Archive for the ‘Real Life Stories’ category

My Longest Living Reverse Mortgage Client

April 25, 2009

FOW088My longest living client called me the other day. Three years ago I helped her with her reverse mortgage. At that time she was 96 years old. I met with her and her nephew and explained all of the benefits of a reverse mortgage, as well as all of the future implications. She had had her home free and clear and simply needed to supplement her income and have some money left on the side for emergency purposes. A very common situation.

Today she is 99. She called me and in her sweet voice said, “This is Mary Smith . . . do you remember me?” Well, of course, I remembered her. . . . how could I forget her? Though she is 99, she still gets around. Her favorite thing to do is to gamble. Now she doesn’t do it real often, but she has a friend that takes her to the casinos periodically. In fact, the last time she went she won $1,000. But of course, she decided to give it back.

One of Ms. Smith’s favorite things to do is to garden. Even at 99 she keeps up her yard, getting on her knees, and working the soil so that it produces the best harvest possible. She told me that she has done it since she was a little girl. Her mother taught her all of the ins and outs of gardening, and she still loves it today.

My favorite memory of Ms. Smith is how she gets around the house. Yes, she is 99, but she pushes a walker like there is no tomorrow. She knows where she wants to go and she gets there without a bump in the road. Ms. Smith also loves to do puzzles. I suppose that that is why she is so sharp. Her mind is incredible.

It is a gift to be a part of the lives of my clients. We talk periodically and I continue to assist them in any way that I can.  With all of the lender issues occuring today, they are often concerned that the economic conditions will effect their prized reverse mortgage.  I am always happy to tell them that they are safe and secure!

Home Value Decrease Hurts Seniors

February 4, 2008

j0399681.jpgFor many months I have been working with a couple as they await the proper timing for them to get into a reverse mortgage. They currently have an adjustable rate mortgage that will reset within the next couple of months. Over the past year it was their assumption that the value in their home would be in the mid $300’s (thousands). At this value they would have enough equity in their home to pay off their current mortgage, and have some left over to put in a line of credit. They have been excited over the past year or so as this would give them the opportunity to get rid of their mortgage payment and live more comfortably.

Two months ago I did a basic evaluation of their property. I am not an appraiser, nor do I think I can even pretend to be one. However, by just looking at home sales in the area, I was dissappointed to see that their were virtually no sales over the past 6 months that sold for over $300k. What is the likelihood of the appraiser giving a value of anywhere around $350k? Not very likely! In fact, after looking at comp’s in the area, it is more likely to be closer to $300k than $350k. This poses a problem!

By doing a reverse mortgage, and paying off the current mortgage balance, my clients would now be in the hole about $30k. Ugh . . . .  Who would have thunk it? We are currently evaluating all options, including doing a simple refinance, which they are not too excited about. But in all reality, it might just buy them enough time for values to get back to where a reverse mortgage would make more sense.

Again, It’s All About Timing

January 30, 2008

1020_sa_biz_bizb.jpgIn most big decisions that we make, much of it has to do with our timing. Whether it is buying a car, purchasing a home, refinancing our mortgage, or remodeling our home, timing is everthing. It is no different with decisions regarding reverse mortgages, and thus with one of my most recent discussions with a prospect.

Throughout my interview process, it is important for me to get a handle on several things about wishes and desires of my clients. What are their goals? Do they want to stay in their home for an extended period of time? What is their current income? Are they currently working? What is their current financial situation? These are just a few of the questions I ask to help determine if the situation is right for them to enter into a reverse mortgage. If done too soon, it may put them in a difficult situation later on.

Many most recent client is a nurse. She works part time earning about $1,000 per month to supplement her social security income. She is 63 years old and sees herself working for the next 5+ years. In evaluating her current situation, she is not in such a tight financial position where she needs to have more incoome. Her current financial situation should take care of her for the next few years without too much problem. Yes, she would like to have some extra money for the unexpected events, but it is not pressing for her. At 63 years old, the greatest benefit for her would be to pay off her current mortgage. With the little amount left over, it provide her with a small line of credit, or an income of a couple hundred dollars more per month, which she really doesn’t need at the moment.

Together we decided that it might be in her best interest to wait. Why so, you ask? With reverse mortgages, the older the age, the more one can receive. In fact, the average age is roughly around 72 years old. Though everybody’s situation is different, it seems to be the age when the financial crunch hits people the most. Medical expenses and liquidity become the most pressing issues.

It is important to evaluate each situation carefully. Not only do I feel better about the purchase, but the client usually very much appreciates the assistance in evaluating their options. It may mean, in this situation, that a simple refinance of their current mortgage will free up some extra cash each month which may hold them over for a period of time. The only thing one does not want to do (if they are looking for a reverse mortgage in the future), is to NOT do a cash-out refinance. Once they start dipping into the equity, it may move them out of the possibility of doing a reverse mortgage later on.

Selling reverse mortgages is not really about selling at all, though that is what we call it. Acting as a consultant and doing what is in the best interest of the senior client is what reverse mortgage sales is really about. It makes me sleep better at night!

A Call for Help . . . . Love Your Neighbor

January 4, 2008

j0407501.jpgHappy New Year! I hope that 2008 brings much for all of my readers to celebrate. Being in the real estate industry it will be an interesting year to follow, and I am expecting great things to result in helping as many people as I can.

Around our country, though, 2008 will bring financial challenges for those that find their adjustable rates reset, and their payments exceed their ability to keep up. As a Certified Senior Advisor, I can’t help but think of those seniors in my community who will find themselves in a tragic situation with their mortgage. The media tells us that many are facing foreclosures, or are being forced to sell their home. Are we conscious of those seniors and referring them to someone that we know and trust.

Today’s American culture is very “ME” focused. We have become a group that keeps to ourselves. We build fences around our homes, we move away from our roots, we don’t get too involved in things that are not “our” business, the list goes on. The result is that we have neighbors who don’t know each other, loneliness, depression, and so on. In reality, someone near you is having challenges and could use your help. What would a phone call mean to them? What would they think if you just dropped by and asked how they were doing? It may mean the world to them . . . . and you just might have information that they need.

Sunday morning I received a knock on my door. It was a neighbor. Her name is Nora, and she just lost husband (of over 50 years) a few months ago. Still going through the challenges of learning to live on her own (though her family has been with her much of the time), she prays for strength and clings to her relationship with God to get her through the day.

As I came to the door in my “pajamas” Nora asked for help because her car wouldn’t start and she wanted to get to church. Though I am not a mechanic, I certainly know how to “jump” a car. It is something that she had always relied on her husband to do for her. In no time, I got her up and going and she was off to church with her friends. Boy that felt good!

Whether it is financial difficulties, or simply “jumping a car,” we need each other to get through life. See this as a challenge. . . . . find a friend or a neighbor that needs your help. It will bless you beyond what you can imagine!

Since my widget for Vodpod is not working on the sidebar, I have included one of my favorite videos along this topic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8j3nCrDLnU

Have a Super Year!

Saving the Home . . Foreclosures Revisited

December 28, 2007

j0399684.jpgA while back I wrote about how reverse mortgages can be used to help and save foreclosures for seniors. Unfortunately, 2008 is looking to continue to represent some of these same challenges for seniors who are going to see their adjustable rate mortgages readjust, and therefore, put them in tremendous financial difficulties.  Saving the home from foreclosure is a win/win for all. However, it is very important that those who face a possible foreclosure situation, that they contact their reverse mortgage specialist early. The fees on foreclosures are incredibly high and the accumulation of fees could prevent one from saving their home with a reverse mortgage. Though I hope lenders will see that they work hard at helping seniors in these situations, lenders aren’t often concerned with helping in these situations. The bureaucracy of a large lender often prevents them from acting mercifully in these situations.

My friend John Yedinak, the creator of the Reverse Mortgage Daily, discusses his current attempt to prevent disclosure. Enjoy!

