What Happens During a Reverse Mortgage Counseling Session?

A popular borrowing option for older Americans is the reverse mortgage. But before you can get approved for one, you have to attend federal mandated reverse mortgage counseling. Here's what you can expect.
08/25/2015 05:20 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2016

A popular borrowing option for older Americans is the reverse mortgage. But before you can get approved for one, you have to attend federal mandated reverse mortgage counseling. Here's what you can expect.

There are many benefits to having a reverse mortgage. Part of the application and approval process is a federal mandate that you attend reverse mortgage counseling. A lot of people wonder what goes on during this counseling. We've got the answers to help give you a head start.

To get approved for your reverse mortgage, you will be mandated that you attend a counseling session with a counseling agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can look-up agencies in your area that are approved by HUD here.

The goal of this counseling session is to provide borrowers with unbiased information and advice prior to them committing to this reverse home loan situation. This helps you better decide if a reverse mortgage makes sense for your situation, while avoiding putting you under the pressure of banks and loan officers to close on the loan.

What Happens During A Reverse Mortgage Counseling Session?

You will be made comfortable, typically in an office setting, where you will speak to a HUD-approved counselor about how a reverse mortgage works. Some states allow you to do this over the phone, but most mandate that this session takes place in-person.
  • You will learn more about Federal Housing Administration and how it oversees much of this program.
  • The counselor may help you compare your options with other loans or financial tools that you can use to give you a better idea of what your best choice is.
  • The counselor will help explain what the terms and conditions mean, how your interest rate affects you, any upsides and downsides, as well as to provide answers to any questions that you may have along the way.
  • You will review any repairs that are necessary before you can get approved for the loan, and whether or not they will apply towards your loan.
  • You may talk about your current income or expenses to help determine which payout option makes the most sense for your situation.
  • The counselor will also go over your financial situation and try to provide advice as to whether a reverse mortgage is your best course of action.
After you have completed your counseling session, the decision will be up to you. Bear in mind that the goal of this session is to educate, not convince. It's you who will make the decision in the end.

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