It seems like there are quite a few commercials and advertisements lately for reverse mortgages. Members are encouraged to do extensive homework on this type of product before responding to the many offers targeted at senior citizens. Frankly, I see some red flags that seem very similar to the underwriting problems associated with the sub-prime mortgage crisis of the past few years. There is no analysis of a borrowers ability to repay. Income is not an issue. The government insures the majority of these loans. The strength of the loan is based upon the home valuation increasing over time. Sound familiar?
There are no payments on these reverse mortgage loans. That means that loan interest is accruing for years adding tremendous profits to the banks that offer these loans. Reverse mortgages just seem like another mortgage product designed for consumers who may or may not be able to afford the money they are borrowing.
There are many online resources on the topic of reverse mortgages. I encourage members thinking about a reverse mortgage to research these resources. The AARP has good information offering pro's and con's on reverse mortgages. Below is a link to a good New York Times article on the subject - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/17/your-money/mortgages/17money.html
Another good resource by the National Consumer Law Center that has some good examples of seniors who have been victimized by brokers for reverse mortgages: http://www.consumerlaw.org/reports/content/ReverseMortgages1009.pdf