A reverse mortgage is a loan available to people over 62 years of age that enables a borrower to convert part of the equity in their home into cash.
Reverse mortgages were conceived as a means to help people in or near retirement and with limited income use the money they have put into their home to pay off debts (including traditional mortgages), cover basic monthly living expenses or pay for health care. There is no restriction on how a borrower may use their reverse mortgage proceeds.
The loan is called a reverse mortgage because the traditional mortgage payback stream is reversed. Instead of making monthly payments to a lender (as with a traditional mortgage), the lender makes payments to the borrower.
The borrower is not required to pay back the loan until the home is sold or otherwise vacated. As long as you live in the home, you are not required to make any monthly payments towards the loan balance, but you must remain current on your tax and insurance payments.
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