National Council on Aging

Use Your Hometo Stay at Home
™

The official reverse mortgage consumer booklet
approved by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is committed to helping
older persons to maximize all resources, public and private,
so that they can be as independent as possible in the
residence of their choice.

As people grow older, more and more of them face health or
economic challenges that can make it more difficult for them
to continue to live in their own homes. For many seniors, their
homes are their biggest financial asset. This booklet is designed
to help older adults to understand and assess the potential range
of options, including reverse mortgages, that may be available to
them for paying for the services and supports they may need.

—James Firman, CEO

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy
organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national
voice for older Americans—especially those who are vulnerable
and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve
them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses and
government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives
of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations
across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve
their health, live independently and remain active in their
communities. For more information, visit www.ncoa.org.

You are free to copy, distribute, and transmit this publication
for counseling-related purposes.

The limits for reuse or distribution are spelled out at

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

©2013 National Council on Aging. All Rights Reserved.

Overview

Like most Americans, you probably
want to stay in your home as you grow
older. However, as it gets harder to do
things on your own, you may need a helping
hand with everyday tasks. It can be costly
to pay for help at home, along with home
modifications and other health needs. For
many people, these extra costs are a real
burden.

Older Americans often hold onto their
home as a nest egg in case they need extra
money. But when that “rainy day” arrives,
how do you tap the equity in your home?
Some people may tell you to sell the house
and move to assisted living or a nursing
home. There is another option. If you’ve owned your house for many
years, it could be worth a lot more than you paid to buy it. Home equity is
the difference between the appraised value of your home and what you
owe on any mortgages. A reverse mortgage can help you convert some
of your home equity into cash and continue to live at home for as long as
you want.

Using the equity in your home can seem like a good idea. But is it
right for you? It is a decision you should consider carefully, because the
house may be your most valuable financial asset. This booklet will help
you understand the benefits and challenges of this funding option. After
reading this booklet, you should be better able to:

-Decide if staying at home is right for you.

-Understand the different ways you can pay for help at home.

-Know where to go for more information.
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People who need help at home face many challenges. An ongoing
health problem can make it hard to know how much longer you can
continue to live at home. You should also be aware of government
benefits and community programs for seniors, and how a reverse
mortgage may affect your eligibility for these programs.

This booklet will give you the tools you need to make wise choices.
It will help you ask the right questions and plan ahead so that you
can stay at home as long as possible.

Talking with family and a knowledgeable financial advisor also
can help.
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Challenges of Aging in Place

Living at home can become difficult as you grow older. Ongoing
health conditions such as arthritis or poor eyesight can make it
hard to do household chores, drive a car, or climb stairs safely.
People who are forgetful may not take their medicine on time. Without
extra help, older people often struggle with everyday tasks after a serious
heart attack, stroke, or fall.

In the past, when an older person had trouble living alone, that was
a signal that it was time to move in with family or go to a nursing home.
But for most people this is no longer the case. Today, you can receive a
wide range of services and supports in your home or community. New
advances in medicine and technology are helping even people with
complex medical problems to stay in their own homes for many years.
This is often called “aging in place.”

Choosing to live in your home when you need extra help can be a
big decision. There are many practical and financial factors to consider.
You will need to balance health and safety issues with your desire for
independence and a familiar setting. It is crucial to plan ahead as much
as possible. Answering these questions can help you get started:

– Will living at home work for me?

–  What resources do I have to help me stay at home?

–  How long can I continue to live at home?

It is important to remember that every situation is unique. What may
work for one person might not be the best choice for someone else.

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Will Living at Home Work for Me?

First, make sure that your home is safe and comfortable, and fits your
needs. Check that the services you want are available in your area. If it
is difficult for you to live by yourself, you should consider other options,
such as a retirement community or assisted living.

The right housing for you

Where you live and the house itself can keep you from aging in place.
Think about these factors to see if staying in your own home makes
sense:

– Changing needs—A house that was ideal 30 years ago may now be
too difficult to handle alone. Older houses often need a lot of costly
maintenance, improvements, or repairs.

– Safety—A house with cluttered furniture or steep stairs is an accident
waiting to happen. Unsafe neighborhoods may make you afraid to go
shopping or attend social activities.

–  Isolation—A trip to the grocery store, pharmacy, or place of worship
can be a problem when you cannot drive. It is easy to feel lonely or
trapped when family and friends are far away.

