You've seen the TV advertisements.
Formerly famous actors pitching something called a "reverse mortgage" as a way to get out of your house without selling it.
But they never quite explain how.
"Instead of you making monthly mortgage payments to the lender, the lender gives you a monthly payment, or a lump sum payment or a line of credit that goes against the equity in your home," explains Norma Garcia, of Consumers Union.
It's marketed to an older audience because you have to be over 62 to qualify. Garcia says that's not the only thing the commercials may not tell you.
"It's a very expensive way to borrow money against their home, and it's a decision that needs to be entered into very carefully, if at all," she said.
Expensive because you're still responsible for property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. Fail to keep up and your loan could come due, meaning you could lose your house.
Consumer's Union recommends alternatives to the deals being pitched on TV, like looking to family members for a kind of "in-house" reverse mortgage.
"So that everyone benefits that will actually result in preserving the equity in the home rather than shipping the equity off to the reverse mortgage lender," she said.
Which she says can easily be set up through a CPA and a lawyer.
For more info about reverse mortgages, check out defendyourdollars.org.
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