63-year-old Loretta Zerillo can hardly contain her excitement. Her carpenter had just finished installing a beautiful brand new door and replacing the old wood of her home’s gorgeous side deck.
“I love it!” she gushes. “I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier!” She pauses. “Oh wait, I do know why. It’s because I didn’t have enough money to do it earlier!” She laughs. “But now I do!”
Loretta had recently closed on her reverse mortgage loan and is enjoying the benefits of one of the stipulations. Under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) rules, if there are repairs needed for the house, part of the funds from the reverse mortgage must be set aside to satisfy the necessary maintenance.
For Loretta, it is an exciting improvement. She had been living in her home for 14 years and some of the wood had begun to rot. There were also so many other much-needed repairs to be done that she got to the point of being embarrassed to invite guests over.
“I also didn’t really have any extra income, and started to pull from my annuities and retirement account,” she explains. “I got sick and tired of pulling some of my savings in order to pay my bills.”
That was when Loretta first started to consider a reverse mortgage. She had first heard about the loan product years ago when a friend of hers had gotten one and recommended it. Then she heard about it again when she saw a familiar face on her television.
“I watch TV all day long when I’m not working, and I see Fred Thompson,” she explains, and she laughs as she does her best Fred Thompson voice impression.
“But in all seriousness, I thought, ‘You know what? This actually sounds good. This is something I should look into.’ So I called and I was lucky enough to get my buddy Scotty!”
Loretta is talking about her Reverse Mortgage Professional, with whom she had gotten close over the course of her reverse mortgage process. “We talked about a reverse mortgage and he explained to me what it was. I love that kid!” she says endearingly.
“I loved talking to him; he was so good to me. He walked me through it every day. If I had a question or problem, I’d call him. At first I was kind of scared about it and not sure if I was doing the right thing. But he was absolutely great, and as I learned more about it, I found it wasn’t as scary as I first thought it might be.”
As far as disbursements, Loretta chose to get a small lump sum and the HECM Line of Credit. “I can use the credit line if I need it,” she explains, “but if I never touch the credit line then there will still be a lot of equity left in the home, for the kids. But my kids will be fine. They all have their own places anyway, and they don’t even want my house as they work too far away.”
Loretta did not hastily make her decision to get a reverse mortgage, and she has some strict values that she’s not afraid to share. “I feel that if you get money that falls in your lap, you should use it for what you need to use it for and don’t just squander it! I don’t feel you should blow it.”
“I have bills to pay, and with a reverse mortgage I still have to pay my taxes and my homeowners insurance. I hope I sound responsible and I hope everybody else is responsible too. That’s what I think, and if you do too, the reverse mortgage is the best thing ever.”
“I’ve already told a couple people about my experience and I say, ‘You should do this! You don’t understand what kind of relief you’ll have. I’m so happy; I have to tell you, I’m so happy I did it. It’s the best thing I ever did. It really is.”