Reverse mortgage counselors have some new guidelines for qualifying to work with homeowners. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines come after complaints that some housing counselors aren't qualified to discuss reverse loans.
Seniors who want to borrow reverse mortgages must meet with a counselor to discuss their options. Reverse home loans allow people 62 and older to borrow some of their home equity. The amount of a reverse mortgage loan depends upon the borrower's age and home value, but the money can be used for any purpose.
The government's new rules require reverse mortgage counselors to pass an AARP-approved exam. They also must undergo additional training every two years.
When the Government Accountability Office sent investigators posing as borrowers to 15 reverse mortgage counselors, they found that none of them covered the required topics. Some of those counselors also neglected to give information about alternatives to borrowing a reverse mortgage, such as local social services.
Borrowers can continue to receive reverse mortgage counseling in person or by phone. You can find a reverse mortgage counselor on the FHA site.