–  Ease of use—If you need a walker or a wheelchair, it helps to have a
bedroom on the first level, grab bars in the bathroom, and ramps for
the entrance of the house.

You can fix some of these conditions by modifying your home. If you
want to live in a safer neighborhood or closer to your family and friends,
you will have to move.

Adequate help

Most older people who have health problems get help in their own
homes. Family or friends who give this help are called caregivers.
There are also many professional services. A homemaker can provide
transportation, do household chores, and assist with daily activities.
A nurse can check your medications and give medical care, while a
therapist can provide rehabilitation in your home. Adult day centers may

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offer social activities, health checks, and rehabilitation therapies. They
provide a safe and fun place to be while family caregivers are at work or
take a break from caregiving.

Relying on paid services may not work if you do not want a stranger
in your home. It can also be hard to find the services you want at a price
you can afford. Without good quality and reliable help, people with health
issues often find it hard to live at home.

Cost of supportive services

When you get help at home, usually someone comes into your house
from a home health agency. Professional services in your home can
be expensive. Some service providers charge by the hour, while others
charge for each home visit. While services in the home and community
may cost less than in a nursing home, these expenses can add up
over time. If you need a few hours of help from a home health aide in
the morning and at night, you could easily spend $76 per day, or
$2,280 per month.

Median national cost of services, 2012

Homemaker: $18/hour

Home health aide: $19/hour

Adult day health care: $61/day

Assisted living: $3,300 per month

Nursing home: $200-$220/day

Source: Genworth Financial 2012 Cost of Care Survey.

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You also may need to make changes to the house to make it easier
and safer to stay at home. Home modifications can range from a
hundred dollars to install a grab bar to thousands of dollars to install a
lift or add a bathroom to the main floor. Costs vary in different regions
of the country. They tend to be higher in areas where the cost of living
is high.

What Resources Do I Have to Help Me Stay at Home?

Look at all the resources you can use to help you live at home. You
likely have three major sources of help: support from family and friends,
personal income and assets, and the equity in your home.

Support from others

Most older Americans who have difficulty doing everyday tasks depend
on family and friends for help. Children can run errands, provide
transportation, and maintain the house. Neighbors may help with yard
work or home repairs. A spouse or adult children can also provide a high
level of loving care.

Family caregiving can be a rewarding experience. But think about
this carefully if you expect to rely on your spouse or children as your only
source of help. It can be very tiring to help someone every day, especially
if they have trouble walking or have Alzheimer’s disease. Caregivers
may develop health problems because of the strain of these activities.
Working caregivers may have to give up their job or cut the number of
hours they work to give help at home.

Personal finances

Paying for in-home services and other health-related expenses can
quickly use up a big part of a retirement nest egg. Review your finances
carefully. They will be an important part of your decision to remain at
home. Your finances include your income, savings, and investments.

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– Estimate your household budget. Work out your income and living

expenses, along with the monthly cost of any loans and credit card

debt. You also have to budget for home repairs and maintenance,

and keep up with insurance and tax payments.

–  Keep an eye on cash flow. Make sure you have enough money readily

available each month to pay for expenses. Your need for help may

vary as your health changes.

If you have financial resources such as stocks, bonds, or property
other than the home, you could sell those assets to get more money
now. If you own a life insurance policy, you may be able to use part of the
death benefit to pay for supportive services (“accelerated benefit”). If you
have very limited finances, you may be eligible for government programs.

Home equity

Home equity is the difference between the appraised value of the home
and what you owe on any mortgages. If you’ve owned your house for
many years, it could be worth more than you paid to buy it. Tapping the
equity in your home can quickly give you extra cash for a ramp or lift, or
to help pay day-to-day expenses. A home loan may also be less costly
than high interest rates from credit cards.

It can be a very emotional decision to tap home equity. Many people
see their house as a place to live, not as a resource to pay for everyday
expenses. For some, it is important to leave an inheritance for their
children. You must balance your desire to preserve home equity with the
risk of not having enough funds to continue to stay at home. Pinching
pennies can lead to poor nutrition, health complications, or a serious
accident that can put you in the nursing home.

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Other Housing Options

Living with an ongoing health condition can be hard. You may need to
change your living situation when you:

–  Cannot take care of yourself or manage the home on your own
anymore.

–  Have had several falls or other accidents.

–  Need round-the-clock supervision (such as in the later stages of
Alzheimer’s disease).

One option may be to live with your children. First, think about how

this will work. How easy will it be to live together? Will your kids have to
make changes to their house, such as
adding grab bars or building a ramp? Who
will pay for expenses such as rent?

