A reverse mortgage, also known as the HECM mortgage, is a federally insured loan that allows you to convert some of the equity in your home into tax-free cash. These loans offer many different options on interest rates, how much money you can access, and how you receive your payments.
To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must be aged 62 or older and own your own home. Your home must be your principal residence and meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) minimum property standards.
Both a reverse mortgage and a home equity loan use the equity you have in your home to generate cash. However, with a home equity loan, you need to make monthly payments on the principal and interest. With a reverse mortgage, you don't need to make monthly mortgage payments for as long as you stay in the home. The loan is repaid only after you permanently leave the home.
You can use the proceeds any way you want. Common uses include paying monthly bills, fixing up your home, paying for prescriptions and health care, making a major purchase, traveling, helping children or grandchildren, and planning for the unexpected.