A reverse mortgage is a home loan that provides cash payments based on home equity. Homeowners normally "defer payment of the loan until they die, sell, or move out of the home." Upon the death of homeowners, their heirs either give up ownership to the home or must refinance the home to purchase the title from the reverse mortage company.
With a conventional mortgage, the homeowner makes a monthly payment to the lender. After each payment, the homeowner's equity increases by the amount of the principal included in the payment. In a reverse mortgage, a homeowner is not required to make monthly mortgage payments (payments for property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance and other expenses must be made). If mortgage payments are not made, interest is added to the loan's balance. Although the "rising loan balance can eventually grow to exceed the value of the home," "the borrower (or the borrower’s estate) is generally not required to repay any additional loan balance in excess of the value of the home."
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government agency.” (ML 2014-10)