The Impact Of Texas Law On Your Reverse Mortgage

Jul 12, 2023Reverse Mortgage Texas

The great state of Texas, recognized for its unique cultural heritage, cowboy hats, and barbecues, is also known for its distinct legal landscape. This particularly rings true when it comes to the reverse mortgage sector. The Lone Star State was one of the last states to adopt laws allowing homeowners to access reverse mortgages, but once it did, it incorporated robust protections to safeguard its senior residents.

Understanding Texas Reverse Mortgage Law

The Texas Constitution, under Article 16, Section 50, permits the issuance of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), the most popular type of reverse mortgages, to seniors aged 62 and above. However, unlike other states, Texas law places additional conditions on these loans, making the reverse mortgage landscape unique and comprehensive in terms of borrower protection.

Unique Features of Texas Law

    1. Both Spouses Must be 62 or Over: Texas stands out from other states by requiring that if a couple owns a home, both spouses must be at least 62 years old to qualify for a reverse mortgage. This requirement is in place to ensure that in the event of one spouse’s death, the surviving spouse can continue living in the home without fear of foreclosure, as long as they continue to meet the loan obligations such as maintaining the home and paying property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

    2. The 12-Day Cooling-Off Period: Upon receiving the loan application and mandatory disclosures, the lender must wait at least 12 days before closing the loan. Known as the “12-day cooling-off period,” it gives the borrower ample time to review the terms and consult with financial advisors or family members, ensuring they comprehend the long-term implications of the loan.

    3. Mandatory Counseling: Counseling is mandatory nationwide for a reverse mortgage. However, in Texas, the law necessitates that the borrower must complete this counseling at least five days before closing. This ensures that all borrowers are fully aware of their financial obligations and the impact of the loan on their estate and heirs.

    4. The 3% Cap on Fees: Texas law caps the fees that can be charged for a reverse mortgage at 3% of the loan amount, shielding borrowers from excessive costs.

    5. 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio: Unlike other states where you can borrow up to a certain percentage of the home’s appraised value, Texas law imposes a restriction that the combined total of all loans against a home, including reverse mortgages, cannot exceed 80% of the home’s appraised value. This safeguards the homeowners’ equity.

    6. Protection Against Non-Recourse: Texas law reinforces the federal non-recourse policy. This means that a borrower, or their heirs, will never owe more than the home’s value at the time the loan is repaid.

The Evolution of Reverse Mortgage Laws in Texas

The law pertaining to reverse mortgages in Texas has evolved over time. While originally only allowing for traditional HECMs, it expanded in 2013 to permit HECM for Purchase, allowing seniors to use a reverse mortgage to buy a new home.

In 2017, Texas saw the passage of another significant legislation, Proposition 2. It gave Texas homeowners additional options for home equity loans, permitting the conversion of home equity into a reverse mortgage without needing to sell the home. It also provided more flexibility for farmers and homeowners whose property is not federally insured.

The Future of Texas Reverse Mortgage Law

In recent years, the Texas legislature has shown a trend toward expanding reverse mortgage options and protections for seniors. As these laws continue to evolve, it’s essential for borrowers to stay informed and consult with a knowledgeable, Texas-based lender who is familiar with the state’s unique regulatory landscape.

In summary, Texas law impacts the reverse mortgage process in a way that significantly differentiates it from other states. By understanding these unique aspects and their implications, Texas homeowners can make the most informed decision about whether a reverse mortgage is a suitable option for them. Remember, a reverse mortgage is not just a financial decision; it’s a long-term commitment that requires careful consideration, understanding, and planning. Choose a Texas-based lender who can provide the local expertise and guidance necessary to navigate this complex process successfully.

As with any financial decision, it’s crucial to consider your individual circumstances, and financial goals, and consult with a trusted advisor before proceeding. For those who do choose a reverse mortgage, it can be a valuable tool to enhance financial stability and comfort during retirement while remaining in the home they love – right here in the heart of Texas.