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I'm considering a reverse mortgage and understand that I am not required to make payments. When and how is a reverse mortgage repaid?

A home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM, also known as a reverse mortgage, must be repaid in full when you die or sell the home. The lender recovers the money advanced to you, plus interest, when the home is sold. If the home is sold for more than is required to satisfy the obligation, the remaining equity goes to you or your heirs.

An important consideration is that an HECM generally becomes due and payable if any of the following occur:

  • You do not pay property taxes, hazard insurance, or other obligations.
  • You permanently move to a new residence.
  • You, or the last borrower, fail to live in the home for 12 months in a row.
  • You allow the property to deteriorate and do not make necessary repairs.

It is important to review the terms of your loan agreement carefully and keep these factors in mind when deciding on whether an HECM is right for you. You should consider how long you plan to live in the home, and if you will have the financial resources to maintain the property and pay the taxes.

Last Reviewed: April 2021

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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