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Field Guide to Reverse Mortgages

(Updated September 2013)

A reverse mortgage can provide cash to homeowners who do not want to move but would like to tap the equity in their home by allowing senior citizens to borrow against the equity, but they can pose risks to homeowners. This page includes articles, books and websites relating to reverse mortgages. Books can be borrowed through the Information Central library by clicking on the book title. (D. McCormick, Operations Analyst)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Why Should You Avoid a Reverse Mortgage?

  • Fees are high
  • Interest rates are high
  • Heirs may not get the house
  • Loan repayment triggered on move
  • Responsible for home costs

Source: 5 reasons to avoid a reverse mortgage, (US News & World Report, Money, Dec. 11, 2012).

Reverse Mortgage General Information

Basics of reverse mortgages, (Bankrate.com, 2013).

Frequently asked questions about HUD’s reverse mortgages, (HUD.gov, 2013).

Reverse mortgage overview, (Fannie Mae, 2013).

What is a reverse mortgage?, (About.com, 2013).

FHA puts new limits on reverse mortgage program for seniors, (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 13, 2013).

New hurdles for reverse-mortgage seekers, (MarketWatch, Sept. 10, 2013).

Tighter rules will make it harder to get a reverse mortgage, (New York Times, Sept. 6, 2013).

Tighter rules for reverse mortgages, (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2013).

5 must-know facts about reverse mortgages, (Dailyfinance.com, June 21, 2013).

Reverse mortgages backfiring on some seniors, (CNBC.com, June 4, 2013).

Reverse mortgage payoff mechanics and HECM purchases (webinar playback), (National Association of REALTORS®, June 28, 2012).

What to make of reverse mortgages?, (Speaking of Real Estate Blog - National Association of REALTORS®, June 7, 2012).

Reverse mortgages don't always work, (USA Today, Sept. 12, 2011).

Design and Testing of Truth in Lending Disclosure for Reverse Mortgages, (Study for Federal Reserve, July 2010).

Alternatives to a Reverse Mortgage, (HouseLogic.com, Sept. 8, 2009).

Biggest Reverse Mortgage Mistakes, (HouseLogic.com, Oct. 1, 2009).

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?, (HouseLogic.com, Aug. 28, 2009).

Don't get stuck in reverse!, (ABA Banking Journal, Aug. 2009). Q

The Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages, (Time, July 20, 2009).

Reverse Mortgage Myths, (Credit Union Management, June 2009). Q

Housing Counselors: How to Help People Avoid Reverse Mortgage Missteps, (Federal Trade Commission, June 2009).

Seniors Only: Surviving the economic Crisis with a Reverse Mortgage, (Realty Times, May 26, 2009).

Reverse Mortgages: Get the Facts Before Cashing in on Your Home's Equity, (Federal Trade Commission, Apr. 2009).

Crisis Has Long-Term Reverse Mortgage Impact, (Realty Times, Mar. 24, 2009).

625M by Stimulus Bill Making More Seniors Eligible, (Senior Journal, Feb. 19, 2009).

Reverse Mortgages Come of Age, (Credit Union Magazine, Jan. 2009). Q

The Future of Reverse, (Mortgage Banking, Jan. 2009). Q

Reverse Mortgage Disadvantages

Advantages and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage, (NewRetirement.com, 2013).

Reverse mortgage disadvantages, (Lender411.com, Aug. 10, 2013).

What to tell grandma: disadvantages of doing a reverse mortgage, (PT Money, May 13, 2013).

Top 10 reverse mortgage disadvantages that might make you reconsider, (CrockTock.com, Mar. 8, 2013).

Disadvantages of reverse mortgages, (ReadyForZero.com, Jan. 24, 2013).

Senior homeowners warned of risks of reverse mortgages, (ABC News, Dec. 5, 2012).

The 10 must-know facts about the advantages and disadvantages of reverse mortgage loans, (Property Observer, Nov. 27, 2012).

The hidden truths about reverse mortgages, (Forbes, July 23, 2012).

Exploring reverse mortgage disadvantages, (All Reverse Mortgage Company, Dec. 19, 2011).

Reverse Mortgage Loans: Pros and Cons, (HouseLogic.com, Oct. 20, 2011).

Reverse mortgage problems raising red flags, (US News & World Report, Money, June 22, 2011).

Reverse mortgage disadvantages, (Money Smart Life, Nov. 28, 2009).

Reverse mortgages – advantages and disadvantages, (Kelley Keehn Blog, Sept. 15, 2009).

Reverse Mortgage Organizations

National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association
1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel. 202-939-1760

Reverse Mortgage Counseling Association
Tel. 866-226-8215

Websites & Contacts

What is a Reverse Mortgage?, (National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, 2013).

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors, (U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development).

AARP: Reverse Mortgage Website, (American Association of Retired Persons).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Complete Guide to Reverse Mortgages (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Mortgage Answer Book (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Reverse Mortgages for Dummies® (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Housing the Elderly, (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University/Center for Urban Policy Research, 1987). HD 7287.9 R93h

The new reverse mortgage formula: How to convert home equity into tax-free income, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005). HG 2051 K29

Options for elderly homeowners: a guide to reverse mortgages and their alternatives, (Washington, DC: Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1989). HD 7287.9 Un3p

Pocket idiot’s guide to reverse mortgages, (Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2005). HG 2040.5 P76

Reverse mortgage handbook: A consumer's guide for senior homeowners, (Kissimmee, FL: Jawbone Publishing Corporation, 2004). HG 2051 B21

Reverse Mortgages for Beginners: A Consumer Guide to Every Homeowner's Retirement Nest Egg, (Apple Valley, MN: National Center for Home Equity Conversion, 1998). HG 2051 Sch6r

Reverse mortgages for dummies, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005). HG 2051 L99r

Reverse mortgages for senior homeowners, (Dearborn Real Estate Education, 2003). HD 7287.9 L13

Your New Retirement Nest Egg: A Consumer Guide to the New Reverse Mortgages, (Apple Valley, MN: National Center for Home Equity Conversion, 1996). HG 2051 Sch6y

Retirement Income on the House: Cashing in on Your Home with a Reverse Mortgage, (Marshall, MN: National Center for Home Equity Conversion, 1992). HG 2051 Sch6

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Getting a Mortgage

Field Guide to Mortgage Interest Deduction

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.