Senior Homeowners: Find the Right Financial Guidance

Senior homeowners considering a reverse home mortgage are often the targets of aggressive sales tactics. Really, your primary concern is finding a legitimate and experienced reverse mortgage lender. Here is a brief guide to help you locate the best sources for lenders in Pennsylvania.

FHA Lender Loan Limits in Pennsylvania

FHA limits mattered when you first bought your home and they matter again in the reverse mortgage process. For homeowners looking at a federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, HECM, and the FHA limits are a key factor that determines your eligibility. However, over 90% of borrowers have a HECM. But for this reason FHA limits are a crucial topic. FHA limits are laid out on a county-by-county basis across the country and reflect fairly closely the local home values.

Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania most align with national FHA limits. A number of counties are remarkably higher: Pike, Northampton, Montgomery, and Lancaster, plus those three or four counties that make up the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

PA HUD Lenders

Because the HUD HECM is so popular finding an experience HUD lender is important. Here are a few tips:

  • First, HUD and the FHA are not mortgage lenders. They administer the HECM and regulate the general housing industry; their primary goal is to keep homeownership affordable for every American.
  • They do maintain a free online list of HUD-approved lenders.
  • Find the list via the HUD website or from a mortgage counselor.
  • Never pay anyone a fee in exchange for this list. That is a popular scam.

All senior borrowers considering a HECM are urged to only seek a lender from the HUD list.

Single Purpose Reverse Mortgages Available to Pennsylvania Seniors

In some states seniors have access to a type of single purpose reverse mortgage that gives them the cash equity to pay for things like property taxes and home repairs. In Pennsylvania property taxes are levied on a local level. There are property tax deferral programs that exist, but seniors must inquire at their county tax assessor’s office. Common requirements for a real estate tax deferral:

  • Senior must be 65 or older.
  • Must have less than $35,000 in annual income.
  • Must hold the deed to the home.
  • Loan comes due when the property is transferred/sold or when the owner dies.

Similarly Pennsylvania seniors will find locally administered homeowner rehabilitation loans. For example, the Johnstown Department of Community and Economic Development offers low-income seniors an Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program. Essentially this is a no-interest loan payable at the end of the 7-year term or forgiven if the owner remains in residence. Qualified borrowers may be loaned a maximum of $15,000 and it must be used for code violations and critical home repairs.

Types of Reverse Mortgage Providers in Pennsylvania

Again, a variety of financial institutions originate reverse mortgages. Here is a sample of the various types you are likely to come across.

  • AFC Reverse Mortgage is a Pennsylvania based company that has been dealing with reverse mortgages for a number of years. They boast flexible in-house loan processing. This is a HUD and FHA approved lender.
  • EverBank Reverse Mortgage is one of the larger nationwide lenders of reverse mortgages. Borrowers have three options: the federally insured HECM, the Fannie Mae Home Keeper and EverBank’s own proprietary jumbo reverse the Reverse Select.
  • M&T Bank originates reverse mortgages out of its mortgage division. This HUD-approved lender is experienced with the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, but can offer alternatives to seniors that require more flexible options.