Reverse Mortgage Fees and Reverse Mortgage Rates

Do Reverse Mortgage Costs Make This Product Too Good to Be True?

Estimate Your Reverse Mortgage Loan Amount

Instantly find out how much you might be eligible for.
Reverse Mortgage Fees

Many people are concerned about the costs associated with a Reverse Mortgage. However, if you want or need equity from your home, are not willing to relocate to a smaller home, don’t want to or are unable to face regular loan payments and are comfortable reducing the size of your estate left to your heirs, then the upfront costs of a Reverse Mortgage should not be a significant issue.

Reverse Mortgage fees are generally only a disadvantage if you intend on moving out of the house in a short period of time. And while Reverse Mortgage interest rates can be high, the fees and interest are not a burden to the homeowner since they are usually financed by the Reverse Mortgage itself (so there are not any out of pocket expenses).

But, no matter how you justify them, Reverse Mortgage costs do indeed amount to a significant sum and so in this article we will help you to understand:


To help explain these details we have created an example of a fairly typical Reverse Mortgage loan. This example shows the Reverse Mortgage loan amounts, charges and interest rates for a 70 year old retiree , with a $200,000 house, and a $50,000 mortgage.

After reviewing this article, use the Reverse Mortgage Calculator to see how much money you could receive from a Reverse Mortgage on your own home.

The Different Types of Reverse Mortgages and How to Choose a Reverse Mortgage Lender

There is currently only one Reverse Mortgage type that is widely available – the HECM Reverse Mortgage. This loan can be used to purchase a home or on your existing home. Depending on how you take your loan amount, you can opt for either a fixed rate Reverse Mortgage or a variable rate Reverse Mortgage.

The HUD HECM programs are available from HUD approved lenders. These lenders must adhere to the rules and regulations structured by Congress. The maximum fees and lending limits for the HECM are set by law.

How the HECM Reverse Mortgage Calculates Loan Amounts

A HUD-approved lender will determine your actual loan amount by using:

  • The loan limit (also known as the lending limit) A lending limit is the maximum Reverse Mortgage loan amount that any home would qualify for.
  • The value of your home – as determined by an appraisal
  • Prevailing interest rates
  • The amount of any outstanding loans against your house
  • Your age

Since early 2009, the HECM loan limit nationwide is set at $625,500. As the HECM Reverse Mortgage program is administered by the Department of Housing & Urban Development, legislation may increase (or decrease) this amount in the future.

Loan Amounts Available on a Typical Florida Reverse Mortgage *

In the following sections we detail Reverse Mortgage loan amounts, fees and interest expenses for a fairly typical homeowner.

  HECM
(Variable Interest Rate)
HECM
(Fixed Interest Rate)
 
Maximum Loan Principal (loan principal limit): $106,000* $114,000

* On a $200,000 house owned by a 70 year old retiree; this amount will also vary based on company margin and current interest rates.

The Fees Associated with a Reverse Mortgage and the Actual Funds Available to the Homeowner

Now that we have an initial starting point for this Reverse Mortgage, we can calculate the various fees this sample client could expect to finance in the loan.

Reverse Mortgage Fees

  HECM
(Variable Interest Rate)
HECM
(Fixed Interest Rate)
 
Origination Fee: $4,000 $4,000
Mortgage Insurance Premium: $1,000 $5,000
Third Party Closing Costs (est): $2,298 $2,298
 
TOTAL FEES: $7,298 $11,298
 
Loan Amount After Fees: $98,702 $102,702

An explanation for each fee follows below:

  • Origination Fee:

    The Origination Fee is the upfront fee charged by the Reverse Mortgage lender to initiate the loan. The entire amount of the origination fee may be financed as part of the mortgage.
  • Mortgage Insurance Cost:

    Mortgage insurance costs are unique to the HECM product. HUD guidelines require that all HECM Reverse Mortgage borrowers receive Reverse Mortgage insurance, which guarantees that you will continue to receive benefits no matter what happens to your investor and ensures you will never owe more than the value of the home at the time you repay the Reverse Mortgage.
  • Third Party Closing Costs:

    Third Party Closing Costs represent a number of services that may need to be undertaken before the Reverse Mortgage can be finalized. These can include appraisals, title searches, surveys, inspections, recording fees, local, state, and federal mortgage taxes, and credit checks. As these fees vary from place to place and by vendor; the amount quoted above is an approximate average.

