Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages: Pros, Cons, and Eligibility Criteria

As homeowners approach retirement, they often seek ways to make the most of their property investments. One option that has gained attention in recent years is the reverse mortgage. This financial tool provides homeowners with a unique way to tap into the equity in their homes. In this blog, we’ll explore the world of reverse mortgages, examining the pros, cons, and eligibility criteria, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for you.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

What Is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) in Canada, is a loan available to homeowners aged 55 and older. It allows them to convert part of their home equity into tax-free cash. Unlike a traditional mortgage, where homeowners make monthly payments to a lender, with a reverse mortgage, the lender makes payments to the homeowner.

How Do Reverse Mortgages Work?

With a reverse mortgage, homeowners receive loan payments, either as a lump sum, a series of regular payments, or a combination of both. These payments are tax-free and do not affect government benefits like Old Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The loan only needs to be repaid when the homeowner decides to sell the home or when they pass away.

The Pros of Reverse Mortgages

1. Access to Home Equity

One of the most significant advantages of a reverse mortgage is that it allows homeowners to access the equity they’ve built up in their homes without selling or moving.

2. Financial Flexibility

Reverse mortgage funds can be used for various purposes, from supplementing retirement income and covering medical expenses to home renovations and travel.

3. No Monthly Mortgage Payments

Unlike traditional mortgages, reverse mortgages do not require monthly payments. This can be particularly beneficial for retirees on fixed incomes.

4. Homeownership Continuity

With a reverse mortgage, homeowners can continue living in their homes without worrying about eviction due to missed mortgage payments.

The Cons of Reverse Mortgages

1. Interest Accrual

While homeowners aren’t making monthly payments, interest on the reverse mortgage loan continues to accrue. This means the loan balance grows over time, potentially reducing the homeowner’s equity.

2. Reduced Inheritance

The growing loan balance can affect the size of the inheritance left to heirs when the homeowner passes away or sells the home.

3. Costs and Fees

Reverse mortgages come with various fees, including interest, closing costs, and mortgage insurance premiums. It’s essential to understand these costs and factor them into the decision.

4. Home Equity Erosion

The loan’s increasing balance means less home equity for future needs or potential downsizing.

Eligibility Criteria for Reverse Mortgages

1. Age Requirement

In Canada, to qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must be at least 55 years old.

2. Home Type

Typically, only primary residences or main homes are eligible for reverse mortgages. Investment properties or second homes do not qualify.

3. Home Equity

The amount of equity in your home will affect the amount you can borrow through a reverse mortgage. The more equity, the higher the potential loan amount.

4. Home Appraisal

The lender will require a home appraisal to determine its value, which is a key factor in calculating the loan amount.


Reverse mortgages can be a valuable financial tool for Canadian homeowners aged 55 and older, offering the opportunity to access home equity and improve retirement finances. However, like any financial product, they come with both advantages and disadvantages. To decide if a reverse mortgage is right for you, carefully consider your financial situation, needs, and future plans. Consulting with a financial advisor or mortgage specialist can provide further clarity and guidance. Remember that while reverse mortgages can be beneficial, it’s crucial to fully understand the terms, costs, and potential impacts before proceeding. Making an informed decision will ensure that a reverse mortgage aligns with your financial goals and retirement aspirations.


Contact Us

Contact Capital Mortgages today to learn more about refinancing and how we can help you save money on your mortgage. Our team of experienced mortgage professionals is here to help you navigate the process and to find the mortgage solution that best meets your needs. Whether you are looking to lower your monthly payments, pay off your mortgage faster, or access equity in your home, we can help you explore your options and find the best mortgage solution for your unique situation. So, if you are thinking about refinancing your mortgage in Canada, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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6 Myths and Facts of Reverse Mortgages


Over years of owning a home and making mortgage payments, you’ve built a nicely-sized nest egg of home equity. However, that portion of your net worth is essentially untouchable until you choose to move or sell your home. A reverse mortgage allows you to borrow against your home’s value to pay off existing debt, make home improvements or cover other expenses.


Reverse mortgages are considered “reverse” because instead of making mortgage payments, the loan provides payment to the borrower. Borrowers can receive funds in installments or one lump sum, and also have the flexibility to repay the principal and interest in full at any time. Here are some common “myths” and facts about reverse mortgages:


1) MYTH: Anyone can get a reverse mortgage.

FACT:  Only Canadian homeowners 55 or older can get a reverse mortgage. Other qualifications include your property type, location and market value.


2) MYTH: To get a reverse mortgage, your home must be completely mortgage-free.

FACT: You don’t need to be completely mortgage-free to get a reverse mortgage. In fact, some borrowers use reverse mortgages to pay off existing mortgages and debts.


3) MYTH: I will have to pay taxes on the money I receive.

FACT: All money you receive for a Canadian reverse mortgage is tax-free. These reverse mortgages don’t affect Old Age Security or other government benefits you may already be receiving.


4) MYTH: I will have to make monthly payments on what I borrow.

FACT: You don’t have to make monthly payments on the money you borrow (interest or principal payments alike) until you choose to move or sell your home.


5) MYTH: A reverse mortgage will allow me to borrow without limits.

FACT: A reverse mortgage allows you to borrow up to 55% of your home’s value. This protects a borrower from borrowing too heavily against a home’s value.


6) MYTH: I may be forced to move as a result of a reverse mortgage.

FACT: Because you aren’t required to make monthly payments, you’ll never be required to sell or move as a result of changing home values. The amount you will eventually have to repay won’t exceed the fair market value of your home when it’s sold (provided you properly maintain your property).


Interested in figuring out if a reverse mortgage is right for you? Contact Capital Mortgages today to learn more about reverse mortgages and get a free quote.