You may not want to move because you
are afraid of losing your independence.
However, today there are many
attractive housing choices where you
can get the help you need. For example,
senior housing makes it easier to live
independently by offering services such
as transportation and social activities. In
assisted living, you can live in a private
apartment and get help with everyday
activities. Continuing care retirement

communities (CCRCs), or life care communities, offer a full range of
services from independent living, to assisted living, and nursing care.
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Your House As A Resource
Once you decide to continue living at home, the next step is to
make sure that you have enough money to pay for the help you
need. This section describes your choices for tapping home
equity. Typically, you would take out a loan that uses your home as the
collateral to guarantee that you will repay the loan. To help you decide
which option may be best for you, answer these questions:

–  Why do I need the money?

–  How much cash can I get from my house for help at home?

–  Am I prepared to tap home equity?

The equity you have built up over many years should be used wisely.
It is important that you understand the costs, benefits, and risks of the
different type of loans.

Why Do I Need the Money?

Since home loans can be costly, you need to be clear about how you plan
to use the money. Some homeowners like to plan ahead by taking out a
line of credit. These funds give them the flexibility to pay for expenses as
they arise. Others want a lump sum to deal with a specific, one-time cost
such as adding a bathroom or paying off an existing mortgage.

How long you will need the loan will also make a difference in your
decision. Are you tapping home equity to solve an immediate problem?
Or do you need funds for many years to pay ongoing household expenses? When you take out a loan to tap a portion of your home equity, you
usually cannot use the remaining equity for other needs until you pay off
the loan. It is important to look at your overall financial situation, or you
may find yourself stuck with a loan that doesn’t fit your changing needs.

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Short-term solutions for immediate needs

If you want to use home equity to deal with an emergency or for
specific problems that need attention right away, you can use several
financial options.

Single purpose loans

Many states and communities offer special loans to help older
homeowners who are struggling to live at home. These loans are
designed to meet specific needs:

–  Home repair and improvement loans: Borrowers get a one-time,
lump-sum payment that can be used only for the specific repairs or
improvements that each program allows.

–  Property tax deferral loans: These programs allow older homeowners
to defer payment of some or all of their property taxes until they move
out of the home.

Borrowers do not need to make payments on these single-purpose
loans for as long as they continue to live in the home.

Advantages

–  Single purpose loans usually cost less than conventional home
equity loans.

–  You may not have to pay back all of the loan if you continue to live in
the home for a certain period of time.

Disadvantages

–  Most programs require borrowers to be at least 65 years old. Often,
only homeowners with low or moderate incomes can apply.

–  These loans may not be available where you live.

–  The remaining equity in your home may not be available to use for
other needs.

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Conventional home equity loans

These loans can be useful if you are unsure how long you can continue
to live at home or how much help you will need. Conventional home
equity loans can also help families who have other assets they do not
want to sell right away. Until you have a good sense of what’s going on
with your health situation, you can get extra funds from these loans
without paying large fees or making drastic changes. There are two types
of home equity loans:

–  Home equity line of credit: This loan works like a credit card. You can
borrow up to a certain limit for the life of the loan. During that time,
you can withdraw money as needed. As you pay off the principal, your
credit revolves and you can use it again.

–  Home equity loan: You receive the money in a lump sum. You pay off
the loan over a set amount of time, with a fixed interest rate and the
same payments each month.

With these loans, you will pay ‘points’, appraisal fees, closing
costs, and loan initiation fees. Closing costs include attorney’s fees,
fees for preparing and filing a mortgage, fees for title search, taxes,
and insurance.

Advantages

–  If you qualify and your credit is good, you may be able to get a home
equity loan quickly.

–  With a line of credit, you only pay interest on what you borrow.

–  Since you pay for the loan from income, your home equity does not
go down.

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Disadvantages

–  You may not qualify for these types of loans. Lenders look carefully at
your income, other debt, and credit history.

–  You must be able to make monthly payments on the home equity
loan. If you can’t make these payments, you could lose your house.

–  When your line of credit ends, you must pay off the entire loan.
A lender may not let you renew the loan.

Using a conventional home equity loan to solve cash-flow problems
can be risky. If your health declines, monthly loan payments along with
other expenses may become more than you can handle.

Long-term solution—Reverse mortgage

If you expect to live in your current home for several years, you could
consider a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages are designed for
homeowners age 62 and older. These types of loans are called “reverse”
mortgages because the lender pays the homeowner. To qualify for this
loan, you must live in the home as your main residence.

