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How Long Does It Take To Get A Reverse Mortgage

Have you heard about reverse mortgages and wondered just how long it takes to get one? You’re not alone. Many people are considering the benefits of a reverse mortgage but are unsure about the timelines involved. In this blog post, we’ll demystify the process, so you can make an informed decision about whether a reverse mortgage is right for you.

The Initial Inquiry

The first step in obtaining a reverse mortgage is reaching out to a lender or counselor who specializes in these types of loans. This initial consultation is an opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about the process and learn more about what to expect. It’s also a chance for the lender or counselor to assess your eligibility for a reverse mortgage.

During this stage, it’s critical to gather as much information as possible and ensure you fully understand the implications and responsibilities that come with a reverse mortgage. Research and preparation can save you time later on. The length of this phase can vary greatly depending on how quickly you collect your information and make your decisions, but typically it can take a few days to a week.

Application and Processing

Once you’ve decided to move forward, the next step is to fill out an application form. This will require some detailed information about your financial situation, including your income, assets, debts, and expenses. You’ll also need to provide information about your home such as its value and any existing mortgages or liens.

The processing times for applications can vary, but generally, you should expect this part of the process to take anywhere from two to four weeks. A lot depends on how quickly your application can be processed by the lender and whether there are any issues that need resolving.

The Appraisal

Once your application is submitted and initially approved, your home will need to be appraised. An appraiser will visit your house, take photos, measure rooms, and assess the condition of the property. The appraisal’s purpose is to determine the current market value of your home.

This step can usually be completed within a week or two, but it can sometimes take longer if there are scheduling conflicts or if problems are identified that need to be addressed before the reverse mortgage can be approved.

Counseling Session

Before you can close on a reverse mortgage, you must complete a counseling session with a HUD-approved counselor. This counseling session is required by law and is designed to ensure that you fully understand the obligations and risks associated with a reverse mortgage.

The counseling session can typically be scheduled within a week, and it usually lasts about an hour. Following the counseling session, there is a mandatory “cooling off” period to give you time to reconsider or cancel the loan if you wish.


After the counseling session and any cooling-off period, your application will move into the underwriting phase. During this time, the lender will thoroughly review all of your documentation and ensure all conditions have been met.

Depending on your situation and the lender’s workload, underwriting can typically take two to three weeks. However, it may take longer if additional documents are needed or there are issues that need to be resolved.


Once underwriting is complete and you’ve received final approval, it’s time for closing. At closing, all of the loan documents will be signed, and the reverse mortgage will become official.

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Closing typically takes place at an attorney’s office or title company and can be scheduled within a week after underwriting is complete. It’s important to review all documents thoroughly before signing and to ask any questions you might have.

After Closing

Even after closing, there’s still a period of time before you’ll receive your reverse mortgage funds. This delay is due to a federally mandated rescission period, which provides you with three business days after closing to cancel the loan if you change your mind.

Once the rescission period has passed without cancellation, the lender can disburse your funds. Depending on your chosen payment method, it can take a few days to a week for you to receive your money.

All in all, from initial inquiry to funds disbursement, acquiring a reverse mortgage typically takes around five to eight weeks. However, this timeline can vary based on many factors, including your specific circumstances and the lender’s processes. It’s essential to keep in close contact with your lender or counselor throughout the process to ensure everything moves as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Understanding the Importance of Timing

Timing is a crucial aspect in the process of getting a reverse mortgage. Knowing the time it takes to get a reverse mortgage can help you plan your finances better. It can also assist you in understanding when you’ll have access to the funds from your reverse mortgage.

Remember, patience is key when dealing with financial matters. You should not rush through the process as it could lead to mistakes or oversights that could delay getting your reverse mortgage even further.

The Role of the Lender

The lender plays a significant role in the timeline of obtaining a reverse mortgage. They are responsible for processing your application, arranging for your home appraisal, and carrying out the underwriting process. Essentially, they oversee the entire process from start to finish.

It’s essential to maintain good communication with your lender throughout the process. Regular updates from your lender will give you an idea of where you stand and what needs to be done next.

Factors that Could Delay the Process

While the standard timeline for obtaining a reverse mortgage is between five to eight weeks, several factors could potentially delay this process.

One of these factors is any delays in gathering necessary documents or filling out forms incorrectly. Any mistakes on your application form or missing documents could lead to extra time being added to your reverse mortgage timeline.

Avoiding Potential Delays

To avoid potential delays during the reverse mortgage process, ensure all forms are filled out correctly and accurately. Make sure you have all necessary documents ready for when they are needed.

Also, try to schedule appointments such as home appraisals and counseling sessions as soon as possible to prevent any scheduling conflicts from causing delays.

Why Does It Take So Long?

