Reverse Mortgage Loans: Meaning, Types, Eligibility, Benefits

Reverse Mortgage

Most of the retirees in India fund themselves by earning interest from Fixed Deposits, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme, etc., for running their expenditures after retirement. Nevertheless, reducing interest rates, growing inflation, and increased medical expenditure have impeded this survival technique only on the basis of one's savings and interest income. However, most of these retired persons have one valuable commodity which could yield a little more money – their own houses.

Income from property comes either from rent or loan. However, senior citizens have another way of getting funds, which is the reverse mortgage loan. A senior citizen who owns a house can increase their monthly income by borrowing against equity and not selling the home or choosing a LAP.

This blog will provide some information regarding Reverse Mortgage Loans, such as what is a reverse mortgage loan, how reverse mortgage loan works, eligibility criteria and key benefits and limitations, and if it pays to have a Reverse Mortgage Loan.

What is a Reverse Mortgage Loan?

A reverse mortgage is similar to a normal mortgage and offers an opportunity for the borrower to collect money by putting their house as a guarantee. As well in a reverse mortgage loan example, the ownership remains in the homeowner's name. Contrary to a conventional mortgage, people have no obligation to pay mortgages monthly in a reverse mortgage.

They settle the debt upon moving out of the house. The interest and fee are compounded monthly onto the loan, creating a growing loan balance. The homeowners involved in a reverse mortgage must continue paying property taxes and homeowners' insurance, keep the house as their principal abode as per their contract obligations, and ensure that they are upgrading the house.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?

In the case of a reverse mortgage, the homeowner is not obliged to make payments to the lender, but rather, it is the lender who disburses funds to the homeowner. How the homeowner wants to receive these payments is up to them. In addition, they can only pay interest on the money obtained. The house's interest becomes part of the loan balances without requiring upfront payments. Most significantly, the owner continues having possession of the land. Since the loan matures, the homeowner gets into more debt while the house equity decreases.

A reverse mortgage loan is similar to a typical mortgage in which the house stands as a guarantee. With the sale of the house, the sale proceeds are used to offset the payments due to the lender. The payments should include the principal, interest, mortgage Insurance and other associated charges.

Any excess proceeds from the sale, beyond what was initially borrowed, go to the homeowner (if they are still alive) or to the homeowner's estate (in the event of the homeowner's demise). There may also be instances where heirs choose to settle the mortgage to retain ownership of the home.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Get Paid Back?

Through a reverse mortgage loan, the homeowner's indebtedness to the lender actually rises over time instead of decreasing. This increase occurs due to the continual addition of interest and fees to the loan balance every month. As your loan balance grows, your home equity proportionately diminishes.

It's essential to recognise that a reverse mortgage loan in India is not a source of unrestricted funds. It operates as a loan where the sum borrowed, along with the accrued interest and associated fees each month, collectively contribute to an escalating loan balance. Ultimately, the homeowners or their heirs must repay the loan, typically achieved by selling the home.

Who Can Get a Reverse Mortgage Loan?

A reverse mortgage loan in India primarily serves as a means for senior citizens who own a home to enhance their post-retirement income. As a result, not all homeowners are eligible for this type of loan. Moreover, individual banks establish specific criteria that borrowers must meet to qualify for such a loan. Several key eligibility requirements that must be satisfied in order to access this financial product include:

  • The applicant must be at least 60 years old, signifying senior citizen status. In the case of a joint application with a spouse, the spouse's age must be a minimum of 55 years. There is no upper age limit for loan eligibility.
  • The applicant must possess a self-owned property that is free from any outstanding loans or other financial obligations.
  • The property used as collateral for the loan must have been the applicant's primary and self-occupied residence for a minimum of the past year.

It's important to note that lenders determine these eligibility criteria, along with other factors like property condition and maximum loan amount on a case-by-case basis.

Types of Reverse Mortgages

Various forms of reverse mortgages cater to distinct financial requirements.

