What is an Inverse Mortgage?


I saw an ad for something called an Inverse Mortgage. Can anyone explain to me what this is?


What would you do if you heard an advertisement stating that your mortgage could be paid off in less that five or ten years without you paying any more incremental principal on your mortgage? Does this sound too good to be true? Let’s journey back to Earth for a moment.

A real estate finance, consultant company is espousing an inverse mortgage program on the Internet and elsewhere. It states that if you, a mortgage holder, refer another person to the program, you will receive an automatic deposit of one-half of the referral’s first mortgage payment into your mortgage account. Create enough of these referrals, and you can pay off your home mortgage a lot sooner.

Here’s how this program works.

A solicitor for the inverse mortgage program hawks the program to another person. If the person bites, then the solicitor will be automatically debited into his or her mortgage account a commission percentage equal to one-half of the referral’s first mortgage payment. For example, if the first mortgage payment is $2000, $1000 will be automatically applied to the principal of your mortgage as the referrer of the program.

Furthermore, you can create personally sponsored “downstream” or tiered, second, third, and so on, levels that will pay you their first two referrals (your initial commissions don’t begin until the third referral) a percentage of mortgage commissions or one-half of the first mortgage payment. This commission income should eventually satisfy all of your personal mortgage payments. You will own your home free and clear of all debts excluding maintenance and property taxes faster than you initially thought.

But before you join, you must pay a fee or one month’s mortgage payment within the first 12 months of joining the program.

The real estate finance, consultant company also guarantees the inverse mortgage program through Regulation E of the Federal Government. It states that the regulation protects consumers who participate in the program. But this may be misrepresentation. What Regulation E really states is, “For electronic fund transfers, it establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of parties in electronic funds transfers and protects consumers when they use such systems.” It says nothing regarding consumer protection from inverse mortgage program irregularities.

May I suggest a “caveat emptor” or let the buyer beware label be applied to this program. In fact, here are several cautions that may be beneficial in making your decision to even consider joining such a program:

  • In the recent history of professional real estate practice, there has not been one revolutionary idea that enhances the mortgage loan, pay-down process.

  • It has not been proven that anyone has actually made money or paid down his or her mortgage prematurely using this program.

  • You must not only solicit the inverse mortgage to people but also give away your mortgage account information for supposedly receiving automatic commission deposits.

At the risk of editorializing, this looks like another multilevel marketing (MLM) or pyramid scheme. I stated scheme not scam. There is no current evidence that inverse mortgages are a scam.

But, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, right?

Answered over 11 years ago
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