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Reverse mortgages – beware!

324 155 Nisha Muire
If you are a senior with a paid-for home in Toronto, you might be tempted to tap into all of the money accumulated in your home with a reverse mortgage. After all, if you bought in the 1980s you home could well be worth close to or over a million dollars depending on where it is located. Beware though, that however tempting a reverse mortgage might sound, it should be entered into very carefully, with the full awareness that you or your heirs could lose al of the equity in your home and have nothing to show for it in the end.
Reverse mortgages allow you to borrow a maximum amount of the equity in your home. Usually it can be up to 60%. The money can be paid out to you in a lump sum or monthly and it is tax-free. However, remember that while you may have this money up front, you will still be incurring monthly interest fees that you don’t have to pay back – but those interest fees can quickly climb to eat away at the remaining equity in your home. Furthermore, most reverse mortgages are valid for as long as you live in your home – meaning that if you are forced to move to an assisted living facility, you or your heirs will have to repay the loan in full. If you don’t have the money, then you will lose your home as well as any money saved up and won’t have any more money to fund the rest of your retirement needs.
Although you will never own more than the value of your home when you leave, if you have passed on and your heirs want to keep it, then they will owe the difference between the sale of the home and the value. For instance, if your finale mortgage value is $500,000 but your home only sells for $450,000, if your heirs want to keep the home, then they will owe the bank $50,000. But if they don’t want to keep the home, then they will not owe this money. However, if you must move to an assisted living facility, the sale of the home will cover the mortgage, but then you will be left with nothing to live on.
Also, keep in mind that financing a reverse mortgage is expensive up-front, with closing costs coming in at around 10% of the value of the mortgage.
Reverse mortgages sound like a good idea, but they should be entered into very cautiously and with your eyes wide open to their pitfalls.


Nisha Muire

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