Wa€Shen Karen Hunzikera€™s husband, Charles, died a month after having a stroke in May 2014, she was devastated. Karen says the lender repeatedly assured her that shea€™d be able to stay in the home if anything happened to Charles. Karena€™s experience is the kind of horror story that has long led some consumer advocates and financial planners to consider reverse mortgages too risky, a loan of last resort. But over the past three years, new government regulations aimed at protecting older borrowers and shoring up the government-A­backed loan program have gone into effect. To be sure, the loans remain a poor choice for some, and at Consumer Reports we believe more reforms are needed. One high-profile proponent is Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Robert Merton, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who has studied reverse mortgages for more than a decade.
Among Americans 55 to 64, 55 percent report little to no retirement savings, according to a May 2015 Government Accountability Office report. If youa€™re considering a reverse mortgage, ita€™s critical to know what you are getting into, given the loansa€™ complexity, cost, and controversial nature.
Though never a big part of the mortgage market, government insured reverse mortgagesa€”formally known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs)a€”have been around since 1987. But after the real estate bust deflated home values and the Great Recession hit, homeA­owners in shaky financial positions began falling behind on property tax and home insurance payments. If those financial checks and loan limits had been in place sooner, a recent study by Moulton estimates, defaults would have been about 40 to 50 percent lower. Still, some consumer protection experts say the reforms havena€™t gone far enough and that loan servicers are dragging their feet helping surviving spouses take advantage of the new rules that allow them to remain in their home. One important change Consumer Reports advocates is a requirement for seniors to fill out a detailed questionnaire walking them through the loana€™s possible consequences before filling out a mortgage application. Some academics and financial planners say that reverse mortgages, strengthened by the reforms, can be used strategically by people who are worried about running out of money in retirement. For example, rather than take a reverse mortgage as a lump sum, you can access the equity in your home as a monthly payment, says Steven Sass of Boston Collegea€™s Center for Retirement Research, where he is director of the Financial Security Project.
A lump sum is tempting to spend quickly, whereas a monthly payment gives you a regular stream of income that draws down your equity more slowly, he says.
Alternatively, you could set up a reverse mortgage as a standby line of credit, says John Salter, a certified financial planner and professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Also, Salter suggests that if the financial markets are down, you could take income from a reverse mortgage line of credit rather than from other investments. Having money in reserve is what appealed to Ralph A­Kumano, 71, who took a reverse mortgage on his two-bedroom home in Auberry, Calif., earlier this year. View gallery.How Long Do You Plan to Stay in Your House?As with a traditional home loan, taking out a reverse mortgage costs thousands of dollars in closing costs and fees. Is There Another Way to Meet Your Money Needs?If youa€™re really strapped for cash, consider downsizing to lower your expenses.
Will Your Home Suit You as You Age?Reverse mortgages make the most sense if you plan to stay in your home a long time. Can You Live There If Something Happens to Your Spouse?If youa€™re married and your spouse dies or goes to a nursing home and can no longer contribute income or help with home maintenance, make sure you can afford to live in the home.
Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Get the Best Cell Phone Plan for Your Familya€”and Save up to $1,000 a YearConsumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website.
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Around the world, household drinking water purification systems, including a reverse osmosis step, are commonly used for improving water for drinking and cooking.We pride ourselves on service and provide our customers with the quality and durability of our products at competitive prices. We hope that the few minutes you invested of your time to browse through our website, provided you with the information, comfort level, and guide to any long-term water solution needs that you may have. However, the majority of them are outdated, erroneous and expensivea€? says Will Madison, the author of the TOP 2 Cell Phone Directory Comparison. Ten days later, she got another shock: a letter from a loan servicing company saying shea€™d have to pay off the reverse mortgage on her home or it would go into foreclosure. Karen, an artist, and Charles, who worked at a local warehouse, wanted to borrow $20,000 to do repairs on their home in Pollock Pines, Calif. So she agreed to be removed from the title so that Charles, then 65, was the sole borrower. But when she contacted the loan servicer after Charles died, she was told that her home was scheduled for auction in 30 days. In addition to problems when a surviving spouse isna€™t on the loan, these compounding-A­interest loans can be expensive. But some experts say that for certain homeowners, with the new regulations in place, it may make sense to consider a reverse mortgage.
Ita€™s an unfortunate reality, he says, that many people havena€™t saved enough for retirement. Congress created them with the aim of helping cash-strapped homeowners 62 and older pay for critical everyday living expenses by drawing income from their home, usually their biggest asset. The ads, featuring B-list actors such as Henry a€?The Fonza€? Winkler (shown below), aggressively pitch reverse mortgages to seniors as a risk-free way to supplement retirement income.
It issued a report last June saying that many reverse mortgage ads are inaccurate or omit important information.