You might be wondering why it takes several weeks to get a reverse mortgage. The primary reason is that it involves a lot of steps and multiple parties, including lenders, appraisers, underwriters, and counselors.

Each step in the process has a purpose and ensures that you’re getting a financial product that works for your situation. Therefore, while it may seem like a slow process, it’s vital to ensure everything is done correctly to protect your interests.

Preparation is Key

The best way to minimize the time it takes to obtain a reverse mortgage is to prepare in advance. Research thoroughly about reverse mortgages and understand how they work before initiating the process.

By being well-prepared, you can help streamline the process and potentially reduce the time it takes to get your reverse mortgage approved and funded.

Patience and Communication

Finally, remember that getting a reverse mortgage is not an overnight process. It requires patience and open lines of communication with your lender or counselor.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about something during the process. By staying informed and engaged, you can help ensure the reverse mortgage process goes as smoothly as possible.

Consider All Aspects

In conclusion, when considering a reverse mortgage, make sure to consider all aspects of the process, including the time it takes to obtain one. Understanding this timeline can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly.

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Your Unique Circumstances

Your personal circumstances can also affect the timeline for obtaining a reverse mortgage. For example, if there are any legal issues tied to your property such as liens or disputes, these would need to be resolved before proceeding with the reverse mortgage application.

By understanding these potential hurdles in advance, you can take steps to address them before they cause delays in your reverse mortgage process.

Ensuring a Smooth Process

To ensure a smooth process, it’s recommended to work closely with your lender or financial counselor. They can guide you through each step of the process and provide expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

This guidance can be invaluable in helping to navigate the complexities of reverse mortgages and ensuring that you fully understand the commitment you’re making.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exactly is a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners aged 62 and older to convert some of their home equity into cash. This can provide a source of income for retirees who may not have enough savings for their retirement years.

2. How does a reverse mortgage work?

With a reverse mortgage, instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to you, based on the value of your home. The homeowner can choose to receive these payments as a lump sum, monthly installments or as a line of credit.

3. Who is eligible for a reverse mortgage?

To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must be at least 62 years old, own your home outright or have a low mortgage balance, live in the home as your primary residence, maintain your property in good condition and have no delinquent federal debt.

4. What happens if I outlive my reverse mortgage?

Reverse mortgages are designed to be “non-recourse” loans. This means that you will never owe more than your home’s value at the time the loan is repaid, even if your mortgage outlasts your lifespan. Your heirs will also never owe more than your home’s worth when repaying the loan.

5. Can I lose my home with a reverse mortgage?

No, you cannot lose your home under normal circumstances in a reverse mortgage. But foreclosure may occur if you do not pay property taxes and homeowners insurance, or fail to maintain the condition of your home.

6. Are there closing costs on a reverse mortgage?

Yes, like all other loans, reverse mortgages have closing costs. These can include origination fees, appraisal fees, and other charges. It’s important to factor in these costs when considering a reverse mortgage.

7. Can I cancel a reverse mortgage?

Yes, you can cancel a reverse mortgage within three days of the loan closing. This is known as your “right of rescission,” and it allows you to change your mind if you decide the loan isn’t right for you.

8. What happens to my reverse mortgage when I die?

When you die, your heirs will have the option to pay off the loan and keep the home or sell the home and use the proceeds to pay off the loan. If the home sells for more than what is owed on the loan, they get to keep the surplus.

9. Can I get a reverse mortgage if I still have a regular mortgage?

Yes, but you must use the funds from the reverse mortgage to pay off your existing mortgage first. Once that is done, any remaining funds can be used as you see fit.

10. Do I still own my home with a reverse mortgage?

Yes, you continue to hold title to your home with a reverse mortgage. The lender does not take ownership of your home; they simply have a lien on it.

11. How do I pay back a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is typically paid back when you move out of your home, sell your home, or pass away. The proceeds from the sale of your home are used to repay the loan, with any leftover funds going to you or your heirs.

12. Is a reverse mortgage taxable income?

No, funds received from a reverse mortgage are not considered income and therefore not subject to income tax.

13. What happens if my home value decreases?

If your home value decreases, it doesn’t impact your reverse mortgage. You or your heirs will never owe more than the home is worth when the loan is due.

14. Can I refinance a reverse mortgage?

Yes, under certain conditions, you can refinance a reverse mortgage. You might consider refinancing if your home significantly increases in value, or if interest rates drop.

15. Can I use a reverse mortgage to purchase a new home?

Yes, you can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a new home. This is known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (HECM for Purchase) and allows seniors to buy a new home and obtain a reverse mortgage within a single transaction.

The Last Word

Getting a reverse mortgage is not an overnight task and requires thoughtful consideration and understanding. Your patience, communication and preparedness are key components to ensure the process runs smoothly. With proper knowledge and guidance from your lender or financial counselor, you can navigate this journey effectively.