Unlike conventional mortgages, there are no income requirements
for these loans. You do not need to make any monthly payments for as
long as you (or in the case of multiple homeowners, the last remaining
borrower) continue to live in the home. When the last borrower moves
out of the home or dies, the loan becomes due.

There are two types of reverse mortgages available in the market.
These include:

–  Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)—This program is offered
by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is
insured by the Federal Housing Administration. These are the most
popular reverse mortgages, representing about 95% of the market.
There are two types of HECM reverse mortgages—the traditional
HECM Standard loan, and the HECM Saver loan. With a HECM Saver
loan, borrowers pay lower upfront costs, but do not receive as much
money as they would with a HECM Standard loan.

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–  Proprietary reverse mortgages—Some banks, credit unions, and other
financial companies may offer reverse mortgages designed for people
with very high value homes.

Depending on the type of loan, borrowers may be able to receive
payments as a lump sum, line of credit, fixed monthly payment for a
specific period or for as long as they live in their homes, or a combination
of payment options. The money you receive from a reverse mortgage
is tax-free, and can be used for any purpose. Reverse mortgages have
unique features:

–  All homeowners must first meet with a government-approved reverse
mortgage counselor before their loan application can be processed
(HECM program).

–  Older borrowers may receive more money, because lenders include
life expectancy in calculating loan payments.

–  The national limit on the amount you can borrow under the HECM
program may change from year to year. You can check the current
national limit at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/
program_offices/housing/sfh/hecm/hecmabou.

You now may use a HECM reverse mortgage to buy a home. This
can make it easier for you to downsize to a house that better suits your
needs, or to move closer to family caregivers.

Loan closing costs for a reverse mortgage are the same as what
you would pay for a traditional “forward” mortgage. These include an
origination fee, appraisal, and other closing costs (such as title search
and insurance, surveys, inspections, recording fees). HECM borrowers
also pay a mortgage insurance premium.

Most of these upfront costs are regulated, and there are limits on the
total fees that can be charged for a reverse mortgage. The origination fee
for a HECM loan is capped at 2% of the value of the property up to the
first $200,000 and 1% of the value greater than $200,000. There is an
overall cap on HECM origination fees of $6,000 and a minimum fee of
$2,500. You can finance these costs as part of the mortgage.

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Advantages

–  You (or your heirs) will never owe more than the value of the home
if you sell the property to repay the loan, even if the value of your
home declines. If your heirs choose to keep the home, they will need
to pay off the loan at 95% of the fair market value of the home, as
determined by a third-party appraiser.

–  You continue to own your house and can never be forced to leave,
as long as you maintain the home and pay your property taxes and
insurance.

–  Depending on the type of loan, you may be able to get your loan
funds through a combination of payment options (such as lump sum
and line of credit). You can change the payment plan for a small fee.

–  For HECM loans, the available balance on the line of credit may
increase over time, depending upon interest rates.

–  If there is in an existing mortgage on the property, the proceeds of
the reverse mortgage are typically used to pay off the loan. This can
increase the cash you have available each month, because you no
longer have to make payments on your regular mortgage.

Disadvantages

–  Closing costs for a reverse mortgage (origination fee, mortgage
insurance premium, appraisal and other upfront costs), and the
servicing fee can vary a lot by the type of HECM loan, and by lender.
Closing costs can be financed into the loan.

–  You may use up a large part of your home equity over time and have
less to leave as an inheritance to your family.

–  If you are the only homeowner and you stay in an assisted living or
nursing facility for more than a year, you will be required to repay the
balance of the loan.

–  Reverse mortgage borrowers must keep their home in good repair,
and pay property taxes and homeowners insurance. If you do not
have enough money for these expenses, you could face foreclosure
and lose your house.

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The loan amount can vary by thousands of dollars among different
reverse mortgages. So it will be important for you to consider your
options carefully when selecting a loan.

How Much Cash Can I Get From My House?

Several factors control how much you can borrow. These are the value of
the home, the type of loan you select, and the current interest rate.
The age of the youngest homeowner is also a factor for reverse
mortgages. To find out how much money you may be able to get from
a reverse mortgage, use the simple, online calculator from IBIS

(http://rmc.ibisreverse.com/default_nrmla.aspx).

