It’s hard for to believe, but I've been doing reverse mortgages for eleven years now. Oh my goodness, time flies!
My first experience with a reverse mortgage was back when I owned a successful mobile notary company and was asked to do a reverse mortgage closing for the first time. As I started going through the client’s closing package at their home in south Los Angeles, I noticed there were two notes and two deeds of trust in the closing package. Hmmm, that’s strange. I’ve done thousands of closings and I’d never run across a single mortgage loan that had two notes and two deeds of trust. It just didn’t sound right, so I didn’t trust it – at least at first. I politely excused myself from the closing and explained to the borrowers that I did not understand this type of loan and didn't feel comfortable notarizing their documents.
On the way home I got a phone call from John, the loan officer. I fully expected him to chew me out for not completing the closing, but he was instead really nice.
“Debbie, your heart is in the right place”, he said. “I commend you for protecting your clients, but you have the wrong idea about reverse mortgages. Let me explain to you how they work.”
John explained that a reverse mortgage is a type of home loan designed to give homeowners aged 62 and older access to a significant portion of the value of their homes without having to give up home ownership or take on a mortgage payment. As long as the homeowner continues paying required property charges (property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA dues, etc.), no payment has to be made and the money doesn’t have to be paid back as long as at least one borrower is permanently living in the home. The reverse mortgage proceeds can be used for just about any purpose, including eliminating an existing mortgage, paying off credit cards, or adding to your available retirement assets.
I politely listened to his explanation, but I still didn’t trust him because he was the loan officer and I figured he had a direct financial interest in making the reverse mortgage sound good.
After finishing with John I called my escrow officer to get her take. “What's the deal with this reverse mortgage thing?”, I asked. I related to her what John had told me.
“Oh Debbie, they're wonderful!”, she replied (somewhat to my surprise). “In fact, we’re doing just reverse mortgage closings now. Everything that John told you is true; that's exactly how they work. And yes, there are two notes and two deeds of trust. The first note and deed of trust is to the lender and the second is to FHA. FHA has it set up like that to protect the senior. If the lender ever goes out of business, the second note and deed of trust gives FHA the ability to step in and make sure the borrower still receives their money from the reverse mortgage. It's really an awesome program! I like to joke with my clients that the government knows that we seniors vote and they don't want to mess with us too much. They want to make sure we get our money on time!”
I ended up falling in love with reverse mortgages so much that one day a few years later I returned home from work and told my husband that I’m selling my notary business and plan to start doing reverse mortgages.
“Sure, why not?”, he said - perhaps with a smidgen of uncertainty in his voice.
The very next day I received confirmation that this was the future for me. One of my notary clients had called her loan officer and begged for my phone number.
“Debbie, Mrs. Ballot wants to talk to you,” the loan officer told me over the phone. “Give her a call.”
Uh oh, what did I do? Did I do something wrong? As it turns out, nothing was wrong at all.
“Debbie, you have been on my mind,” Mrs. Ballot said over the phone. “I enjoyed meeting you so much and I feel like you're my new stepdaughter. I feel like I really need to talk to you and encourage you.”
“Wow, that’s amazing”, I said. As we chatted, I explained that I was considering selling my notary business to do reverse mortgages.
“I think that must be why I feel like I should talk to you,” Mrs. Ballot replied. “I think God is telling me to tell you to follow your dream.”
That sort of sealed the deal for me. The next day I called a reverse mortgage lender I knew of and told them I'm either going to start my own reverse mortgage company or I’m going to come work for them. I ended up working for them and have been doing reverse mortgages ever since.
I love what I do. I love positively impacting the lives of seniors with a reverse mortgage. As long as I continue to love what I do, I plan to keep right on doing it.
By Deborah Nance
Your Local Southern California Reverse Mortgage Professional
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iReverse Home Loans, LLC, NMLS#810502 originates reverse mortgages in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona (MB-0919584), California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon (ML-5378), Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont (1164-MB), Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Important Information: Reverse Mortgages are neither "endorsed" nor "approved" by the Federal Government. The FHA (Federal Housing Administration) provides certain insurance benefits for lenders and borrowers in connection with the lender’s HECM loans; the FHA does not make or originate loans. The owner(s) retain title to the property that is the subject of the reverse mortgage until the person sells or transfers the property and is therefore responsible for paying property taxes, insurance, maintenance and related taxes. Failing to pay these amounts or failure to maintain the condition of your property may cause the reverse mortgage loan to become due immediately. A reverse mortgage is a complex loan secured by your home. Whether such mortgage makes sense for you depends on your financial situation and needs. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you consult with a qualified independent housing counselor, family members and other trusted advisers before making this decision. This website is not from HUD or FHA and was not approved by HUD or any government agency.