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  • Writer's pictureNilda Medina

What is a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a loan based on the current paid-up value or equity in your home. Instead of making a monthly mortgage payment, your lender can use your equity to pay you a set monthly amount, provide a credit line for you to draw upon as needs arise, or pay out a lump sum to you. While gaining access to this money sounds great, it’s essential to understand how a reverse mortgage works to avoid any pitfalls.

How does a reverse mortgage work?

When you have a regular mortgage, you pay the lender every month so you can eventually own your home outright. With a reverse mortgage, you get a loan in which the lender pays you. Reverse mortgages use part of the equity in your home and convert it into payments to you. You do not need to pay back this loan until you move, sell the home, or pass away. When you (or your heirs) sell the home, the reverse mortgage loan balance is deducted from the proceeds of the sale. Any balance remaining from sale proceeds reverts to you or your heirs.

What can you pay for with a reverse mortgage?

Here is a shortlist of expenses you can pay for with funds from a reverse mortgage:

  • Medical debt

  • Living expenses