I read that the FHA is running a deficit and may need a bailout. Also, the HECM (reverse mortgage) program is a huge drain. Will this affect their reverse mortgage program? Will there be new reverse mortgage rules?
Thank you for your question about reverse mortgage rules. We have seen big changes in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) - or commonly referred to as reverse mortgages - program.
The two main reasons that the FHA is making the changes are:
In fact, Sen. Corker (Tennessee) suggested a moratorium on HECM loans. Sec. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan noted in his Senate testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on December 6 2012, that there is a real need for a reverse mortgage and it benefits some consumers.; however he too realizes that there is a need for major changes in the reverse mortgage rules. Some of these changes can be made by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and some require Congressional action.
Although no moratorium was made, real changes have been made to the reverse mortgage rules.
Back in late 2012 Sec. Donovan indicated that the FHA is prepared to take short-term to long-term actions to rectify the problems in their reverse mortgage programs. Their goal is to create new reverse mortgage rules that will allow consumers to take a safer product. In mid-September 2013, sweeping changes have been made in three main areas that will be addressed are shown in the chart below:
The new reverse mortgage rules significantly affect the way you can borrow money on a reverse mortgage. Although lump sum draws were not eliminated big changes were made in the amount of money you can take and when you can take the money. One of the major problems with the reverse mortgage program is the misuse of the home equity. Many borrowers take out the maximum amount of money in a lump sum. Part of the reason for this is that a fixed rate reverse mortgage is available only if you take a lump sum.
For more details about these reverse mortgage rule changes, Read the Bills.com article about HECM loan rule changes.
You can take your reverse mortgage in a few methods, as follows:
By choosing a lump sum (and taking the maximum allowable amount) many borrowers make themselves financially vulnerable. Some borrowers deplete their equity and then don’t have sufficient funds in case they need to leave their home.
The lump sum is in general a poor financial choice for most borrowers. Your home is a valuable asset, that needs to be considered over the long run. Make sure that the reverse mortgage fits into your long-term financial retirement plan. It is not meant to pay off debts, take vacations, increase your standard of living – and then leave you with no assets in case you need to move from your primary residence.
New reverse mortgage rules in 2013 include stricter borrower guidelines. The main focus of the changes is to ensure that the borrower has sufficient funds to maintain their monthly expenses and especially those relating to housing.
For more details about these reverse mortgage rule changes, read the Bills.com article about HECM loan rule changes.
Reverse mortgages have no monthly principal or interest payment, however they do require that your maintain your basic housing payments, including:
Although HECM reverse mortgage loans require, by law, mortgage counseling, still too many borrowers do not correctly calculate their financial needs. One common problem is that borrowers don’t make those payments and then default on the loan.
Anyone who looks at the poor performance of the FHA HECM program, which accounted for a disproportionate amount of their losses, knows that big changes are needed the reverse mortgage rules. As Ethan Ewing, President of Bills.com notes in his reverse mortgage video," ...a reverse mortgage can be a great product for the right people. Most importantly, it allows them to stay in their home, so for the right person the right situation, reverse mortgage can be an absolutely great product".
For most, building up equity in a house takes a long time. Don't throw that away by taking a reverse mortgage that doesn't fit your needs. A reverse mortgage is a complex financial product. Stricter reverse mortgage rules will help many consumers avoid the dangers of a reverse mortgage. Making sure that you have enough cash to pay your monthly bills and avoiding depleting your equity are winning rules for everyone, the lenders, the borrowers and the FHA.