The condition of the home and
property values in your area may
also determine how much cash
you will have to pay for help at
home. If you’ve lived in your house
for many years, it will have aged
considerably. The house needs to be
in good repair to qualify for a reverse
mortgage.

Property values may increase
over time. A home that appreciates
by 2% each year will increase
in value from $150,000 to over
$165,000 in five years. If you can
continue to live at home safely, it
can be worthwhile to use some of
your growing equity.
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How long will the reverse mortgage last?

Reverse mortgages make the most sense for you if want to stay in your
current home for many years. If you have an ongoing health condition, it
is important to understand how much money the loan will give you to pay
for help over time.

Let’s consider the situation of three families who take out an
adjustable rate HECM reverse mortgage. They live in a house that is in
good repair and worth $200,000. They own their homes free and clear of
any debt.

Scenario #1: Bill Smith (age 63) recently retired and struggles to pay
his current mortgage. At his age, Bill receives over $115,000 from his
HECM Standard reverse mortgage which he uses to pay off his existing
mortgage. This frees up extra cash for monthly expenses. He needs to
be sure that he can pay property taxes and insurance each year. He
also has to plan ahead, because interest payments add up over time,
which can leave him with little or no home equity.

Scenario #2: Joe and Liz Anderson (ages 75 and 73) built their 2-story
dream home after retiring. Recently, Joe had a mild heart attack and
has difficulty climbing the stairs. They opt for a HECM Saver with its
lower closing costs. Based on Liz’s age, the Andersons receive about
$105,000 from their reverse mortgage. They take $20,000 of the loan
to install a lift and make other home modifications. They keep the rest
($85,000) in a line of credit for future needs.

Scenario #3: Melba Jones (age 80) has lived in the same town all her
life. She knows she can rely on family and friends for help with her
arthritis. Her big concern is using up all her retirement funds. She
receives over $134,000 from the HECM Standard loan and selects a
tenure payment plan. This gives her $925 per month for as long as
she stays in her house. This gives her peace of mind, knowing that
she can pay for extra expenses and won’t be a burden to her children.

Interest rates change frequently, so only a mortgage lender can tell
you how much you may get from a reverse mortgage.

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Am I Prepared to Tap Home Equity?

Whether you are considering a loan or decide to sell the house, chances
are that it will take time to get the equity in your home. Plan carefully to
make sure that these funds will be available when you need them. These
problems could slow the process:

– Legal issues—Make sure that
you have a durable power of
attorney that includes real
estate. This allows your family
or trusted friend to make
decisions if you cannot do so.

–  Title to the home—
Understand who owns the
home. If you add children or
grandchildren to the title, you
may not be able to qualify for
a reverse mortgage (since
all homeowners have to be
at least age 62), or sell the
house without their consent.

–  Home repairs—For major repairs, it can take up to several months to
find a contractor, get the necessary permits, and complete the job.

–  Finding a new place to live—If you sell the house, you must find
somewhere else to stay. Your children may need time to prepare
their home if you plan to live with them. Retirement communities and
senior housing apartments often have long waiting lists.

Transactions involving the home usually involve many, different
people. These may include your banker, a real estate agent, lawyer,
appraiser, inspector, and contractors. To avoid delays, plan ahead as
much as possible.

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Government Programs

Government programs provide an important safety net. They help
older Americans who have limited financial resources, and who
cannot pay for help at home. Several public programs help older
people cope with an ongoing health condition. If you qualify for these
programs, you may not need to use your home equity.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint Federal-state program. It pays for long-term care for
older Americans with low incomes and resources, and those who have
high health care expenses. Medicaid may cover case management,
homemaker services, home health aide, personal care, adult day
programs, respite care, and nursing home care. These services can vary
by state. To qualify for Medicaid, you must meet the income and asset
requirements in your state. To get help at home, you also need to have
a serious physical or mental condition. If you receive Medicaid services
and you pass away, the state must try to recover the money it spent on
your care from your estate.

The rules for Medicaid eligibility and treatment of the house are
complicated and vary from state to state. Taking out a home loan
may affect your eligibility for Medicaid or other means-tested public
programs. To learn more, talk to a senior counselor or knowledgeable
financial advisor.

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The VA provides long-term care services primarily to veterans with a
service-related disability, low-income veterans, and former prisoners of
war. Veterans may be eligible for nursing home care, assisted living, or
help at home including respite care, homemaker services, home health
care, or adult day care. If you are a veteran, you and sometimes your
spouse may receive low-cost care in state veterans homes. You may also
be able to pay for home repairs and modifications by refinancing your
house with a low-cost VA loan.