  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

    The most prevalent kind of reverse mortgage, federally insured mortgages, generally entail higher initial expenses, but the funds are versatile and can be employed for any purpose. Additionally, borrowers have the flexibility to determine the method of fund disbursement, whether through fixed monthly payments, a line of credit, or a combination of both. While they are widely accessible, Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) are exclusively provided by lenders approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and all borrowers are mandated to undergo HUD-approved counselling before the loan is finalised.
  • Proprietary Reverse Mortgage

    This is a privately funded loan without government backing. Usually, this category of reverse mortgage offers a more substantial loan advance, particularly if your home holds a higher appraisal value.
  • Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgage

    This type of mortgage is less prevalent compared to the other two and is typically provided by nonprofit organisations state, and local government agencies. A single-purpose mortgage is usually the most cost-effective among the three alternatives. Nevertheless, borrowers are constrained in using the loan, which is often smaller, for a singular and distinct purpose, like funding modifications for handicap accessibility.

Pros of Reverse Mortgages

  • Increased Financial Flexibility

    One notable benefit of a Reverse Mortgage is the enhanced financial flexibility it provides in retirement. You can address diverse financial requirements, including medical costs, home enhancements, or unforeseen financial obligations, by leveraging the equity in your home. It presents a means to access the wealth locked in your property without having to sell it.
  • No Monthly Mortgage Payments

    In contrast to traditional mortgages, a Reverse Mortgage liberates you from the burden of making monthly mortgage payments. As long as you continue to reside in your home, there is no requirement for regular monthly payments. This can substantially alleviate your financial responsibilities during retirement and establish a dependable source of income. The funds acquired through a Reverse Mortgage can complement your retirement income and enhance your financial security.
  • Stay in Your Home

    For certain homeowners, one of the paramount concerns is the ability to age in place in the comfort of their own homes. A Reverse Mortgage enables you to retain ownership and continue living in your home, providing stability and peace of mind throughout your retirement. This can be particularly valuable if you have a profound attachment to your home.

Cons of Reverse Mortgages

  • Aggregating Interest

    It is crucial to grasp the concept that interest accumulates over time on a Reverse Mortgage Loan. This implies that the amount you owe grows as interest accrues, potentially affecting the total value of your home. This is one of the reasons why financial institutions typically provide up to 80% of the property's value in loan funds. Taking this aspect into account and carefully considering it alongside the advantages is pivotal before arriving at a decision. Nevertheless, it's important to note that the loan is usually settled when the homeowner relocates from the residence or passes away, with any remaining equity becoming the property of the borrower or their heirs.
  • Effect on Legacy

    Although a Reverse Mortgage can offer financial security throughout your lifetime, it may have an impact on the inheritance you pass on to your heirs. When the homeowner relocates or passes away, the loan must be settled, and the remaining value of the home could potentially diminish.
  • Fees and Costs

    Reverse Mortgages entail various fees and costs, encompassing closing and servicing fees. Examining these expenditures is vital when contemplating a Reverse Mortgage to gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial consequences. Due to the intricacies associated with reverse mortgages, it is prudent to acquire a deep understanding of their functioning before committing to anything. The greater your awareness of the advantages and disadvantages, the more straightforward it becomes to arrive at a well-informed decision.


A reverse mortgage loan provides an excellent means to maintain financial independence post-retirement and reduce reliance on family for essential expenses. The loan amount is contingent on the value of the property used as collateral. While it is a valuable resource for senior citizens, a comprehensive evaluation of the loan's advantages and disadvantages is crucial.

While reverse mortgages offer benefits like the absence of immediate financial obligations and continued payments to the surviving spouse, it's essential to acknowledge the drawback of having to repay the loan when the property is no longer occupied. Therefore, it is imperative to verify and stay updated with accurate information regarding the program.

Prior to considering a reverse mortgage loan, it's also wise to assess if it could have adverse implications for your children after your passing. Additionally, understanding the expected duration of your family's residence in the collateral property is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

Repayment is necessitated if the homeowner decides to sell the property, passes away, or no longer resides in the mortgaged property.

The reverse mortgage loan interest rate for reverse mortgages varies among different lenders. To ascertain the specific applicable interest rates, it is advisable to consult with each financial institution or bank.

Upon the homeowner's demise, the family has the option to either settle the mortgage amount with the lender or allow the lender to sell the house to recover the outstanding amount.