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Frequently Asked HECM Reverse Mortgage Purchase Questions

What is HECM for Purchase?

HECM for Purchase allows seniors, age 62 or older, to purchase a new principal residence using loan proceeds from the reverse mortgage.

What is the purpose of the program?

The program was designed to allow seniors to purchase a new principal residence and obtain a reverse mortgage within a single transaction. The program was also designed to enable senior homeowners to relocate to other geographical areas to be closer to family members or downsize to homes that meet their physical needs, i.e., handrails, one level properties, ramps, wider doorways, etc. 

Under what conditions may a senior cancel the purchase transaction?

The senior may decide to cancel the purchase transaction at any time prior to the date of closing. If the senior decides to cancel the transaction, he/she must notify all parties in writing. Where earnest money has been provided, the senior should review the sales contract to determine if the earnest money is refundable. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors should be contacted for right of rescission and Truth in Lending Act guidance.

Once a principal residence has been purchased using HECM loan proceeds, can the property serve as collateral for another secured loan?

Yes, only after the mortgage insurance certificate has been issued. Lenders are responsible for ensuring additional secured liens are subordinate to the HECM first and second liens. Such financing may not occur concurrently with the HECM closing. 

What property types are eligible?

Existing one-to-four unit properties where construction has been completed and the property is habitable as evidenced by local jurisdiction issuance of certificate of occupancy or its equivalent

Can a HECM for purchase be used to satisfy outstanding payment obligations associated with a land contract?

Yes, if the property will be used as collateral for the HECM and the mortgage will be held in fee simple, or on a leasehold under a lease for not less than 99 years which is renewable, or under a lease having the remaining period of not less than 50 years beyond the date of the 100th birthday of the youngest mortgagor. 

Can a lender take application on a property that is under construction and not habitable?

No. The lender may only take application once the Certificate of Occupancy or its equivalent has been issued. 

What property types are ineligible?

  • Cooperative units
  • Newly constructed residences where a Certificate of Occupancy or its equivalent has not been issued by the appropriate local authority
  • Boarding houses
  • Bed and breakfast establishments
  • Existing manufactured homes built before June 15, 1976; and
  • Existing manufactured homes built after June 15, 1976 that fail to conform to the Manufactured Home Construction Safety Standards, as evidenced by affixed certification labels (e.g., data plate and HUD certification label) and/or lack a permanent foundation as required in HUD's Permanent Foundations for Manufactured Housing Guide or homes that are installed or were occupied previously at another site or location.

Are set asides for repairs allowed?

To be eligible for federal insurance, the property must meet FHA minimum property requirements. All repairs to correct major property deficiencies that threaten the health and safety of the homeowner and/or jeopardize the soundness and security of the property must be completed by the seller prior to closing. Appraisers must complete the appraisal report as "Subject To" the completion of these repairs.

Major Property Deficiency Examples:

  • No running water
  • Leaking roof
  • No primary heating source
  • Inadequate electrical system (including lighting)
  • Inoperable doors and windows (inhibited ingress and egress)
  • State or local code violations

Are gifts an acceptable source of funding?

Prospective mortgagors may use their own money or money obtained from the sale of assets. The monetary investment requirement can also be met by the use of approved funding sources as defined in HUD Handbook 4155.1 REV-5, section 2-10, with the exception of the following funding sources which may not be used:

  • Sweat Equity
  • Trade Equity
  • Rent Credit

Cash or its equivalent, in whole or in part, from the following parties, before, during or after loan closing:
- The seller or any other person or entity that financially benefits from the transactions, or
- Any third party or entity that is reimbursed, directly or indirectly, by any of the parties described in the previous bullet.

Are seller concessions allowed?

No. Seller concessions are applicable to forward mortgages only.

Is seller financing permitted?

No.

When purchasing a new principal residence, if the HECM proceeds do not cover the sales price, can part or all of the property's indebtedness be subordinated behind the first and second HECM liens if the existing lien holder is willing to execute a subordinate agreement?

No. All existing liens must be satisfied at the HECM closing.

Can the HECM mortgagor participate in a rent back/leaseback agreement with the seller?

No. When purchasing a new principal residence, the HECM mortgagor has 60 days to occupy the home. Unlike a forward mortgage, there is an increased risk to FHA when the home is not occupied by the HECM mortgagor. Prior to closing, the HECM mortgagor and seller should agree to a date for physical occupancy of the property and the lender should confirm occupancy prior to their submission of the case binder to the local HOC for endorsement.

Does FHA have special eligibility requirements for first-time homebuyers?

No. FHA encourages all first-time homebuyers to meet with a reverse mortgage counselor that offers pre-purchase counseling to educate themselves on the responsibilities of becoming a homeowner. Prior to signing a sales contract, FHA encourages a home inspection of all properties that will serve as collateral for HECM for purchase transactions. The inspection serves two purposes, to determine the magnitude, if any, of repairs and/or rehabilitation the home as well as helps the buyer to negotiate the purchase price in situation where a home requires repair or rehabilitation.

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The services referred to herein are not available to persons located outside the state of California.
Borrower is responsible for property taxes, homeowners insurance, and property maintenance. A HECM is a home-secured debt payable upon default or a maturity event. Some restrictions apply. This material has not been reviewed, approved, or issued by HUD, FHA, or any government agency.

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