Paying Off Existing Liens – No More Monthly Mortgage Payments

For many borrowers, the number one benefit of securing a Reverse Mortgage is eliminating ongoing traditional mortgage payments. If you have an existing mortgage – or any other liens against your home – these must be paid off using the funds from your Reverse Mortgage. You may not have both a traditional mortgage and a Reverse Mortgage at the same time.

Eliminating your traditional mortgage payments can be an excellent way to improve your monthly cash flow in retirement.

In this example, the $50,000 mortgage is paid off – leaving a sum of money that can be used as the homeowner sees fit – depending on the type of loan that has been chosen.

  HECM
(Variable Interest Rate)
HECM
(Fixed Interest Rate)
 
Net Principal Limit (Net balance after fees) $98,702 $102,702
Less Current Debt Payoff $50,000 $50,000
Remaining Money $48,702 $52,702

Cash Available to Borrower After Fees and Payoff of Liens

Following the deduction of the upfront fees and the payoff of the existing mortgage (a Reverse Mortgage borrower must always pay off any existing mortgages and other liens against the home), the borrower in our Reverse Mortgage example is left with the following amounts available in the form of lump sum cash or line of credit.

  HECM
(Variable Interest Rate)
HECM
(Fixed Interest Rate)
Remaining Money After Fees and Payoff of Liens $48,702 $52,702
Less Upfront Cash $0 $11,400
Fixed-Rate Unusable Funds n/a $41,302
Less Selected Creditline $48,702 $0
Initial Creditline Growth Rate +3.919% n/a
 
Available In First Year $6,302 $0
Available After First Year $42,400 $0

The amount of cash available and when it is available to a Reverse Mortgage borrower varies depending on the type of loan you receive.

Adjustable Rate: With an adjustable rate Reverse Mortgage loan, the borrower must put all funds that are available after the payoff of liens into a line of credit or a tenure (monthly payments).

The advantage of a line of credit is that you only pay interest on the funds you withdraw, not the total amount that is available to you. And the money in the line of credit actually EARNS interest.

In this example, the borrower has a total of $48,702 in money available to them – to be used in anyway they wish. However, this borrower is only allowed to withdraw $6,302 (60 percent of their loan principal limit) in the first year of the Reverse Mortgage. The remaining $42,400 (plus interest earned) can be tapped thereafter.

Fixed Rate: With a fixed rate loan, the cash you can access from the loan is more limited. If you opt for a fixed rate loan, you are only allowed to withdraw 10 percent of your principal limit. (In this example, 10 percent of $114,000 which is $11,400.)

The unusable funds will just remain as home equity.

Monthly Payments Available to Borrower After Fees and Payoff of Liens

Instead of cash, a Reverse Mortgage borrower may opt to receive monthly payments for their lifetime – but only if they opt for the adjustable rate loan. Monthly payments are not available for the fixed rate Reverse Mortgage.

  HECM
(Variable Interest Rate)
HECM
(Fixed Interest Rate)
Remaining Money After Fees and Payoff of Liens $48,702 $52,702
Monthly Lifetime Cash Payments $312 n/a

Monthly lifetime payments can be an excellent way to supplement your lifetime income.


How Reverse Mortgage Interest Rates Are Calculated

Although you may be concerned about the fees on a Reverse Mortgage, the highest cost associated with this product is interest. The good news is that the interest payments are added on to the principal of the loan, and no payments are due until the borrower leaves the property on which the Reverse Mortgage has been placed. Best of all, the amount due on a Reverse Mortgage will never exceed the value of the property at the time the Reverse Mortgage ends.

