This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

Reverse Mortgages Look Good Even If You Don't Need One

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Is this a good time to get a reverse mortgage? Yes -- even if you don't need one.

That's the recommendation from Jack M. Guttentag, an emeritus finance professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. On his website, The Mortgage Professor, he says homeowners old enough to have a reverse mortgage -- 62 or older -- should think about getting a reverse mortgage credit line now even if they won't use the money for years. Reason: Today's low interest rates make reverse mortgages something of a bargain, allowing you to borrow more if you lock in before rates rise.


A reverse mortgage is a loan against the homeowner's equity, which is the current value of the home minus any debt against it such as a mortgage or home equity loan. Like an ordinary mortgage, the reverse loan charges interest, but the borrower makes no monthly payments. Instead, the debt, plus the gradually growing interest charges, are paid off when the borrower moves permanently, sells the home or dies.

The debt can never exceed the proceeds of the home sale, so the reverse mortgage debt does not endanger the borrower's other assets. The most common type of reverse mortgage is the federally backed Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.

Because there's no telling how large the borrower's debt could grow, reverse loans manage the lender's risk by providing less than 100% of the homeowner's equity at the time the loan is approved. A key factor in this calculation is the "expected interest rate." The lower it is, the more the homeowner can borrow, and rates are quite low today.


"For example, at an expected rate of 4%, which has been a common rate during 2013, a senior of 62 with a home worth $300,000 can draw an initial credit line of about $174,000," Guttentag says. "At an expected rate of 6%, the line drops to $140,000 and at 10% it falls to $54,000."

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,424.85 +162.29 1.00%
S&P 500 1,862.31 +19.33 1.05%
NASDAQ 4,086.2250 +52.0640 1.29%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs