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Florida program assists with reverse mortgages for aging homeowners

Whether a resident has lived in the state of Florida their entire life, recently relocated or retired to the state, owning a home is a common desire and goal. For some maintaining and keeping their home is a growing challenge due to economic difficulties. Even those who moved to the state and purchased a retirement home might encounter struggles due to their fixed income. Foreclosure is a reality for many south Florida residents and understanding how to deal with the problems and the process is crucial.

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation recently announced that is would designate approximately $25 million of its ‘Hardest-Hit Fund’ in order to assist elderly homeowners by helping them with reverse mortgages. The new program will specifically help Floridians that have been hurt by the recession and are seeking to hold onto their retirement home. The agency stated that they could still benefit even if they have fallen behind on their property tax, homeowner association fees and insurance payments.

The agency is aware that those homeowners that are in the twilight of their years are frequently living on a fixed income. Just like other residents, retirees experience hardships due to the economy and could face foreclosure. Applying for a reverse mortgage could allow an aging homeowner to pay their property related expenses. Those eligible for the program could receive a two-year forgivable loan that could be for up to $25,000.

Simply put, a reverse mortgage is a home loan that allows for the homeowner to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. A reverse mortgage is unlike other loans because not only does the homeowner receive money based on the equity, but the homeowner also does not have to pay back the loan until they sell their home.

When an individual or a couple decides to proceed with the reverse mortgage process or seeks to prevent foreclosure, they should assess the benefits and risks. Moreover, they should educate themselves with the process and how it will impact them in the present and in the future. Understanding the available options, their rights and what paths they could take will make their decision-making process much easier during a difficult and often emotional process.

Source: Herald-Tribune, “Florida to offer reverse mortgage help,” Josh Salman, Nov. 12, 2013

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