Preventing Foreclosure on a Reverse Mortgage: Mr. McBroom’s Story

[Sarah White]: The purpose of a reverse mortgage is to allow older homeowners to tap the equity in their home either in the form of a lump sum or monthly cash payments, to enable them to live as long as possible independently in their home. [Charles McBroom]: My name is Charles W. McBroom. I’ve lived in Stratford for 38 years. I’m 91 years old as of today. I’m a veteran of World War Two – I was in the Navy. [Sarah White]: Mr. McBroom got a reverse mortgage many years ago with his wife, who is since deceased. Like many borrowers, Mr. McBroom didn’t fully understand that he was responsible for taxes and insurance on his home going forward, and at some point he fell behind on his property taxes. Mr. McBroom’s mortgage lender, Financial Freedom, didn’t give him much information before starting the foreclosure. Financial Freedom is not the largest reverse mortgage lender; however Financial Freedom has twice the volume of foreclosures as the largest reverse mortgage lender. Financial Freedom said that Mr. McBroom’s only option to stay in his house was to pay it back for the property taxes it had paid on his behalf. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to be an option for Mr. McBroom. He simply didn’t have access to the money to pay off Financial Freedom in full. Financial Freedom said that as a result, it was going to foreclose on his house, and it started foreclosure proceedings against Mr. McBroom. [Charles McBroom]: Well, I really didn’t want to move, because at my age, you never know how long you’re gonna be around, so it’d be hard to go out and start all over again. [Sarah White]: Mr. McBroom’s case worker at the VA got in touch with us, and when I first spoke to Mr. McBroom, he was confused about what was going on and scared that he was going to lose his home. [Charles McBroom]: The people that I was introduced to at [Connecticut] Fair Housing, Ms. Sarah White, she was in charge of getting me started. [Sarah White]: Mr. McBroom was eligible for what’s called an at-risk extension which is a program under HUD for reverse mortgage borrowers like Mr. McBroom, who are over 80 years old and have serious physical disabilities or other medical conditions. But Financial Freedom didn’t tell Mr. McBroom about this program, and when he asked about it, they wouldn’t give him the information and said simply that he wasn’t eligible for it. I reached out to HUD on Mr. McBroom’s behalf and they confirmed that yes, Financial Freedom could let Mr. McBroom stay in his house, and as a result, Financial Freedom eventually folded. [Charles McBroom]: When I got the letter and everything was figured out, and I’m still here, that was a good thing. I don’t have to worry about moving. [Sarah White]: Mr. McBroom is not the only homeowner we’ve seen in this situation. Over the last year, [the CT Fair Housing Center] has seen an increase in the volume of calls from elderly homeowners with reverse mortgages who are in foreclosure because they fell behind on their property taxes or insurance, or because their lender thinks that they don’t live in their house when they do. Many of these homeowners are only a payment behind on their taxes and find themselves in foreclosure with really nowhere else to turn. [Mr McBroom]: Today, I’m feeling pretty good. I had my 91st birthday yesterday and I’m sitting back in my chair, relaxing my body, looking at my TV and enjoying life.

5 thoughts on “Preventing Foreclosure on a Reverse Mortgage: Mr. McBroom’s Story

  • I'm not advocating for reverse mortgages, but my wife and I have considered on and in every conversation we have had with a lender and with a HUD certified counselor, we were told over and over that we would have to pay the insurance and taxes on the house as well as maintain the house.

  • Love to find data to support the number of foreclosures of reverse mortgages. Or rate of failures of reverse mortgages.

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