It found that many consumers were confused about how the loans worked or got the runaround from loan servicers when there were problems. For the right consumer at the right time, these loans may be an excellent choice,a€? says Stacy Canan, deputy assistant director at the CFPBa€™s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development insures HECMs and is on the hook if a foreclosed home sells for less than the loana€™s value. As Karen Hunziker found out, if a spouse isna€™t listed as a borrower and the borrowing spouse dies or moves out (say, to a nursing home) for more than 12 months, the loan has to be repaid immediately or the surviving spouse faces foreclosure. A recent National Consumer Law Center survey of elder advocates found that their clients were experiencing that. The worksheet, which we helped design with a neurology professor who studies decision-making in older adults, is mandatory in California.
Sass recommends first investigating other, less expensive options, such as downsizing your house (see below).
That way the money is available if you have big unexpected expenses, such as a health emergency. A retired biology teacher, Kumano has no debt, and his home, appraised at $166,000, is paid off. According to the Center for Retirement Research, the cost of taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities average about 3.25 percent of the homea€™s value each year.
Interest on the loan compounds, so also consider whether you will have enough equity left to finance long-term-care costs if you need to go to a nursing home.
The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side. Therefore, through our commitment, our customers can be assured that their future filter requirements will be met with state-of-the-art solutions.
We also, stock a full line of Reverse Osmosis and Water Treatment components for immediate delivery. People turn to reverse phone directories for important reasons like (1) to find out whoa€™s behind an unknown number that came up on the caller ID, (2) to find out who their kids are hanging out with, (3) to find out background information about their new date, or even (4) to find out if their spouses are cheating on them. And seniors who cana€™t keep up with taxes, insurance, and home upkeep risk defaulting on the loan and losing their house. At the same time, a fast-growing number of the 76 million baby boomers, now 52 to 70 years old, are moving into the eligible age range for reverse mortgages, making them a prime audience for the loans.

Merton has come to see that a€?home equity could be a solutiona€? for retirees who would like to improve their standard of living.
Some were talked into using the money for ill-advised investments or spent it on noncritical home improvements. Since April 2015, lenders are required to assess the borrowera€™s income, cash flow, and credit history to make sure they have enough to pay the future costs of owning the home.
Last June, HUD adopted a policy that allows a nonA­borrowing spouse to remain in the home as long as it is their primary residence and taxes and insurance are paid.
But with the stringent financial checks and borrowing limits, reverse mortgages a€?are safer products,a€? he says. You could also put off taking Social Security longer by using a reverse mortgage to supplement income early in retirement.
If you leave your home soon after taking the loan, youa€™ll lose a big chunk of your home equity to fees for only a small benefit. Downsize from a $250,000 home to a $150,000 one and youa€™ll cut annual expenses about $3,250, from $8,125 to $4,875.
Think about things such as: Does it have a lot of stairs you may have trouble getting up and down? As long as you keep up with your property taxes, home insurance, and house maintenance, a reverse mortgage doesna€™t have to be paid back until you move out, sell your home, or die. About 40 percent say the primary reason they used the loan was for extra income to pay for daily living expenses, according to Stephanie Moulton, an associate professor at Ohio State University who did a study of seniors who took reverse mortgages between 2006 and 2011.
The rules it rolled out starting in 2013 and continuing through last year were instituted not just to weed out selling to borrowers unsuited to the loans but also to reduce its own risk insuring them. If they dona€™t, they may still qualify if they can put aside money from the loan to cover future taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Delaying Social Security allows the benefit payment to grow, which would give you a higher lifetime guaranteed income stream that is adjusted for inflation. With the help of Sandy Jolley, an independent reverse mortgage consumer advocate, Hunziker was able to stall the foreclosure until the new spousal guidelines were in place.
As with any transaction involving your homea€™s equity, you should discuss the implications with an independent financial adviser. Having those funds available also means that if he needs cash, he doesna€™t have to take more than the minimum he is required to take from his retirement accounts, which increases his taxable income. It is an important guide for anyone wanting to look up a residential, business or mobile phone number.Unlike fixed line residential and business telephone numbers that are freely available on the WhitePages and yellow pages, cell phone numbers are usually unlisted in the USA and many other countries. To see the worksheet, go to canhr.org and click on Free Consumer Fact Sheets, then sheet No. Mobile numbers are not published on public phone books to protect the privacy associated with cell phones.
This is why there arena€™t any T-Mobile or Verizon reverse cell phone lookup directories even though there are plenty of fixed line AT&T phonebooks available. This is the very reason why consumers are left with no option but to access an online database, if they want to find out the name and address of a cell phone owner.In addition to providing detailed reviews of the best cell phone lookup directories, they have published 10 TIPS for Accurate Cell Phone Number Lookup Results. Anyone can use these 10 tips to assess if a particular company is likely to provide reliable results or not.The importance of using a frequently updated database is especially emphasized. To make the situation worse, wireless carriers recycle numbers and give them to new subscribers. Leta€™s say someone gets a prank call from this number and he or she decides to run a reverse phone lookup with name and address. If the cell phone directory she used was up-to-date, it would correctly give David Smith as the owner of the number. However, if the directory was not updated within the last two months, it would name John Doe as the prankstera€? explains Madison.

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