Sunday, October 28, 2012

FHA Warns About Home Equity Mortgage Loan Scams

The FHA official site includes a page about reverse mortgages and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. On that page, you’ll find a warning from the FHA and HUD about scam artists who take advantage of some loan applicants who don’t know enough about the FHA’s free information on HECM loans and reverse mortgage loans.

Houses in the suburbs“Reverse mortgages are becoming popular in America” the FHA site says, “Reverse mortgages are a special type of home loan that lets a homeowner convert the equity in his/her home into cash. They can give older Americans greater financial security to supplement social security, meet unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements, and more. If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, beware of scam artists that charge thousands of dollars for information that is free from HUD!”

The warning is good–but what kind of information are these scam artists charging so much money for? According to the FHA, simple details such as the nature of a HECM loan, who is eligible, even free advice about whether a borrower should us an estate planner to find a participating lender.

On this topic, the FHA and HUD advise:

“FHA does NOT recommend using any service that charges a fee for referring a borrower to an FHA-approved lender.  You can locate a FHA-approved lender by searching online at or by contacting a HECM counselor for a listing. Services rendered by HECM counselors are free or at a low cost.  To locate a HECM counselor Search online or call (800) 569-4287 toll-free, for the name and location of a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you”.

Very good advice for borrowers age 62 an older (the only people who qualify for FHA HECM loans) interested in applying for an FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. Here’s another fact about HECM loans you might not know–according to the FHA official site:

“By law, you have three calendar days to change your mind and cancel the loan.  This is called a three day right of rescission.  The process of canceling the loan should be explained at loan closing.  Be sure to ask the lender for instructions on this process.  Mortgage lenders differ in the process of canceling a loan.  You should ask for the names of the appropriate people, phone numbers, fax numbers, addresses, or written instructions on whatever process the company has in place.  In most cases, the right of rescission will not be applicable to HECM for purchase transactions.”