A reverse mortgage is a loan available to people over the age of 62 which allows them to convert equity in their home into cash. These loans were created to give people access to cash for expenses such as home improvements, unexpected medical costs, and in-home care by utilizing the accumulated equity in their homes.
This type of loan is called a reverse mortgage because instead of the borrower making monthly payments to their lender as they would with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower. Unlike a traditional home equity loan or second mortgage, a reverse mortgage does not have to be repaid until the borrower no longer occupies the home as their primary residence.
The most common reverse mortgage is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) which is insured by the FHA. An alternative option is the Proprietary Reverse Mortgage which is not backed by the federal government.