Medicare

Medicare, the national health insurance program for seniors, mainly
covers medical care (doctors and hospitals). If you have Medicare, it will
pay for a home heath aide, but only while you get skilled nursing care or
rehabilitation therapies at home. Once you no longer need skilled care,
Medicare will stop paying for home health care. This is true even if you
still need help with everyday activities.
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Other Resources to Help You Live at Home
Your local Area Agency on Aging offers a wide array of services.
These can include help with household chores, meals served in
community locations, adult day care programs, senior centers,

protective services, and legal counseling. You may be able to get

these programs free or at very low rates. Many communities also

provide low-cost services so that seniors can continue to live at home.
These programs may include special
transportation programs, friendly visits
or telephone checks to seniors who live
alone, light housekeeping, and help with
home modifications or repairs. Faith-based
organizations and charities can also help.
Your pharmacy or grocery store may offer
free home delivery.
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Where to Go for More Information
Home Equity Advisor is a free website where you can find information,
tools, and consumer advice on how to use and protect the value in your
home: http://www.homeequityadvisor.org

BenefitsCheckUp® is a quick, confidential, and free web service that
helps you find federal, state, local, and private benefit programs for
which you may be eligible: http://www.benefitscheckup.org/

Eldercare Locator can help you find services and programs in your area:
Call 1-800-677-1116 or check the web at http://www.eldercare.gov

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence offers tips on how to check if
homes are safe for elders and how to pay for home modifications:

http://www.homemods.org/

The Family Care Navigator can help to find resources for families who
are caring for a loved one: http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/fcn_
content_node.jsp?nodeid=2083

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Ask CFPB website provides
answers to many consumer questions about reverse mortgages: http://
www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/search?selected_facets=category_
exact:Mortgages&selected_facets=tag_exact:reverse%20mortgage

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association has publications
and a reverse mortgage calculator. Visit http://www.reversemortgage.org

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Use Your Home to Stay at Home™
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Look at the big picture
Your ability to live at home is likely to change over time. It is
important to look at your financial situation beyond what you
need right now. Short-term solutions could be risky if you require
ongoing funds for several years. It helps to save some of your
home equity so you have the option of moving to a better living
situation.

Don’t wait until the last minute

Timing is critical when making decisions about the home. You
or your family could end up facing a serious cash crunch if you
wait until a crisis to start thinking about how to tap home equity.
To avoid stress, disappointment, and costly delays, plan in
advance. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to find a good
solution.

Have ready cash for emergencies

It helps to have a three-month emergency fund of cash you can
access easily, such as a money market account or short-term
certificate of deposit. If this is not possible, make plans and
prepare for how you would pay for an emergency. If you run
short, use credit cards sensibly. Avoid salespeople who show up
at your door with a quick fix to your financial problems.
Tips for OlderHomeowners

Create a family budget

A sudden change in health can disrupt the best laid financial
plans. You will need to monitor your finances each month to
keep family affairs running. The best way to understand your
family’s cash flow needs is to create a budget.

Talk to your family

It can be hard to discuss personal financial matters. However,
good communication can bring a family together and reduce
confusion. Talk with family or other heirs before taking out
a loan. They will need to pay off the loan balance or repay
Medicaid if they want to keep the house.

Don’t rush into any decision

If you decide to take out a home loan, weigh all the options
to find the best solution for you. Shop around with different
lenders to check that the interest rate and fees are competitive
and fair.

Only sign papers that you understand. Ask questions if you
are confused. Get help from a trusted family member or friend
who understands financial matters. Agencies that offer reverse
mortgage counseling can give you independent advice.

The only time you need to act fast is if you decide you do not
want the loan. Federal law gives you three days to get out of a
reverse mortgage or home equity loan contract. You may cancel
the loan for any reason, but you must do it in writing within
three days.

25

Notes
26

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit
service and advocacy organization headquartered
in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for
millions of older adults—especially those who are
vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community
organizations that serve them. It brings together
nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government
to develop creative solutions that improve the lives
of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of
organizations across the country to help seniors
find jobs and benefits, improve their health,
live independently, and remain active in their
communities. For more information, please visit:

www.ncoa.org, www.facebook.com/NCOAging,
www.twitter.com/NCOAging.
1901 L Street, NW, 4th Floor n Washington, DC 20036

202-479-1200
www.NCOA.org n www.facebook.com/NCOAgingwww.twitter.com/NCOAging