If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, completing counseling is one of the first steps you will take in the application process. Understand the goals and objectives of reverse mortgage counseling so you can prepare for your counseling session with confidence.
What is reverse mortgage counseling?
Reverse mortgage counseling aims to help you understand the program and determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you. During your counseling session, the counselor will explain the features, implications, costs, and responsibilities associated with a reverse mortgage. It is very simple to complete the counseling requirement for your reverse mortgage application.
In fact, many homeowners can fulfill this requirement from the comfort of their home. This is possible because you typically can choose to complete your counseling session face-to-face or over the phone. Most homeowners only require one session to complete the counseling requirement, and these sessions tend to last about an hour.
Why do I have to complete counseling?
The purpose of reverse mortgage counseling is to prepare you to take on the responsibilities of the loan. This is a requirement for the loan application set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). During your counseling session, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss your specific financial needs with your counselor. If you successfully complete the counseling session, you will be awarded with a Counseling Certificate which you can use to move forward in the reverse mortgage process.
Preparing for your counseling session
Before you attend your counseling session, there are a few to-do items you should complete.
1. Choose a HUD-approved counseling agency
Your lender will provide you with a list of HUD-approved counseling agencies to choose from. This list will contain a few local agencies as well as national counseling agencies. You may also obtain a list by contacting HUD or using the HUD counseling agency search website. If you are planning to meet your counselor face-to-face, you will want to choose a counseling agency that is local or within driving distance to attend your appointment.
2. Make a counseling appointment
It is your responsibility to schedule an appointment with your desired counseling agency. Contact the counseling agency of your choosing to make an appointment. You will provide your counselor with some personal information like your name, contact, and the reasons why you are interested in a reverse mortgage.
3. Review the counseling information packet
The lender or counselor should also send you pre-counseling reading materials for your review before your counseling appointment. It is recommended that you read the information packet to prepare for your counseling session. These reading materials will help guide you in completing your counseling requirement as well as improve your understanding of reverse mortgages.
It is important to note that reverse mortgage counseling companies charge a fee for their services. The cost varies between $150 – $200. However, if you are unable to pay, this fee may be waived depending on your circumstance. If the counseling fee creates a financial hardship for you, alert the counseling company as well as your loan officer.
Choosing to get a reverse mortgage is an important financial decision. Reverse mortgage counseling is one necessary task to help you make an informed decision about your retirement. With a counseling certificate in hand, you are one step closer to securing the retirement you deserve.