the proprietary reverse mortgage, which is a loan offered by a private company.
- Fees. Reverse mortgage costs, especially Home Equity Conversion Loans, can end up being very costly. Insurance premiums, origination fees, title insurance, and other fees can be as high as a few thousand dollars, so finding a reverse mortgage lender that will disclose and explain the overall cost of the loan before signing a contract is very important.
- Interest rates. Reverse mortgage lenders usually only offer adjustable-rate loans, but some also offer fixed-rate loans. Interest rates for reverse mortgage loans are lower than the ones for conventional loans. If several lenders offer you the same interest rates, it’s always best to go with the one that is the most informed and easy to work with.
- Accreditations and ratings. While many legitimate and trustworthy lenders are not members of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), choosing a reverse mortgage lender that is a member will give you more peace of mind. Members of the NRMLA must conform to a strict code of lending ethics, meaning that there is a much bigger chance that they will be reliable. A good lender will also have a good rating on websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where you can also learn of any complaints against the company.
Before applying for a reverse mortgage, seniors must be aware that, while this type of loan has its advantages, it also comes with some downsides. Once you understand the whole reverse financing process and decide that it is the best choice in your situation, you need to start searching for the reverse mortgage lender that will best satisfy your needs. Here are the top 10 reverse mortgage lenders that will offer you the best balance between a good deal and a hassle free experience:
Top 10 Reverse Mortgage Lenders
- Liberty Home Equity Solutions. Formerly known as Genworth Financial Home Equity Access (GFHEA), this company was founded in 2003, and has since helped improve the lives of over 27,000 seniors. Liberty Home Equity Solutions has more than 450 associates in the U.S., and is one of the largest reverse mortgage lenders in the country.
- Security One Lending. Licensed in 40 U.S. states, Security One Lending (S1L), launched its business back in 2006, and today it is recognized as one of California’s best reverse mortgage lenders. In 2011, actor Pat Boone became S1L’s celebrity spokesman.
- American Advisors Group. AAG (American Advisors Group) is one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave the company an A+ rating, and AAG is approved by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. American Advisors Group has over 450 employees, and it is licensed in 43 U.S. states.
- One Reverse Mortgage. According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HECM Endorsement Summary Report, One Reverse Mortgage is America’s largest Home Equity Conversion Mortgage originator. A Quicken Loans company, One Reverse Mortgage was founded in 2001, and employs over 250 persons dedicated to providing quality services to senior clients.
- Generation Mortgage Company. This privately held company launched its business in 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia. Generation Mortgage Company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and is an approved Ginnie Mae issuer.
- Urban Financial Group. Founded in 2003 in Oklahoma, Urban Financial Group is licensed in the following states: Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. The “Reverse it!” division of Urban Financial Group is the largest provider of wholesale reverse mortgage loans.
- Proficio Mortgage Ventures. Headquartered in Florida, Proficio Mortgage has been providing mortgage solutions to the elderly for the last 8 years. The company is licensed to work in 49 states, and it is a subsidiary of Proficio Bank.
- Reverse Mortgage USA. Since 2003, Reverse Mortgage USA has been a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. The company is considered the top reverse mortgage educator in the country.
- Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. Established in 1987, the company has over 600 employees that provide lending services to thousands of clients. Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. (CCMC) provides reverse mortgage loans through its division, 1st Reverse Mortgage USA since 2004.
- NewDay Financial. NewDay Financial is one of the country’s top mortgage lenders. The company was established in 2002, and received its BBB accreditation the same year.
Moving Forward with Your Mortgage
A reverse mortgage loan is a good choice for seniors over 62 who don’t plan on moving into another home in the next two to three years. While it may feature a higher cost with a few risks, under the right circumstances, with the help of professional financial counseling, and by using a good lender, a reverse mortgage loan can be an excellent option for you. For more information, contact a qualified reverse mortgage specialist before proceeding. It never hurts to get more than one quote to make sure you are getting the best deal possible!