Home Maintenance: How Reverse Mortgage Counselors and Originators Can Come Together to Help Borrowers

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A key requirement for staying in good standing with a reverse mortgage is keeping the home in good repair, as well as staying up to date with all associated taxes, fees, and home insurance. Often times, reverse mortgage originators work with borrowers to determine the best course of action to ensure that a borrower meets all associated conditions, but another participant in the reverse mortgage process can also help: Certified Advisors. HUD.

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic causing further hardship for tenants and landlords alike in the face of foreclosure and eviction challenges, counseling agencies such as GreenPath Financial Wellness, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., Are receiving increased levels of inbound calls to help avoid travel, which includes discussions related to home maintenance and upkeep.

Since home maintenance is a major provision of reverse mortgages, counselors who are already trained to help a wider variety of homeowners and tenants may be uniquely qualified to provide assistance to older reverse mortgage borrowers in order to ensure that borrowers are in compliance with the terms of their loans and can present an opportunity for advisors and loan originators to come together to best serve a borrower’s interests in terms of the ability to sustain their loan. lodging.

The role of counselors in home maintenance

Many of the outstanding issues in the reverse mortgage industry can probably stem from proper education in one way or another. From basic product knowledge to possible applications of the loan product, the industry is still actively creating educational materials and encountering opportunities to ensure people are educated on how a reverse mortgage can fit in. their financial situation.

This also extends to the terms of a loan, and counselors play a central role in the educational process for reverse mortgage borrowers. In addition to making sure borrowers understand what they’re getting into, counselors can also provide an abundance of resources to make sure a home is properly maintained, according to Jennifer Fraser, director of the party engagement program. stakeholders and contact center operations at GreenPath.

Since seniors can be very focused on achieving the end goal they are trying to achieve with a reverse mortgage, GreenPath’s counseling efforts aim to focus specifically on the responsibilities that come with obtaining a reverse mortgage.

“One of the most important things we focus on is really this initial training on their level of responsibility for maintaining the house,” Fraser told RMD in an interview. “Obviously, they’re staying in their homes to age in place so they don’t move into a retirement community, where all of this suddenly becomes someone else’s responsibility. So we have to have these discussions, in order to be in compliance with this new mortgage product, you have to maintain the house. “

This is both to ensure that the house, as an asset, retains its value while ensuring that nothing falls into disrepair in a way that compromises the security of a borrower while living in it, she says. When it comes to the specific requirements for reverse mortgages, advisors are well versed in the details of those requirements, making them ideally suited for discussing the specifics with borrowers who have questions about them, according to Kathy Conley, a mortgage specialist. stakeholder engagement at GreenPath.

“[Our counselors] understand what this requirement means to maintain the home, ”Conley told RMD. “They pass that on to clients during reverse mortgage counseling sessions. Repairers are also required to check. Just as they are checking occupancy, they will also be checking the condition of the house. “

How Advisors and Initiators Can Unite

Since a loan is outstanding before closing, it is understandable that the originator could be the go-to for a borrower as the first and last point of contact in the transaction. Often, however, if a problem arises after closing, a borrower can contact their issuer for advice on an issue. This is where loan originators and advisors can come together to help resolve a problem that may arise during the life of a loan.

“If loan originators understand what GreenPath does, with the empathy, exploration and listening skills we use, [it would be beneficial for originators to] prepare their clients not to view the counseling session as a mandatory requirement, ”says Conley. “[Instead, originators should encourage clients to] come in and engage with their advisors. They are knowledgeable people, and they are there to help even beyond the actual counseling session which [the clients] are required to do.

While this is not a universal truth, some loan originators do not prepare their clients to view advisors as an ongoing resource, Conley says. This can help both the customer and the initiator to properly deal with future issues as they arise, she explains.

“If loan originators have this mindset about counseling, then they can pass it on to their clients,” she says. “[I would] I also like that loan officers know that if someone has a reverse mortgage and is having a bit of trouble, often the first person they will contact is the originator who asks questions. this subject.

This is where it can be useful for an originator to point a client in the right direction regarding additional resources that the borrower can avail of, such as an advisor, to ensure they remain compliant. under the terms and conditions of the loan, she said. .

“So if this loan issuer has [a counselor’s information] practice, they can say, “contact these people, let them see what the problem is”. I will tell you what I know, but also contact these people, because they are there to help you beyond the simple counseling session, ”she says. “They will reinforce that the counseling center and counseling agencies are there for assistance beyond the initial session.”


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