Through the Eyes of Another

December 11, 2007

j0401025.jpgThis morning I took my little girl to pick up her first pair of glasses. We’ve known for some time that she has had a difficult time seeing far-away objects. It wasn’t until just recently that we realized how poor her eyesight really was. But in my mind, it was nothing too serious. She never complained about it, and it never kept her from doing things around the house or playing soccer.

My daughter was very excited about getting glasses. Not only could she then be able to see distances, she would look studious and smart (and cute). She liked that part of it. She has been counting down the days over the past week so that we could go and pick them up at the doctor’s office.

As she tried them on and left the doctor’s office, she was in awe. She was so excited about what she could see. In her words, “Dad, everything is 3D.” And, “Dad, I can see the branches of trees. . . . . the trees even have holes in them.” It was an exciting drive on the way home. But it got me thinking, “How many of us simply think that everyone sees the world as we do?” I simply thought that my daughter could see things as I did (pretty selfish huh). From seeing, to hearing, to feeling, speaking, etc.  Don’t we often just expect that everybody experiences life in the same manner that we do? It is a fascinating thing to ponder.

In working with seniors, it is my goal to try and see the world as they see it. To put on “glasses” that allow me to see their world from their perspective. Their world may be lonely, stressful, full of doctor’s appointments, void of sound, deminishing vision or pain. Would their life be changed if they could afford the cost of hearing aids? Cataract surgery? Hip relacement? Or dental surgery? Would their life be more enjoyable by going to the symphony? Traveling to see their grandchildren? Buying a more reliable car? What is the price they pay for not doing these things? 

You see, we often view life from what WE think matters, not necessarily others. But based on how we view it, we may not see the details of life that lie right before us, and miss an opportunity to give to another.

As a reverse mortgage specialist it gives me great perspective to see the life that my clients live. In order to help them, I need to, in a sense, feel their pain and the challenges that they face on a daily basis. Without it, I am unable to truly give to them what they need.

Second Time Around – It Just Made Sense

December 5, 2007

100_0804.jpgHis real name will be kept private, but his story is a common one. Mr. Jones is a gentleman that I met over two years ago. At that time he had a mortgage that he just wanted to pay off. This would provide him an extra $600 per month to use for living expenses, and medical costs that relate to caring for his wife, Mary. After several visits of explaining the details of a reverse mortgage, Mr. Jones decided that it would be a prudent decision that would allow him to deal with the rising cost of living.

Not long after beginning to move forward to help Mr. Jones, I received a phone call from one of his daughters. She lived in California, and wanted to talk with me about the reverse mortgage program and all of its implications. This is something that I always encourage as a reverse mortgage often affects inheritance issues, etc. After much discussion, it was decided that she was going to financially assist her father (for now), and wait on moving forward with the reverse mortgage for her parents. Since she was willing and able to do that, I encouraged it.

Fast forward to one month ago . . . .  I was giving a seminar in the same community that Mr. Jones lived. I often wondered how he was doing since the last time that I spoke with him. He was a sharp man, and a person that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know (much like many of the people I work with). Just before I was to begin with the seminar, Mr. Jones entered the room. I was thrilled to see him like a long lost friend. He greeted me and we had a nice time reconnecting.

After I had completed the seminar, and throughout the next several weeks, Mr. Jones shared with me the events that had occurred over the last two years. As mentioned above, Mr. Jones is a very sharp man, and one who walks with the integrity that I admire. At 86 years old, his wife’s health is failing, and he is her primary care giver, along with one of his daughters. Though he finds the task getting more difficult as time passes, he does so with great love, and he would have it no other way.

Without going into great detail in regards to his personal situation, we re-evaluated his situation in regards to a reverse mortgage. It would provide him with: 1) Financial Peace-of-Mind to cover future health related costs, 2) Pay off his current home equity loan and no longer need to make a monthly payment, 3) Settle all current debts, 4) Have an emergency fund set aside for any unexpected financial obligation that arises in the future.

From the beginning, Mr. Jones was in contact with his attorney, as well as his family, who all favored the decision. It was a good example of the type of teamwork that I always encourage.