Braintree, MA-based company attends national conference and offers the public free copies of the Nat

From: PR Works
Published: Wed Oct 26 2005

The volume of reverse mortgages in the U.S. has doubled each year in the past three years, yet, despite an estimate of over 13 million eligible senior households nationwide, only 100,000 reverse mortgages are currently in effect.

Reverse mortgage experts Chris Downey and George Downey of Harbor Mortgage Solutions recently attended the National Reverse Mortgage Lender’s Association (NRMLA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where it quickly became apparent that the number one challenge for the industry is the general lack of awareness and education about reverse mortgages.

Harbor Mortgage President Chris Downey notes, "The general population’s knowledge about the concept of reverse mortgages is often fragmentary, inaccurate, and negative. To counter this trend, we are offering free copies of the recent study conducted by the National Council on Aging, entitled ‘Use Your Home to Stay at Home,’ authored by Barbara R. Stucki, Ph.D, the keynote speaker at the NRMLA meeting." In her address, Stucki discussed the issue of funding long term care for seniors and cited reverse mortgages as a primary resource to help mitigate the long term care needs of seniors.

Please call Harbor Mortgage at 781-843-5553 or 800-599-8700 to receive your free copy of "Use Your Home to Stay at Home" or to arrange for a speaker to meet with your group and present an overview of the options available to senior homeowners.

"Use Your Home to Stay at Home"
The National Council on the Aging, with support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, set out to develop a blueprint to serve as a guide for policymakers as they explore the opportunities and limitations of tapping home equity to pay for long-term care at home.

This project resulted in a report entitled "Use Your Home to Stay at Home - Expanding the Use of Reverse Mortgages for Long-Term Care: A Blueprint for Action." The study found that impaired, older Americans are struggling to live at home at a time when they own more than $2 trillion in untapped housing wealth.

The report calls the growing demand for long-term care "a major national challenge that will require increased spending by both the public and private sectors," and points out that the greater use of home equity could open new ways for public and private resources to complement one another while meeting the needs of impaired seniors who live at home.

In addition to using reverse mortgages as a tool to relieve the financial burdens of seniors who wish to receive long term care at home, the study also found that they have the potential to reduce the burden on state Medicaid programs, preserving those programs as a safety net for the neediest seniors.

The study concluded that it will be important for public and private sectors to work together to build alliances that can overcome barriers and enhance the awareness and understanding of reverse mortgages for senior households. It noted that the financial services industry, along with nonprofit organizations, also play important roles as these alliances are established, to foster the appropriate use of reverse mortgages in the mix of long-term care financing strategies.

The Reverse of Traditional Thinking
Some senior homeowners can't afford ever-increasing real estate taxes on their family home. Home maintenance has been deferred. Expensive healthcare is a major concern. And now spiraling gasoline and home heating fuel costs are daily adding to the burden. For all of these reasons and more, some senior homeowners may need to supplement their income on an ongoing basis but they are unsure of the best way to proceed to make that happen.

A reverse mortgage, essentially the opposite of a traditional or "forward" mortgage, can enable seniors to tap into accumulated equity without having to face ongoing payments. Unlike traditional mortgages where borrowers make monthly payments, in a reverse mortgage the cash flow is reversed, and the lender makes payments to the borrower, enabling borrowers to use the tax free cash they receive in any way that they wish.

There are no minimum income, asset, or credit qualifications to meet and no effect on Social Security or Medicare benefits. The property must be the primary residence of the borrower and properly insured and maintained, with real estate taxes kept current. As long as the borrower continues to live in the property the loan can never be called. Repayment is required if the home is sold, or when the last borrower permanently leaves the property, or passes away. At that time, the heirs can sell, or refinance, the property to pay off the loan.

Once the province of a few small banks and private lenders, the great majority of reverse mortgages today are provided through government-sponsored programs, namely the HUD/FHA Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and the Fannie Mae Home Keeper (HK) programs.

Harbor Mortgage Speakers Bureau
Area Councils on Aging, Visiting Nurse Associations, home healthcare providers, civic organizations, and church groups are invited to contact Harbor Mortgage to schedule an educational presentation to learn about alternatives available to senior homeowners, including ways to unlock the equity in their homes.

Customized Harbor Mortgage Solutions
Specializing in conventional residential and reverse mortgages, Harbor Mortgage Solutions, Inc. is located at 100 Grandview Road, Suite 105 in Braintree, MA. George A. Downey, who is now joined by his son Christopher Downey, founded family owned and operated Harbor Mortgage Solutions in 1978.

Assisted by a staff of experienced mortgage professionals, Harbor Mortgage Solutions is dedicated to providing customized service, obtaining the best possible solution for each individual client every time. An equal opportunity lender licensed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Harbor Mortgage Solutions is a member of the Massachusetts Mortgage Association, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, and the National Reverse Lender Mortgage Association, strictly subscribing to their rigid code of ethics.
For additional information on services offered by Harbor Mortgage please call 781-843-5553 or 800-599-8700, or visit
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Contact Phone: 781-582-1061

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