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Do you get a higher loan amount if you apply as single or a married couple?

By Marlin on 12.11.2018

Hello Marlin,

The answer is neither!  The loan amount is not affected by the marital status of the borrower.  The amount of the loan, or the Principal Limit, is determined by a few different factors: the age of the youngest borrower on the loan.  This makes the marital status of the borrower immaterial, only the age of his spouse.  If the married borrower has a spouse equal to or older than the non-married borrower, the married spouse will receive the same amount of money as the non-married spouse (all other factors being equal).  However, if the married borrower’s spouse is younger, those borrowers would receive less money in their Principal Limit because the younger spouse would determine the amount.

Theoretically and according to actuarial tables, an individual who is 62 should be able to remain in the home longer and accrue more interest on the loan than someone who is 85.  Therefore, the HUD calculator will allow an 85-year-old borrower a higher initial loan amount because the borrower will not stay in the home and accrue as much interest as a 62-year-old borrower under normal circumstances. So, in this case, our married borrower with the younger spouse will have their reverse mortgage proceeds determined by the younger spouse's age.

Other factors can affect life expectancies that HUD does not use and married vs. unmarried status influences one of those unused factors that actuarial tables have shown.  HUD does not take physical infirmity, lifestyles such as activity levels or healthy vs. non-healthy habits (smoking, drinking, etc.) into account, or any other factors other than age; it is the only individual characteristic that will affect the amount the borrower(s) will receive other than property values, interest rates and lending limits which are program driven.  Since the younger spouse can also live in the home for life without making a payment and, based on their age, should be able to live in the home longer, the loan will start at a lower amount.  But the difference is not based on marriage vs. unmarried; it is solely based on age.

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