A reverse mortgage loan, like a traditional mortgage, allows homeowners to borrow money using their home as security for the loan. Also like a traditional mortgage, when you take out a reverse mortgage loan, the title to your home remains in your name. However, unlike a traditional mortgage, with a reverse mortgage loan, borrowers don’t make monthly mortgage payments. The loan is repaid when the borrower no longer lives in the home. Interest and fees are added to the loan balance each month and the balance grows. With a reverse mortgage loan, homeowners are required to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance, use the property as their principal residence, and keep their house in good condition.
With a reverse mortgage loan, the amount the homeowner owes to the lender goes up–not down–over time. This is because interest and fees are added to the loan balance each month. As your loan balance increases, your home equity decreases.
A reverse mortgage loan is not free money. It is a loan where borrowed money + interest + fees each month = rising loan balance. The homeowners or their heirs will eventually have to pay back the loan, usually by selling the home.