Home Equity Conversion Mortgages HECM Advantages

What is a HECM loan?

— Maria

Questions? Consult with a Specialist Now:

HECM stands for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, also known as a reverse mortgage.

It’s a loan that allows homeowners aged 62+ to tap into some of their home equity for additional cash:

  • Without having to sell the home
  • Without having to make monthly mortgage payments (keeping current with property taxes, insurance, and maintenance required)

This type of mortgage has been available to seniors since 1961, and has been insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) since 1988.

What Are the Main HECM Advantages?

  • You can eliminate monthly mortgage payments to increase cash flow: if you have an existing mortgage, it will be paid in full1 —but you can still get a reverse mortgage even if you don’t currently have a mortgage
  • Monthly mortgage payments are optional, as long as you keep current with property taxes, insurance, and maintenance 
  • You continue to own your home1
  • You choose how you’d like to receive your funds:
    • A one-time payment, income tax-free3
    • Steady, income tax-free monthly payments3
    • A line of credit2
    • Any combination of these
  • Independent, HUD-approved counseling to help you understand your options

Is a HECM the same as a Reverse Mortgage?

HECMs are the most common type of reverse mortgage, and the only type of reverse mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HECMs boast many advantages to borrowers, including optional monthly mortgage payments,1 a growing line of credit,2 non-recourse loan protection, and no income limitations. The proceeds from a HECM reverse mortgage can be used for any purpose.


Get extra cash for whatever you need most:

  • Keep up with everyday bills and living expenses
  • Consolidate credit cards or other debts
  • Help with healthcare costs, making it easier to “age in place”
  • Set aside funds for unexpected expenses or long-term care
  • Make home updates, repairs, or modifications to live more comfortably
  • Help out family members with major expenses

What is a HECM Line of Credit?

The line of credit is a unique feature of the HECM program and offered through the variable-rate option. Unlike a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage credit line can never be reduced or frozenand there is no prepayment penalty. In fact, the unused portion of the credit line is guaranteed to increase over time2 and will grow at the same rate as the interest accrued on your outstanding loan balance. Exclusive to the HECM reverse mortgage program, this feature continues to be a very popular option for accessing funds among homeowners as a way of prolonging the longevity of other investments in their portfolios.


How Can I Receive HECM Funds?

Single Lump Sum – Many homeowners decide to use their reverse mortgage proceeds to pay off an existing mortgage or to buy a new home. In this case, a single lump sum payment typically works best.

Line of Credit – Some homeowners don’t have an immediate need for cash but want to establish a line of credit2 for peace-of-mind. This is a great option should you need to access cash in the event of an emergency or unexpected bills.

Term Payments – Retirees supplementing their monthly funding often choose term payments. This provides equal monthly payments for a fixed period of their choosing. Shorter terms will receive larger monthly payments than longer terms.

Modified Term – A blend of both term payments and a line of credit, modified term allows homeowners to receive scheduled monthly payments while holding funds in reserve as a line of credit.2

Tenure – Homeowners choosing the tenure option will receive equal monthly payments as long as one borrower on the loan still lives in the property as their primary residence.

Modified Tenure – Similar to modified term, modified tenure is a blend of tenure and a line of credit. Homeowners choosing this option can expect smaller scheduled monthly payments along with an available line of credit.2


What is a HECM loan? It can be an important part of your retirement plan. To learn more, click here or talk to a Longbridge specialist at 855-523-4326.


1 Borrower must meet the terms of the loan, which includes keeping up with property taxes, insurance, and home maintenance.

2 Line of credit option is only available for adjustable rate HECM products. If part of your loan is held in a line of credit upon which you may draw, then the unused portion of the line of credit will grow in size each month. The growth rate is equal to the sum of the interest rate plus the annual mortgage insurance premium rate being charged on your loan.

3 Consult a financial advisor and appropriate government agencies for any effect on taxes or government benefits.

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