How is a reverse mortgage different from a traditional home equity loan or line of credit?
A reverse mortgage offers certain advantages:
- With a traditional home equity loan or home equity line of credit, you must make monthly principal and interest payments on the balance while you live in the home — whereas a reverse mortgage has a flexible repayment feature. You can pay as much or as little as you like each month toward principal and interest, or make no monthly loan payment at all. Your reverse mortgage balance, including accrued interest and fees, does not have to be repaid until you pass away or move out, as long as you meet your loan obligations (which includes keeping current with property-related taxes, insurance and upkeep).
- If part of your loan is held in a line of credit upon which you may draw, then the unused portion of the line of credit will grow in size each month — giving you access to more available funds as time goes on. The growth rate is equal to the sum of the interest rate plus the annual mortgage insurance premium rate being charged on your loan.
- And the lender cannot “freeze” or reduce the line of credit, as long as you fulfill your loan obligations — so it will be there if and when you need it.