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How to sell a home with a reverse mortgage?

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How to sell a home with a reverse mortgage? | Debexpert

Are you a homeowner with a reverse mortgage who is considering selling your house? Or perhaps you are assisting a family member in selling a home with a reverse mortgage? In either case, you may have several questions about the process. Selling a house with a reverse mortgage is indeed possible, and in this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to navigate this unique situation.

Key takeaways:
Businesses should guide their client to pay off the reverse mortgage loan using proceeds from the home's sale. It's crucial to liaise with the reverse mortgage lender during this process to ensure a smooth transition.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages and their Implications

Before delving into the specifics of selling a house with a reverse mortgage, it's important to have a clear understanding of what a reverse mortgage is and how it relates to the question: can you sell a home with a reverse mortgage? A reverse mortgage is a loan, typically provided by a reverse mortgage lender, designed for homeowners who are 62 years of age or older. This product allows them to tap into the home equity of their house without selling the property or taking on additional monthly debt. Yes, you can sell a house with a reverse mortgage, but the process involves certain specific steps and considerations.

When you take out a reverse mortgage, your lender provides you with an advance on your home equity. This advance can be received as a lump sum, a line of credit, or monthly payments. The kind of reverse mortgage you might choose depends on your needs; a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and proprietary reverse mortgages are common types. While you continue to live in your home, interest and fees associated with the reverse mortgage accrue over time, which increases the loan balance and decreases the home equity.

An important point to remember is that despite receiving reverse mortgage funds from the lender, you retain the title and ownership of your house. However, as the homeowner, it's crucial to comply with all loan terms, including paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintaining the property, to avoid the risk of loan default and potential foreclosure.

Can You Sell a House With a Reverse Mortgage?

The sale of a reverse mortgage is significantly different from the selling real estate notes. But the answer is yes, you can sell a house with a reverse mortgage. However, it's important to understand that once you decide to sell, you will need to repay the reverse mortgage loan in full. This means that the proceeds from the sale of the house will first go towards repaying the outstanding mortgage balance of the reverse mortgage. It's crucial to note that if the property lost value and the sale of the home doesn't cover the full loan payoff balance, the mortgage insurance pays the difference due to the "non-recourse" clause present in most reverse mortgages, so the reverse mortgage lender receives the full loan amount. You or your heirs won't be responsible for the remaining balance.

Selling a house with a reverse mortgage follows a similar process to selling a home with a traditional mortgage. However, there are a few important details to be aware of. Let's explore the steps involved in selling a house with a reverse mortgage.

Steps to Sell a House with a Reverse Mortgage:

Step 1: Contact Your Reverse Mortgage Lender

The first step in selling a house with a reverse mortgage is to contact your reverse mortgage lender. Inform them of your decision to sell and request a payoff quote to get a clear understanding of your loan balance. This balance includes any funds you have received, interest charges, and additional fees, like closing costs. The loan balance must be paid off immediately once the house is sold.

Step 2: Find a Real Estate Agent (Optional)

While not required, you may choose to work with a real estate agent to assist you in the sales process. A real estate agent can provide valuable expertise and guidance, helping you navigate the complexities of selling a home with a reverse mortgage. They can assist with pricing the property based on its appraised value, marketing it effectively, and negotiating offers. And they also will help you understand the ways of investing in property.

Step 3: List Your Home for Sale

Once you have gathered the necessary information from your reverse mortgage lender and, if applicable, enlisted the help of a real estate agent, it's time to list your home for sale. Work closely with your agent to determine the best listing price based on market conditions and comparable sales in your area.

Step 4: Consider Utilizing a Real Estate Attorney

Depending on your personal preferences and circumstances, you may choose to involve a real estate attorney in the selling process. They can ensure that the full payment of your reverse mortgage is handled correctly and provide legal advice throughout the transaction.

Step 5: Repay the Reverse Mortgage Loan

Once your home is sold, the reverse mortgage loan must be paid off in full from the proceeds of the sale. This repayment includes the outstanding loan balance, any accumulated interest, and any applicable fees.

Step 6: Keep the Remaining Amount

After repaying the reverse mortgage loan and associated fees, any remaining proceeds from the sale of your home will be yours to keep. These funds can be used as you see fit, whether it's to purchase a new home, move to an assisted living facility, invest, or cover other financial needs.

How to choose a reverse mortgage lender?

