How Do I Find a Reverse Mortgage Lender?
So, how do you go about finding a lender to speak with? There are thousands of lenders in the country, and many of them are FHA approved. However, it can be very difficult to sort through your options. The good news is that HUD/FHA provides a convenient online research tool that will help you locate approved lenders in your area. You can access the HUD Lender List Search here. Make sure you tick the box next to Reverse Mortgages near the bottom of the page.
While HUD makes it simpler to find approved lenders within your geographic area, the due diligence of comparing lenders still falls on your shoulders. That can be a difficult thing to do, particularly if it has been a long time since you last worked with a mortgage lender. A few pieces of advice can go a long way toward making the process simpler for you.
Consider the Costs
One of the first considerations to make when comparing lenders is how much you will be charged on top of the cost of the loan. All lenders charge additional fees, and some third-party fees are outside their control, but you should compare service fees, origination fees, the interest rate you are offered, and other lender-controlled costs.
Consider Reputation and Customer Satisfaction
In addition to costs, you will need to compare customer satisfaction and lender reputation. This can be done quite easily today thanks to the Internet. The Better Business Bureau is an excellent place to start, but you can find customer reviews for lenders in many other places, including on real estate websites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Also, don’t overlook the value and simplicity of a Google search with the lender’s name plus “customer reviews”.
There are a couple of additional considerations. These are more warning signs to watch for once you start working with a lender. One of those is that the lender is not allowed to steer you toward any particular counseling agency. You are required to choose one on your own.
Lenders and Counseling Agencies
However, the lender is allowed (required, actually) to give you a list of at least five counseling agencies in your area, as well as the contact information for several national agencies. We’ll include the list of national agencies you should see below. If a lender cannot provide you with the contact information for five agencies in your area, they should provide you with a list of agencies located within a reasonable distance from you, such as in a neighboring state.
It is also important to understand that a lender cannot contact a counseling agency before, during, or after your counseling session. They cannot refer you directly, nor can they discuss your application in anyway. Lenders are barred from paying for your counseling (that comes out of your pocket), and they cannot help with scheduling your counseling sessions, either.
The list of national agencies is as follows:
National Foundation for Credit Counseling: 866-698-6322
Money Management International: 877-908-2227
ClearPoint Financial Services: 800-251-2227
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation: 888-990-4326