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Your Reverse Mortgage Refinance Answer

Mark Cappel
UpdatedJul 5, 2007

Should we refinance the house with a reverse mortgage or take out a line of credit on our own homes to avoid foreclosure?

Our mother died, we inherited the house and 1 yr later, the $180,000 reverse mortgage is due, her house has not sold. Should we siblings refinance the house or take out a line of credit on our own homes to avoid foreclosure. Should everyone get an equal share if only person takes out the loan because, the other siblings have poor credit, no home or money.

your question does not mention whether or not you have placed the home on the market for sale. in my opinion, the easiest way for you and your siblings to repay the reverse mortgage would be to sell the home.

selling the home will liquidate the accumulated equity in the home, so you and your siblings can easily divide your inheritance. if you have not already done so, i encourage you to place the home on the market as soon as possible, as a sale should resolve the problems you describe in your question. if you have already placed the home on the market, but are having trouble selling it, you may want to consider lowering your asking price or taking other steps to make the property more attractive, such as improving the landscaping or updating the kitchen appliances. a small investment in one of these areas can significantly improve your chances of selling the home quickly. you should consult with your real estate agent to discuss affordable ways to make the home more attractive to potential buyers.

if you think this is a good course of action, you could all apply for a home equity loan for the home improvement. if you want to apply for a heloc, can put you in touch with several qualified lenders

if you still find yourself unable to sell the home with foreclosure looming on the reverse mortgage, you and your siblings should try to find a way to borrow the money needed to repay the reverse mortgage note. even if you think that you will be able to sell the home before foreclosure becomes an issue, you should still research available loan options to in case you are unable to sell the property. basically, you and your siblings have two options to borrow the money your need. first, you could refinance the current mortgage on the home to payoff the reverse. second, you and your siblings could pool your resources, each borrowing a portion of the $180,000 you need. each of these options has its benefits and its drawbacks — the best choice for your family depends on which option provides the required money at the lowest interest rate and exposes you to the least risk.

in my opinion, refinancing the current mortgage on your late mother’s home would be the best way to repay the money owed on the reverse mortgage if you are unable to sell the property.

as with all major financial decisions, i highly recommend getting competing quotes... don't take the first offer... take the best offer. makes it easy to compare mortgage offers and different loan types. visit the loan page and find a loan that meets your needs.

however, you may have trouble finding a lender willing to extend you a loan, especially if ownership issues have not been resolved through probate proceedings in your county court. if you have resolved issues of ownership, and the court has assigned ownership to you and your siblings, finding a loan should be much easier. since only one of your siblings has a good credit history, you should try to find a lender willing to name him as the borrower on the loan agreement. if a lender agrees to do this, it will probably want you and the other siblings to sign an agreement including your portions of the home as security for the new loan. the key to finding the best loan available is to shop around to find out what loan terms different lenders are able to offer you. i invite you to visit the home refinance resources page where you can learn more about refinance loans and begin your search for a loan that meets your needs. if you enter your contact information in the savings center at the top of the page, we can have several pre-screened mortgage brokers contact you to discuss the options available to you.

if you cannot find a refinance lender willing to extend you a loan, or if you find that the terms offered are unfavorable, your family should consider borrowing money from other sources to pay back the reverse mortgage. if you are all homeowners, you could each obtain a home equity loan to contribute a portion of the $180,000 reverse mortgage balance. however, you should consider this only after trying to obtain a loan secured by your late mother's home. by borrowing money against your home, you are putting it at risk of foreclosure if you are ever unable to make the loan payments. also, since you state that all but one of your siblings has credit problems, you will likely pay a premium in interest for the home equity loans. even if you must agree to a high interest loan, it is probably worth the cost to preserve the equity in your mother's home. hopefully, you will be able to pay off the home equity loan once you sell the home. i encourage you to visit the home equity resources page to read more about home equity loans and other loan options available to you.

before taking any action described above, you and your siblings should consult with a qualified estate law attorney to discuss the options available to you and the legal issues involved with selling or refinancing the home. i'd also suggest studying more about a reverse mortgage in general.

i cannot provide you with legal advice, and understand the information i provided is based on a limited understanding of your financial situation. do not base your financial planning on the information i provide alone. that being said, i hope that the information i have provided will help you in discussing your financial situation with your attorney.


jjohn, Jan, 2011
It only stands to reason that not all people who have a reverse mortgage will still be in their home until the loan is repaid. Perhaps they did believe that they would be living in their home until their death or until the loan was repaid but due to unforeseen circumstances they were forced to move. This is precisely why you must plan ahead. You should try to know exactly what you will do if you decide to move or sell your home sometime in the future.
BBill, Jan, 2011
I agree that everyone should plan ahead and think about how a need to move would affect him or her. Also, it is important for anyone who takes out a reverse mortgage to understand that he or she is reducing the equity stake in the home. If a person has to move, the reverse mortgage balance is repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the home. If there is not enough money left over to cover renting or buying another home, the reverse mortgage holder could be left in a difficult position.
HHelen Jordan, Oct, 2007
I have a reverse which I would like to refi to pay off credit cards.