Submitted by: Gwen Eckley
Foreclosures are a major problem facing many people; especially home owners with equity. With the tight global economic situation, we have outlined several viable options along with some of its brief characteristics.
The first option listed here is known as Reverse Mortgage. For homeowners with equity in their homes; especially those aged 62 years and above. Reverse Mortgages need not be repaid unless owner of the home moves, sells the home, or in the event of death. There are basically 3 different kinds of Reverse Mortgage home loans to consider from:
–Single Purpose Reverse Mortgage
Generally a low cost loan is not readily available in every city. It is also normally used for specific purposes such as repairs and home improvements and in some cases, shortage of property taxes. This form of loan is usually available from government agencies and in some cases, non-profit organizations.
–Proprietary Reverse Mortgage
Owned or backed by private companies, this is the most expensive of the 3 loans available. Without the backing of any government and non-profit organizations, these forms of loans are generally offered with the purpose of making money. The characteristics of this loan is similar to that of the Federal Insured reverse mortgage.
–Federal Insured Reverse Mortgage
Backed by the US Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD), it appeals to the low income group as there is no need for medical and income requirements. Also known as home equity conversion mortgage or HECM, it may lead to a high cost (more than single purpose loans) if home owners do not stay for long periods. Can be used for any purpose and easily available in most US cities.
Another viable option is the balloon payment loan. This type of loan usually means the monthly payments are low and if paid within a few years, one can refinance their home to avoid balloon payments. However, it is this very method that has caused as much as 46% of homeowners to end up in foreclosures. It is a tempting but risky option.
The balloon payment loan relies on property values to rise above the initial loan as well as interest rates to be at a place where refinancing is a viable option. Herein lies the problem. What happens if by the time the balloon payment is due, your home value is less than required to refinance? Suddenly your stuck with a huge payment due and no way to cover this payment from a refinance.
The other difficulty can come with an increase in interest rates. Refinancing your home at a higher interest rate can create problems by increasing your monthly payment beyond your ability to keep up with the payments. Before considering this type of loan, make sure you speak to someone who has your best interests as the first priority, not the banks.
There are several other options available such as credit line, taking a second loan and enduring a prepayment penalty. Each and every of these methods comes with its pros and cons. There are always two sides to a coin and the best is to be armed with the knowledge and weigh the options carefully before arriving at a solution to combat foreclosures.
It is wise to learn as much as you can before discussing your financial options with your bank. When you have knowledge of your options, it is easier to ask the right questions.
About the Author: Gwen Eckley is working to help people understand their options when under financial stress. Her research includes options for home owners facing foreclosure and other financial difficulties. Visit
Reverse Mortgage Pros Cons
for more financial options.