NCOA Now One of Five National Reverse Mortgage Counseling Intermediaries
WASHINGTON — The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has officially been named by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as one of five national counseling intermediaries for seniors interested in a reverse mortgage.
A reverse mortgage allows homeowners age 62 and older to convert a portion of their home equity into cash while they continue to live at home for as long as they want. Anyone considering a reverse mortgage must first receive counseling from an HUD-approved agency before they can apply for this type of loan.
“In this difficult economic climate, many older Americans are turning to their homes as a source of funds,” said James P. Firman, NCOA president and CEO. “It is especially important that they and their families understand what a reverse mortgage entails as they consider this financial option.”
NCOA offers telephonic counseling to clients nationwide through its Reverse Mortgage Counseling Services (RMCS) network. The network consists of exam-qualified counselors from nine senior service agencies, including Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers, in eight states (CA, MT, MN, LA, IN, OH, MD, NV). RMCS counselors also offer face-to-face counseling in their local areas.
The toll-free number for the NCOA counseling network is 800-510-0301. Seniors can call this number to schedule a counseling session that will educate them about cost and features of a reverse mortgage. RMCS counselors also review the challenges of living at home, and help homeowners find benefits programs they may qualify for through NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp®. The fee for counseling is $125. NCOA waives this fee for seniors who are facing financial challenges such as foreclosure, and for those with modest incomes (under $20,000 for single homeowners, and under $30,000 for couples).
“What makes NCOA’s reverse mortgage counseling network unique is that our counselors have a deep understanding of the broad range of issues and options that older people face when they are considering whether this loan is the right choice for them. The new toll-free number and official HUD status expand NCOA’s service in improving consumer knowledge about reverse mortgages, especially for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.” Firman added.
In 2007, about 82 percent of the households headed by people age 65 to 74 were homeowners, as were almost 78 percent of those age 75 and older. The proportion of seniors with some type of home loan has grown to 32 percent in 2007.
For a current fact sheet on reverse mortgages, visit the news room at www.NCOA.org.