How Do I Get a Reverse Mortgage?

July 21, 2003, Revised December 2, 2006, October 15, 2007, December 2, 2008, January 25, 2010, July 27, 2012, January 13, 2013, March 28, 2017

The major steps in getting a reverse mortgage are deciding whether or not you want one, if you do, don't procrastinate but don't accept any uninvited solicitations, either. Educate yourself about the topic, and explore state and local programs that might meet your needs. With a reverse mortgage, it is as important to know what not to do as what to do. So let me start with that first.

Don’t Respond to Uninvited Solicitations

There are freeloaders about, some calling themselves estate planners, who would like to be paid for directing you to a lender, or to an insurance company selling annuities. You don’t need them, just follow the steps described below. Note: Under legislation passed in 2008, originators of reverse mortgages are barred from offering any other financial products to customers for whom they are originating a reverse mortgage.

Explore State and Local Programs That Might Meet Your Needs

Many states and localities have single purpose programs for seniors directed to property improvement or payment of property taxes. These programs are invariably good deals, but they usually have eligibility criteria that limit their availability. A good place to start looking for them is the directory of “homes and communities organized by state” on

Educate Yourself About Reverse Mortgages

 Almost everything you need to know can be found at How Do HECM Reverse Mortgages Work? My site has many other articles on the subject, you can see the list by selecting Articles in the main menu, clicking on Types of Mortgages, then scrolling down to Reverse Mortgages. Pay particular attention to the different ways a borrower can draw funds.  

Formulate a Preliminary Plan of How You Will Draw Funds

Will you take a line of credit, a monthly payment, or some combination? Read Which Reverse Mortgage Option Should I Choose?

Determine How Much You Can Draw on a HECM Reverse Mortgage

You can see how much you can draw under each HECM option using the professor's calculator by clicking HERE.

Decide Whther to Proceed With a Reverse Mortgage

Procrastinating on a reverse mortgage is easy because, unlike the situation when you took your first forward mortgage, you already have shelter and the children are grown and out. Fight the tendency by making an informed decision, which is selecting one of four options:
    *A reverse mortgage is not for you.

    *A reverse mortgage is for you, but you prefer to wait. But don't wait on the assumption that the amount you can draw will rise as you age, because rising interest rates in the future will have the opposite effect. See Take Out a Reverse Mortgage Now or Later? .  

    *A reverse mortgage is for you right now.   

     *Not sure, delay decision until counseled. If this is where you come out,

     formulate questions to be put to a counselor.

Get Counseled

Counseling by a HUD-approved counseling agency is mandatory, regardless of what kind of loan you select so use it as part of your education. You can find a counselor on your own by going to, clicking on your state, and selecting from among the agencies that list “HECM counseling”. Alternatively, you can wait until you select a lender, who will give you a list of counselors in your area.

The professor also provides counseling support to those who explore their options HERE.

Select the Lender and Proceed

Those using the professor's HECM calculator have access to multiple lenders certified by him/

In or near retirement? The Professor’s Retirement Funds Integrator (RFI) might enhance your life during retirement.

Want to shop for a Reverse Mortgage from multiple lenders?

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