The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that homeowner(s) interested in pursuing a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) receive mandatory reverse mortgage counseling regarding the implications of and alternatives to a reverse mortgage from a HUD-approved HECM counseling agency.
We are required by HUD regulations to provide you with a list of reverse mortgage counseling agencies. The list must contain Five (5) nationwide companies as directed by HUD for the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, several counseling agencies that are the most local to you (some borrowers will have many companies located nearby while others may need to drive farther if they wish to receive their counseling in person rather than over the phone), and then we are able to include several more companies who may also provide counseling over the phone and so their physical location is not be important because they have toll-free numbers for borrowers to call to reach them.
What is important is that you find a counselor who can meet your counseling needs.
Top Reverse Mortgage Counseling Agencies
Counseling Agency Availability HECM Price JUMBO Price Phone Website
Cambridge Credit Counseling 24-48 Hrs. $125 $125 888-764-7460 Website
QuickCert, Inc. 24-48 Hrs. $125 $125 888-383-8885
Smart Money Housing 24-48 Hrs. $125 $150 800-403-3807
DebtHelper.com 24-48 Hrs. $145 $145 800-920-2262
Hancock Community Development, Inc 1 Week $130
$130 877-284-4326 Website
Hope Inc. 1 Week $175 N/A 888-776-0155
Money Management International (MMI) 1 Week $175 $175 877-908-2227
GreenPath Financial Wellness 2 Weeks $199 $199 888-860-4167
Clearpoint Financial Solutions 2 Weeks $175 N/A 877-877-1995
Steps to receiving your reverse mortgage counseling certificate
- Request your pre-counseling document set (Includes loan comparison, closing cost worksheet, amortization schedule, TALC – total annual loan costs)
- Have these mandatory documents available: HUD document titled “Preparing for your counseling session” (PDF file, 4 Pages) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) booklet “Use Your Home to Stay Home” (PDF file, 26 Pages)
- Determine whether you wish to see a counselor in person or obtain counseling by phone
- Call around and check counselor availability and pricing. Some counseling agencies only accept payment upfront while others allow you to put their fee into the reverse mortgage closing costs
- After you have finished your counseling you will receive three copies of your certificate in the mail and have the option to have your counselor fax or email a copy of the certificate to your lender
In-Person HECM Counseling Locator
Search our newest interactive map that locates HUD approved agencies nearby with in-person availability.
Counseling for those with vested interest
- Independent reverse mortgage counseling is required prior to closing for the borrower and co-borrower, who will have a vested interest at closing
- Power of Attorney or Guardian/Conservator must be counseled on behalf of any borrower(s) or vested owner(s) that are legally incompetent. (Note: POA for convenience is not permitted at this time)
- CA and AZ – Counseling must be completed prior to application (and in CA, the lender may not order any services or start the loan until 7 days after the date of counseling has passed pursuant to CA law)
- TX – Counseling must be completed at least 5 days prior to closing. A counseling certificate in Texas is valid for 180 days. Note: See state regulations for additional requirements and timing.
What is reverse mortgage counseling?
The counseling on a reverse mortgage is an independent session conducted by a third party. It is a requirement for all reverse mortgage loans. The purpose of the counseling is to ensure that all borrowers and spouses understand what a reverse mortgage is and their obligations when they have one.
How long is a reverse mortgage counseling certificate good for?
A reverse mortgage counseling certificate is valid for 180 days. For HECM loans in most states, the certificate must be current at case number assignment, but the loan can close if the certificate has expired. In some states like Texas, for example, the certificate must be unexpired at time of closing or the borrower would have to complete another counseling session prior to loan closing.
Why is counseling a requirement to get a reverse mortgage?
A reverse mortgage loan is a complex financial instrument and therefore the counseling is required as a safeguard for the consumer. FHA and reverse mortgage lenders need to be sure that all reverse mortgage applicants truly understand what a reverse mortgage is and their requirements as a homeowner obtaining a reverse mortgage.
Who is required to complete reverse mortgage counseling?
All borrowers on the loan as well as any non-borrowing spouses are required to be counseled. Additionally, any Remainderman of a Life Estate or any other parties who hold title to the property and who are not eligible borrowers, must also be counseled for the reverse mortgage.
Are the heirs responsible for reverse mortgage debt?
There is no personal liability for the reverse mortgage loan to the borrower or their heirs. The sole collateral for the reverse mortgage loan is the property. If the property value is lower than the accrued balance on the loan, the heir has the option to repay the loan in full at 95% of the current market value as determined by an appraisal at that time or can walk away and let the lender worry about the disposition of the property and owe nothing.
What happens after your counseling session?
After you have completed your counseling you will be mailed a certificate of completion (view sample certificate). This Counseling certificate should be signed and returned to your lender if you wish to proceed with the processing of the loan. No 3rd party services may be ordered, such as Appraisal, Title, Escrow, until the lender has your signed certificate in hand.
Additional Documents for CA Homeowners
- CA Reverse Mortgage Worksheet Guide (PDF file, 2 Pages)
- CA Important Notice to Reverse Mortgage Loan Applicant (PDF file, 1 Page)
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