Method of Calculating Interest Rates

Interest rates for a Reverse Mortgage float on a base of an established benchmark interest rate index and adjust periodically within maximum allowed adjustments and within interest rate caps.

The table below shows how the HECM Reverse Mortgage loan program calculates interest.

Index Base Rate: The Index Base Rate is the interest rate of the publicly published financial index upon which the Fully Indexed Rate is based. These rates fluctuate over time.

Margin: The margin is the lenders’ profit margin above the value of the publicly published financial index. The interest rate margin is bounded by maximums and minimums, but varies company by company. The above figure is an average.

MIP Margin: In addition to the upfront fee, all HECM Reverse Mortgages involve an annual margin applied towards premiums for federam Mortgage Insurance. As of February of 2013, this margin is 1.25%.

Periodic Rate Adjustments: Periodic Rate Adjustments refers to the periodic adjustment to the Fully Indexed rate. It applies only to Adjustable Rate Reverse Mortgage programs.

Interest Rate Caps: Interest Rate Caps are a preset maximum Margin used to calculate the maximum Fully Indexed Rate of the reverse mortgage loan. The loan may or may not reach this maximum depending on the change in Index Base Rate.

Initial Fully Indexed Rate: This is the actual interest rate charged at the beginning of the loan, calculated by adding Index Base Rate + Margin = Fully Indexed Rate.

Maximum Fully Indexed Rate: This is the maximum actual interest rate that could be charged, calculated by adding Index Base Rate + Margin + Maximum Periodic Rate Adjustments = Maximum Fully Indexed Rate. Fully Indexed Rates will likely go up and down over the life of the loan and may or may not reach the Maximum Fully Indexed Rate allowed under the program’s interest rate cap. Depending on whether you select an annually or monthly-adjusting interest rate, the cap on your interest rate will be different.

The maximum fully indexed interest rates and interest payments can be a considerable drawback for Reverse Mortgage borrowers. However, Reverse Mortgages have a significant advantage. Interest payments are added on to the principal of the loan (with no payments due until the borrower leaves the property) and the amount due on a Reverse Mortgage will never exceed the value of the property, even if the property decreases in value over the lifetime of the loan.

Comparing Reverse Mortgages to Home Equity Loans and More

A Reverse Home Mortgage is not the only way to cash in on your home in retirement. Other ways of getting money out of your home include:

  • Downsizing
  • Home Equity Loans
    • Cash-out Mortgage Refinancing with either fixed rates or adjustable rates (refinancing your first mortgage)
    • Second Mortgages
    • Home Equity Line of Credit

The initial interest rates on most home equity loan products are slightly lower than those charged by Reverse Mortgage loan products.

While home equity interest rates can be lower than those charged on Reverse Mortgages, the primary disadvantage of home equity loans is that you will have to make loan payments and if the rate is variable, those payments can increase dramatically if interest rates go up. This is often difficult for retirees living on a fixed income. It is also possible to default on a home equity loan and lose your home.

Click here for more information on home equity loans.
Click here for information on equity based loan interest rates

Comparing Downsizing to a Reverse Mortgage

Downsizing can be the most economically efficient way of securing money from your home in retirement. However, the costs of moving are impossible to generalize and declining home values or a soft real estate market may make your home difficult to sell.

Nonetheless, it might be worth your while to consider how much you might be able to sell your house for and how much less you could buy another house for. If considering downsizing, you will also want to factor in the costs of using a realtor to sell your existing house and buy a new house and moving costs as well as the emotional attachment you have to your existing home.

Click here to learn more about downsizing.

Find Out How Much Money is Available to You with a Reverse Mortgage

The NewRetirement Reverse Mortgage Loan Calculator enables you to find out how much money is available to you from your own home. Visit the Reverse Mortgage Calculator here.

Or, continue here if you wish to connect with a prescreened HUD approved Reverse Mortgage lender.

Estimate Your Reverse Mortgage Loan Amount

Instantly find out how much you might be eligible for.