Choosing a reverse mortgage lender is a critical decision that requires careful thought and research. Here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Understand Your Needs: Before you start your search, have a clear understanding of why you need a reverse mortgage and how you intend to use the funds. This can help you find a lender who offers the most suitable terms for your needs.
  2. Research and Shortlist Lenders: Start by researching reputable lenders that offer reverse mortgages. Look for lenders who specialize in reverse mortgages, as they will have the necessary expertise and experience.
  3. Check Lender Credentials: Ensure that the lenders you're considering are licensed to operate in your state and are members of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA). You can also check their status with the Better Business Bureau.
  4. Compare Loan Options: Not all reverse mortgages are the same. Some lenders might offer Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), while others might offer proprietary reverse mortgages. Compare these options and understand their terms and conditions.
  5. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Look at reviews and testimonials from past clients to gauge the lender's reputation. While a few negative reviews are normal, a pattern of negative feedback could be a red flag.
  6. Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to ask questions. A good lender should be able to answer all your queries and explain the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. Some questions to ask include costs, loan terms, and what happens if you pass away or move out of your home.
  7. Consult a HUD-Approved Counselor: HUD-approved counselors can provide unbiased advice on choosing a lender. They can help you understand the nuances of different reverse mortgage products and suggest the most suitable options.

Notifying Your Lender About Selling the Home

It's not only wise but also a requirement to notify your lender if you intend to sell a home with a reverse mortgage. Early communication ensures a smooth transition and assists in avoiding potential penalties or complications. When you notify your lender, they will prepare a formal payoff quote. This quote itemizes the full amount you owe, which includes the original loan amount, accumulated interest, and any additional fees or charges.

This quote is fundamental to comprehend your financial position and to plan effectively for the sale. Getting this in writing is crucial as it serves as an official document, reducing ambiguity, and providing a reference point during negotiations and transactions. It's also beneficial to involve your real estate agent and legal advisor in this process to ensure that all obligations are met, and the selling process aligns with your financial and legal best interests.

What Happens to the Money Once You Sell?

Once you sell a home with a reverse mortgage, the money from the sale first goes towards paying off your reverse mortgage balance. The balance includes the principal amount borrowed, plus any accrued interest, mortgage insurance premiums, and lender fees.

After the reverse mortgage is fully paid off, any remaining proceeds from the sale belong to you or your estate. If you are selling to move into a new home, these funds can be used to purchase the new property, cover moving expenses, or finance your cost of living. If the home was sold by your heirs after your passing, the remaining funds would typically be distributed according to your will or the laws of intestacy if no will exists.

Remember, if the sale of the home doesn't cover the full amount of the reverse mortgage, the lender cannot demand the difference from you or your heirs due to the "non-recourse" clause present in reverse mortgage agreements. The lender is only entitled to the proceeds from the sale of the home.

Penalties for Selling a House with a Reverse Mortgage

Selling a house with a reverse mortgage? There's good news. Unlike conventional mortgages, reverse mortgages come without prepayment penalties. This means you can sell your property anytime you choose without incurring financial penalties from the lender.

But how does it work? It's simple. First, inform your lender about your decision to sell. You'll receive a payoff quote showing your loan balance, including the principal, interest, and any fees. Upon selling the house, you use the proceeds to repay this balance.

What happens to the surplus if your home sells for more than what you owe? The excess belongs to you or your estate. And what if your house sells for less than the balance? Fear not. Reverse mortgages come with a "non-recourse" clause. This means lenders cannot ask you or your heirs to pay the difference.

While there are no direct penalties, it's vital to note other potential implications. Moving out of your house makes the reverse mortgage due, meaning it needs to be paid off, typically via selling the house. Additionally, selling your home can have tax implications, so it's wise to consult a tax advisor.

While selling a house with a reverse mortgage is free of penalties, understanding the process and potential implications is paramount. Seek professional financial advice to ensure you make an informed decision.


Selling a house with a reverse mortgage is indeed possible and can be managed smoothly with proper planning and consultation with professionals. The funds you receive from selling the house with a reverse mortgage can be substantial, depending on your home equity and the appraised value of your property. The sale process might seem complex, but with understanding and guidance, it's a feasible path for many reverse mortgage holders.

Remember to obtain a payoff quote in writing, list your home for sale, and coordinate the repayment of your reverse mortgage loan once the sale is complete. By following these steps, you can successfully sell your house and move forward with your financial goals.

Moreover, it's crucial to remember that the timing and method of sale could significantly influence the amount of equity you'll retain from your home. Given the nature of a reverse mortgage, the accrued interest and fees may substantially reduce the home's equity. Hence, carefully considering the current real estate market conditions and seeking professional advice can help optimize your sale proceeds.

Written by
Carlos Aispuro
Lender Relationship Director

With thirty years of experience in banking, debt collections, compliance, audit, and governance, I have supported strategic plans and improved customer experiences. I possess hands-on knowledge in crucial C-Suite areas, including developing new policies and procedures, optimizing their models, and exploring new tools to help institutions achieve their goals more effectively.

  • Banking, debt collections, compliance, audit, and governance expert
  • Crucial C-Suite areas expert



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Who holds a mortgage note?

The mortgage note is the legal document that proves ownership of the mortgage loan to the lender or investor. A mortgage-backed securities investor is one potential buyer of a note that has been sold by the original lender. Payments due from the borrower are to be made to the note holder, who may also opt to sell or transfer the note to another person. The capacity to collect mortgage payments or foreclose in the case of default is dependent on the lender's ability to track down the note's current holder.

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