Six Steps to Selecting a Reverse Mortgage Professional
Youâ€™re retired, have solid equity in your home, and have been seeing
ads for reverse mortgage, or HECM (home equity conversion mortgage).
Youâ€™re thinking this might be beneficial for you now. How do you go
about choosing the right professional to assist you?
Here are six guidelines for selecting a reverse mortgage originator (also known as a loan officer):
#1: Experience. In any field, experience is primary,
and nowhere is this more crucial than when it comes to your home and
financial security. Ask how long the reverse mortgage professional has
been doing this type of work, and note from their response whether he or
she seems to enjoy it.
A corollary to the above: is reverse mortgage lending all this person
does? You want someone who has a passion for serving seniors, and who
will be focused on you â€” not someone whoâ€™s dividing their time and
attention between other types of loan activity. Because reverse mortgage
is unique, it requires a dedicated specialist. After all, you wouldnâ€™t
consult a foot specialist for a hearing problem, right?
#2: Education. Like other professions, the reverse
mortgage field has licensing standards. An NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage
Licensing System) number tells the consumer a reverse mortgage
originator has â€œpassed a background check,â€ so to speak, and is
generally competent to handle loan transactions. Another measure of
education is how well the professional knows the history of the reverse
mortgage industry, and can explain how this impacts you as a potential
Youâ€™ll also want to ask about continuing education. Someone who has
earned their CRMP designation â€” Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional
(NRMLA) â€” has demonstrated superior knowledge and competency in the
reverse mortgage field, and is dedicated to upholding the highest
ethical and professional standards.
#3: Reputation. Business, like life, turns on
relationships. Ask your prospective reverse mortgage originator which
professionals in the community can recommend them. Financial planners,
elder law attorneys, CPAs and senior care providers are all good sources
who can potentially speak to a loan officerâ€™s reputation.
#4: Resources. You want to be sure the company you
choose can meet your needs. Ask whether they offer a variety of reverse
mortgage products, such as both the Traditional (Standard) and â€œSaverâ€
HECM, as well as fixed and adjustable loan rates. A full portfolio of
products gives you more options for making the best choice for your
specific situation.By the same token, ask, â€œHow large is your
organization?â€ While you donâ€™t need to deal with a huge company, you do
want the group you select to have a consistent track record of closing
loans and handling consumer needs.
#5: Service after the sale. A reverse mortgage, by
its very nature, implies an ongoing relationship. Ask, â€œWhatâ€™s your
policy after the sale is complete? Will you be available to answer any
questions I may have, and later for my children if they need help
selling the house?â€ Ideally, the company you choose will have been
around long enough to have assisted the families of those whoâ€™ve
purchased a reverse mortgage, once itâ€™s time to pay back the loan.
#6: Planner vs. Product Promoter. As noted above,
youâ€™ll do best with a loan officer who cares deeply about seniors and is
focused on the big picture: your income, your expenses, your health,
how long you plan to remain in your home, etc. â€” all of which helps to
shape the type of product you choose. A reverse mortgage professional
whose first concern is senior service will be your partner in making a
wise financial decision.