How long can you live in your home with a reverse mortgage?

The number of years a reverse mortgage lasts can vary widely and depends on your particular situation. For example, if you took out a reverse mortgage as soon as you met the requirements at age 62 and lived an average life living comfortably in your home, you would enjoy benefits for about 16 years. The rules state that you must live in a property for most of the year to qualify as your primary residence. This means that you cannot be absent for more than six consecutive months for non-medical reasons.

As long as you continue to live in the house, having a reverse mortgage doesn't change who can live with you. A reverse mortgage doesn't have to be repaid within a quantified term like a traditional mortgage does. Rather, a reverse mortgage is repaid when the borrower dies, sells their home, or moves out of the house for 12 months. A homeowner who is 62 years of age or older can apply for a reverse mortgage.

Therefore, the normal term of a reverse mortgage is the length of time a borrower stays living in their home after taking out the mortgage. According to Forbes magazine, the average term ends up being about seven years. Here's what you need to know about selling a home with a reverse mortgage, including a step-by-step process. A will is particularly important for inverted mortgage borrowers who have a spouse or long-term partner who lives with them.

For example, if a couple lives together in a home but only one person appears on the reverse mortgage documents, and if that person has to go to the hospital (or a nursing home) for more than 12 months, the loan will expire. Because HECMs and other reverse mortgages don't require repayment until both borrowers die or move out, the Consumer Financial Protection Office (CFPB) recommends that both spouses and long-term partners co-borrow reverse mortgages. And ask lots of questions to make sure that a reverse mortgage works for you and that you're looking for the right one for you. A reverse mortgage can help homeowners seeking additional income during their retirement years, and many use the funds to supplement Social Security or other income, cover medical expenses, pay for home care and make home improvements, Boies says.

The rules for inverted mortgages say that the property you have the reverse mortgage on must be your primary residence, meaning it must be where you spend most of the year. In the end, the intention behind mandatory counseling is to allow potential borrowers to determine for themselves if applying for a reverse mortgage is their best option to achieve their immediate and long-term goals. All of the security measures mentioned above have had a positive impact on the reverse mortgage industry by reducing the number of defaults, ensuring that borrowers get the most out of reverse mortgages, and minimizing potential risks for lenders and their insurers. In addition, if the value of the home appreciates and becomes worth more than the balance of the reverse mortgage loan, you or your heirs could receive the difference, Boies explains.

A home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) is the most common type of reverse mortgage because it is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). To have a reverse mortgage on a property, it must be your primary residence, which means you live there most of the year. A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners aged 62 and older, who have generally paid their mortgage, to borrow part of their home equity as tax-free income. Since the term of a reverse mortgage loan depends on the existence of certain conditions, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty how long you can stay in your home with a reverse mortgage.

As you'll discover, the requirements for a non-borrowing spouse to continue with the reverse mortgage are quite complicated. 

Harry Lammel
Harry Lammel

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