Reverse Mortgages - What’s the catch?

Reverse Mortgages - What’s the catch?

What's the CatchI hear that a lot, reverse mortgages sometimes sound too good to be true. ";You mean the bank will give me a loan that I don’t have to pay back until I die? Come on, really?  How do they make any money? There’s got to be more to the story!"; .... and there is.

A Reverse Mortgage is a loan, period. It does have to be paid back, with interest and fees,  however the way in which the loan is set up can make it a good option for some senior homeowners.  

Think about it like this - with a regular mortgage, say you borrow $100,000 at 5.5% against your home and every month you make a payment to them of $567.79. That includes principal and interest.  The majority of the monthly payment in the first half of a 30 year mortgage goes to interest as we all know, but you do see the balance of your loan going down every month when your statement comes in.  You might even complain to your spouse about how much of the payment went to interest and that your balance isn’t that much lower - but eventually after 30 years you’ve paid back the loan the entire $100,000 in principal and another $104,400 in interest.

With a reverse mortgage, you might borrow $100,000.00 at  a fixed 5.5%* against your home and every month you do NOT make payments.  Instead, the interest “accrues” to the balance, so every month your balance goes up.  Yep, that’s the catch - your balance is going up.  How is that a good thing?

It’s good in the sense that if a senior homeowner is planning to remain in their home for the foreseeable future, they may benefit from the increase in cash flow that a reverse mortgage provides.   Here are two ways:

  • The senior already has a mortgage that they are paying on and still have quite a long time to go - every month that mortgage payment takes away from their income. The reverse mortgage would be used to payoff the existing mortgage, freeing up that monthly mortgage payment and giving the client a net increase in their monthly cash flow.
  • The senior owns their home free and clear, and chooses to take a reverse mortgage on an adjustable rate and elects to have the loan “pay him” with monthly (tenure) payments.  In that case the homeowner will receive a payment every month from the lender.  The starting balance would be low to start (just fees) then grow each month by the amount of money sent to the homeowner, plus interest.  As long as the borrower remains in the home, those payments will continue.

Once the homeowner leaves the home permanently, due to sale, death or sickness - the loan becomes due.  Yes, the homeowner can still sell their home if they want, they could even refinance a reverse,  but they must live in the home, maintain the home and pay the property taxes on time.

Now you know the “catch”  and with advice from qualified, trusted advisers and family you can make an decision that lets you sleep at night.  There is a lot more to learn (New HECM Saver, Adjustable vs. Fixed, Payment Options, Fees &; Costs) - so I hope you will subscribe to my blog and check out my links.

For more detailed information about reverse mortgages you can give me a call or do some learning online here at my blog, or at HUD, other agencies. You can download this free booklet from the National Council on Aging. There’s lots of good information out there.  

*This is not a quote on fixed rates for reverse, but is about right where rates are at the time of this posting. This post contains my own thoughts and opinions and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of my employer.

Bend, Oregon:  CE Credits for Realtors delivered in Oregon on the topic of Reverse Mortgage

Oregon Reverse Mortgage Lender

Sharon Falvey, Vice President Northwest Sales has been effectively delivering Continuing Education Credits to Realtors accross the State of Oregon and most recently in Bend, Oregon.  This class has been very well received by Realtors that thought they understood the truth about Reverse Mortgage until they took the class.


Sharon Falvey and Security One Lending were recently quoted in "Reverse Mortgage Daily" and "Reverse Fortunes" as well as other's.  It brings me great joy to  be able to dispel the myths about Reverse Mortgage and show Realtors how they can position themselves to use it correctly and increase their sales.  We all need to make our way in these interesting times and you can never have to many tools in your belt to do so.


Dan Heater: Continuing Education Director in Bend Oregon for COAR is quoted as saying: 

"Thank you Sharon so much for the great class on Reverse Mortgages you did at COAR last week.  The class was very good.  It is amazing that we all still have these pre-conceived ideas about what a reverse mortgage is and how it can fit into our lives as we age.  All of our brokers we very impressed with the class and had all changed their minds as to the value and use of reverse mortgages both personally, and as a tool to help their customers.


The class was concise, easy to understand and gave all who attended something else to include in their presentations for their clients.  I would recommend this class for anyone to take.  Anyone approaching this age, with parents close to this age, or a real estate practitioner with clients of this age would gain valuable information as to how to own real estate as you approach your senior years.


Thanks again.




Dan Heater

Communication Coordinator"


And Desiree Streeter, Broker in Bend Oregon as saying:


"Hi Sharon,


I want to thank you so much for drawing my card for the nice briefcase. That really brightened my day! I have had some really rough times lately with caring for my mother who has been ill for the past 2 years and then my husband being in the hospital since Feb 2 and getting out tomorrow. With that and work I have definitely had a full plate!


I really enjoyed the class today. I went into it knowing nothing at all about Reverse Mortgages. It was very interesting and I gained a lot of knowledge which I will use. I will highly recommend this class to others I know when I see it posted again. I look forward to your updates!


Thanks Again!



Desiree' Streeter

Real Estate Broker



If you would like more informaiton as to how I can bring this to your Association or Office please do not hesitate to contact me.  For more general information please visit my website or call me direct at 541-891-5706 (cell)  503-534-3546 (office).  I look forward to serving your needs.


Sharon Falvey

NMLS# 582985

Vice President, Northwest Sales

Home Equity Specialist



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My blog is a personal expression of my own thoughts, and opinions and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of Security One Lending

Comment balloon 2 commentsSharon Falvey • March 08 2011 04:17PM


Thanks for the article! I haven't had much experience with reverse mortgages and your insights have been very helpful.

Posted by Tessa MacDougall over 9 years ago

Hi Tessa, Thank you for your comment.  Sorry for the delay in responding. It's definitely a niche product but with the boomers turning 65 years old this year 10,000 a day. It will become more mainstream.  Now older Americans can even buy a home with a reverse mortgage.

Posted by Sharon Falvey, Oregon Reverse Mortgage Specialist and Home Equity Expert (Security One Lending) over 9 years ago