Non-Borrowing Spouses on Reverse Mortgages May Be Able to Stay in Home After Borrowing Spouse Dies

FHA Mandate Allows Non-Borrowing Spouses to Remain in Their Home

When seniors are tight on money, they often turn to a reverse mortgage to help ease their finances. In cases where only one spouse is 62 or older, lenders will often still do the reverse mortgage and the non-borrowing spouse usually has to sign the loan document acknowledging the mortgage is being taken out. What many borrowers and non-borrowers don’t realize is that this will leave the non-borrowing spouse without a place to live once their spouse who got the loan dies! In my opinion, this should NEVER have been allowed to be the case. People in distress are turning to Reverse Mortgages for help only to have one of the spouses, the younger one, set-up to become homeless should the older spouse die first. I would argue that people who sign these loans are doing so under duress because they need financial relief and the lender is telling them that the only way they can get the loan is to get it without the younger spouse since that person is too young to qualify.

The good news is that FHA appears to have realized this terrible situation and it has tried to alleviate it with a mandate they put out in 2015 which states that Non-Borrowing Spouses on Reverse Mortgage May Be Able to Stay in Home After Borrowing Spouse Dies! Mortgagee Letter 2015-15 is the document that may help keep eligible non-borrowing spouses from being foreclosed on.

According to the Reverse Mortgage Daily, this change came about from many years of litigation of non-borrowing spouse plaintiffs.

As One Reverse Mortgage summed it up, “Certain eligible non-borrowing spouses may avoid foreclosure thanks to the new guidelines released by the FHA on Friday, June 12. According to the new guidelines, as released in Mortgagee Letter 2015-15, when a borrower passes away, a lender may choose to foreclose the home or use a Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment (MOE). The MOE further defers the repayment of the reverse mortgage for the non-borrowing spouse. In other words, non-borrowing spouses may have the opportunity to stay in their homes after their loved one’s passing.”

Of course, there  are criteria that have to be met for the Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) with an FHA Case Number assigned prior to August 4, 2014

For cases that involve an Eligible Non-Borrowing Spouse and the FHA Case Number was assigned on or after August 4, 2014, there are additional eligibility criteria.

I am not going to kid you, the process is not as simple as just filling out a form. You may have to speak with a lender or someone else to help you make sense of all the terminology in the letter and to help you compile the packet you will need to submit, but don’t let that keep you from doing what needs to be done so you can keep your home. Think of it as compiling the information you would need to get a loan for your house because that is what it is. The task may seem daunting, but just take it step by step and you will get through it and hopefully come out with the mortgage assigned to you when you get to the end of the process.

Here is a link to an article by National Mortgage Professional Magazine to tell you more about it.

Hopefully in the future, they will allow currently “too young” spouses to be part of the Reverse Mortgage from the beginning so we don’t have people in these terrible situations.

 

Robin Watson-Bird, Ph.D. is a seasoned California Real Estate Broker and REALTOR based in Livermore CA who serves most of the Greater Bay Area and parts of the Central Valley.

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FHA Flipping Rule & VA Loan Amount Updates

Just received this great loan update from Peggy Valley of Summit Funding:

 

FHA

Here is some additional information on the new FHA rule out this week. If there are more changes, I will be letting you know.

 

1)      FLIPPED property owned less than 90 days – no FHA loan availability

2)      Flipped property owned 91-180 days – 2 appraisals required

a)      If the property value is more than 5% above the acquisition price the seller will need to justify the increase. This can include receipts, list of improvements, etc.

b)      The underwriter will have discretion as to how they look at the improvements and may ask for more detail.

c)       Also, they added another caveat – a flipped within a year of acquisition will be under extra scrutiny per FHA guidelines. If the property has been sold more than once they will  look at the history and the lowest price for the property.

So bottomline, FHA must have been having some issues with flipped properties over the past few years to make the above changes. Extra work will be required.

 

VA

VA loan limits:

1)      The VA loan limit for Alameda and Contra Costa County has been reduced from $1,050,000 to $625,500 effective midnight December 31, 2014.

2)      In order to meet and use the current guidelines the borrower MUST a) be in a ratified contract, b) have a loan application issued, and c) a VA case number pulled.

3)      So what makes for an application in today’s day and age you might ask? Ratified contract, fees from the title company, and the application electronically signed or manually signed, case number is a number being pulling by the bank so that means during regular business hours, no midnight work.

4)      The impact is that the borrower will have to come in with more funds. For example, currently if the borrower is purchasing $1,050,000 there would be zero down. With the new guidelines, same  sales price, the borrower would have to come in with $106,125 or 10.12% for downpayment.

5)      You may ask, then why use VA loans. Great question and here are the awesome answers:

a)      On a recently priced loan the borrower got a rate of 3.875% for 30 yrs AND $3300 in credits. Can’t get that anywhere else on a loan over $1M

b)      There is no mortgage insurance

c)       There is no second with an index that moves.

d)      Higher ratios are allowed

e)      AND a veteran can pay  up to 1% of the loan amount toward termite/non-allowables, etc. as long as they didn’t pay an origination fee.  None of my clients do.

f)       So the loan is a win-win for all parties

 

Peggy is a very experienced and dedicated loan agent with awesome follow-up and competitive loan products. You can reach her at peggy.valley@summitfunding.net or by calling 925-890-5255. She is very approachable,  but I would be happy to make the introduction for you if you want, just let me know. 

 

 

FHA Changes Effective January 1, 2014

Effective January 1, 2015, FHA will have let their 90 day waiver on flipped properties lapse. This means that after January 1, 2015, a borrower wanting to purchase a flip will have to wait 6 mos + 1 day to purchase.

I suspect this is going to bring an uproar in the real estate industry. I will keep you updated as things change.

So what does this mean for borrowers – for those wanting to purchase a flip they will need to be in a ratified contract, have a loan application in process AND have a case number pulled by 12/31/14. This will be difficult since everyone will be pretty much closed on 12/30/14.

 

This change will affect both buyers as well as sellers who are flipping properties. In my opinion, it will likely slow the sale of flipped homes and even lower the price of them in areas where FHA financing is the norm and so is flipping property since supply and demand will be affected.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this change and how it may affect you or your area.

(parts of this update were  excerpted from an email provided courtesy of Peggy Valley at Summit Funding, peggy.valley@summitfunding.net, 925-890-5255. The opinion is mine, however)