Generally, for older home owners, who have usually paid off their original home loan, borrowed against the value of their house to obtain cash to be used for the likes of overseas travel, improved lifestyle or to pay for grandchildrens school fees. They do not have to repay the loan until they sell the property, move or die.
So, if you take out a reverse mortgage, you dont have to make any payments, but each year the fees and interest that you would normally have to pay are added to the loan balance. The outstanding loan balance therefore increases, and over time you are charged interest on the interest (compound interest) and that increases the total amount you owe.
Concerns with Reverse Mortgages
The interest rate for a reverse mortgage is generally higher than a regular home loan and some borrowers can end up owing more than their house is worth. This is a particular risk if property prices fall resulting in what is called negative equity. Over 15 years, a loan of $50,000 can grow to hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that the equity that you had in your home at the beginning of the reverse mortgage can quickly be eaten away.
Some reverse mortgage products guarantee that you will not have to repay more than the value of your home - called a no negative equity guarantee. However, you may lose this protection if you do not meet the terms and conditions of the loan for example, if you do not repair and maintain your home to a standard set by the lender. Default clauses in some reverse mortgage loans could also be triggered by simply forgetting to pay council rates.
Loss of equity in your home can affect you in later life, particularly when it comes to having to enter residential care or pay for home care.
Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage
- You can access cash as a lump sum, a regular income stream or a combination of both;
- You dont need a current income to qualify;
- You get to stay in your home and keep ownership; and
- You usually don't have to make any regular repayments while you live in your home.
For more information about Reverse Mortgages, feel free to ask a mortgage broker listed on our site.