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Home / Questions / do we have to be a resident in the state to qualify for a reverse mortgage?

My wife and I are full-time RVERS. We moved our state residence status from Arizona to South Dakota. We retained our home in Arizona for a place to winter. We do not own any other property. We intend to stay in our Arizona house for the rest of our lives. I guess my question is, do we have to be a resident in our home state to qualify for a reverse mortgage?

By Doug on 12.06.2018

Hello Doug,

The reverse mortgage program requires that the home be your primary residence.  Primary is the home you live in more than half the year or more than six months a year.  If you live in Arizona for more than six months of the year and then spend the rest of the time on the road in an RV, that is perfectly acceptable.  But you do have some issues with what you are saying. 

Firstly, you must substantiate your primary residence and your occupancy.  If all your documentation (driver’s license, tax returns, bank statements, etc.) shows a South Dakota address, you cannot establish residency in AZ.  Also, what do you do with the AZ home when you are not there?  If the home is used as a rental property, that would not be acceptable to HUD.  And by “full-time,” if you are gone more than six months a year, you would not meet the requirements for the loan.

The reverse mortgage is not available for second homes or rental properties, and it sounds like you are currently using the AZ home as a second home or a rental.  If so, you should wait until you are more grounded in that property to apply for a reverse mortgage. 

Remember, you can still travel with a reverse mortgage, but you must be able to establish occupancy in the home. If the lender does an occupancy check, you will need to show that you met the loan requirements, or you would risk them calling the Note due and payable; that could lead to a possible foreclosure if you could not pay off the loan in time.