Refinance Your Home or Get a Reverse Mortgage?

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Refinance Your Home or Get a Reverse Mortgage?

The advantages of owning a house include having more room, greater freedom, and independence, to name a few. What is another another fantastic asset? Equity. A home’s equity may be used as collateral for loans.

There are various options for doing so, including refinancing, cash-out refinancing, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). You may get a reverse mortgage if you are older than 62. Which option, however, is best for you?

We’ll evaluate two possibilities—a refinancing or a reverse mortgage.

Key Takeaways

  • While maintaining the equity in your property, refinancing enables you to minimize your monthly payment.
  • With a reverse mortgage, you might get a monthly payment, a flat amount, or a line of credit.
  • You don’t have to settle a reverse mortgage until you relocate or die away.
  • Usually, refinancing is less expensive.

How a Reverse Mortgage Works

An advantage of a reverse mortgage over a standard mortgage is that it pays you back by drawing on the equity you’ve built up over the years of making mortgage payments. Money might be received in a flat amount, a line of credit, or regular instalments. Only seniors over 62 with substantial equity available—typically about 50%—can get one of these mortgages.

Home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs), which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), proprietary reverse mortgages, which are provided by private lenders, and single-purpose reverse mortgages, which are typically provided by state and local governments and nonprofit organizations, are the three different types of reverse mortgages.

What Is a Refinance?

Refinancing is the process of replacing an existing loan with a new one. By taking out a new loan to cover the old debt, homeowners might enjoy reduced rates or payments. Refinancing may result in substantial long-term financial savings when interest rates are low.

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Many consumers also use refinancing to modify the terms of their loan, moving from a variable-rate loan to one with a fixed rate. It is also feasible to lengthen or shorten the loan’s term. These steps could lower your monthly cost, depending on your particular financial position.


Your monthly payments may not be reduced by refinancing enough to cover the cost of aging-in-place home improvements. If your home requires extensive repairs, think about a cash-out refinancing.

Pros of Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are a popular option among seniors who want to increase their monthly income flow. A reverse mortgage has greater promise if this is the case. Even while refinancing could result in lower monthly expenses, your budget may not be greatly affected if your payment is not drastically reduced.

Additionally, reverse mortgages allow for the withdrawal of funds in a single amount, which may be quite advantageous for making repairs to your house or consolidating other debt. A conventional refinancing will simply reduce your monthly payment or lengthen the loan term. To obtain real money that you may spend whatever you choose, a cash-out refinancing would be required.

Cons of Reverse Mortgages

The major disadvantage of a reverse mortgage is that each monthly payment reduces your equity. This may not be a big issue if you have no long-term ambitions for your house. Your house will lose all of its value if you intend to give it to your children as an inheritance.

Reverse mortgages also often cost more when comparing the prices of each instrument. The FHA mandates upfront mortgage insurance charges of 2% of the entire borrowed amount and an extra 0.5% mortgage insurance fee annually since these loans are non-recourse. Based on the amount borrowed, this 0.5% is applied. Mortgage insurance is not required when a house is refinanced if there is sufficient equity.

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Pros of Refinancing

Most consumers find that refinancing is less expensive in the long run. In contrast to a reverse mortgage, it does not call for counseling sessions, which cost on average $125 each. Refinancing often entails reduced interest rates as well. Additionally, you’ll pay less for mortgage insurance.

While continuing to pay the bank, you will also continue to increase the equity in your property rather than reducing it. When you’re ready to sell the property or leave it to your heirs, you’ll make more money if you continue to develop equity.

If you’re married, a refinancing reduces the chance that your spouse may become homeless. If you apply for a reverse mortgage by yourself, your non-borrowing spouse can be required to leave the house if you need long-term care. Laws are increasingly evolving to provide protection against this, but it is something to consider.

Cons of Refinancing

Refinancing is not a good option if you want to stop making monthly payments. Although you may make lesser monthly contributions to the bank, you will still generate long-term financial savings.

A cash-out refinancing might be a better option if you needed money for home upgrades or to pay property taxes—two popular reasons for a reverse mortgage. You may borrow money in one lump amount to cover project expenditures by taking advantage of a loan with a cheaper interest rate or a shorter period.

Can I refinance to pay for home improvements?

You may be able to fund home upgrades by refinancing your property, depending on the interest rate and duration of the loan. Instead, you may want to think about a cash-out refinancing if you require a sizable quantity all at once. This enables you to withdraw more equity in the form of a lump payment on top of the outstanding amount on your first loan.

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Will I still build equity if I refinance my house?

Yes. The conditions of your loan are altered when you refinance it. Even when the interest rate is lower or the time period is shorter or longer, you don’t lose any equity and you keep accumulating equity.

Do I need a specific amount of equity to refinance my house?

Refinancing your property often takes considerably less equity than reverse mortgages, which typically demand a significant sum. In order to refinance a loan, many lenders want at least 20% equity. Your lender could still let you refinance if you have less than 20% equity, but they might also need private mortgage insurance, which would increase your monthly payment.

The Bottom Line

Refinancing your house is nearly always less expensive than getting a reverse mortgage if your financial condition permits it. Additionally, it enables you to keep accumulating equity so that you will get a larger share of the house’s earnings when you do decide to sell.

A reverse mortgage, however, is a viable alternative if you must stop making monthly payments in order for your budget to function. Before selecting a choice, thoroughly consider your objectives.

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