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What happens if I have to move out of my home into a nursing home, or to live with family, and I have a reverse mortgage?

Answer:

If you have a reverse mortgage and you no longer live in your home for a majority of the year, or you need to move out of your home for medical reasons for more than 12 consecutive months, you may need to repay the reverse mortgage, which could mean selling your home. 

Most reverse mortgages today are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures HECMs.  A HECM loan must be paid off completely when the last surviving borrower or eligible non-borrowing spouse dies or permanently moves out of the home. 

Note: This webpage has information about HECMs, which are the most common type of reverse mortgage.

Any situation in which you’ve lived someplace else for a majority of the year, or for more than 12 consecutive months for medical reasons – including a nursing home or assisted living – counts as a “permanent move.” 

So what does this mean in practice? Use this list to look up your situation:

If you are the only borrower on the HECM and:

  • You live alone, your loan will need to be paid off if you move someplace else for a majority of the year, or to a nursing home or assisted living for more than 12 consecutive months. This will probably require selling your home to pay off the loan.
  • You live with a spouse or partner, your loan must be paid off if you move someplace else for a majority of the year, or to a nursing home or assisted living for more than 12 consecutive months.

Warning: This will probably require selling your home, and your spouse or partner will most likely have to move.

  • You live with children, other relatives or unrelated roommates, your loan must be paid off if you move someplace else for a majority of the year, or to a nursing home or assisted living for more than 12 consecutive months.

Warning: This will probably require selling your home, and your children, relatives or roommates will most likely have to move.

If you are a co-borrower on the HECM reverse mortgage and:

  • You live alone because your co-borrower has passed away or already lives elsewhere, your loan must be paid off if you move someplace else for a majority of the year, or to a nursing home or assisted living for more than 12 consecutive months.
  • You live with a spouse or partner who is a co-borrower on the reverse mortgage, your co-borrower can continue to live in the home if you move someplace else for a majority of the year, or to a nursing home or assisted living. But if your co-borrower needs to move out too, either because he or she no longer lives in the home for the majority of the year or for more than 12 consecutive months because of medical reasons, your loan must be paid off.
  • You live with other relatives or unrelated roommates. If your co-borrower still lives in the home, your other relatives or roommates can continue to live there too when you move to a nursing home or assisted living. But, if your co-borrower also no longer lives in the home for the majority of the year or for more than 12 consecutive months because of medical reasons, your loan must be paid off.

Warning: This will probably require selling the home, and your relatives or roommates will most likely have to move.

Usually, co-borrowers are spouses or partners. 

Co-borrowers are treated the same whether they are spouses, partners, relatives or just roommates.

Most borrowers will need to sell their home in order to repay the reverse mortgage. With an FHA-insured HECM loan, if the loan balance is more than your home is worth, you don’t have to pay the excess. After you sell the home, the lender will take the proceeds from the sale as payment on the loan, and the FHA insurance will cover any remaining loan balance. 

If you would like to keep your home instead of selling it, the loan must be paid off with another source of funds. But you won’t have to pay more than the full loan balance or 95 percent of the home’s appraised value, whichever is less.

Get help

Before you apply for any reverse mortgage loan, you and your spouse or partner should seek a HUD-approved counselor to help you decide if a reverse mortgage is right for you. To talk to a HUD-approved reverse mortgage (HECM) counselor visit , or call HUD's housing counselor referral line at (800) 569-4287.

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The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The Miss April updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

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