Choosing Between Regular and Big Reverse Mortgages: Understanding Your Options

When it comes to managing finances in retirement, finding reliable and flexible solutions is crucial. Many retirees look to their biggest asset— their home— to provide financial security as they age. Reverse mortgages, particularly the regular and jumbo (big) types, offer ways to tap into home equity without the need to move or sell. Additionally, options like reverse mortgage refinance and bank statement loans can further tailor financial solutions to individual needs. This blog will explore the differences between regular and jumbo reverse mortgages, the concept of reverse mortgage refinancing, and the role of bank statement loans.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows homeowners, typically 62 years or older, to convert part of the equity in their home into cash. The unique aspect of a reverse mortgage is that unlike traditional home equity loans or second mortgages, borrowers do not have to repay the loan until they sell the home, move out permanently, or pass away. This makes reverse mortgages an attractive option for retirees looking for additional income streams without an immediate financial burden.

Regular vs. Jumbo Reverse Mortgages

Regular Reverse Mortgages: Regular reverse mortgages, also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), are backed by the U.S. federal government and capped at a certain amount set by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Jumbo Reverse Mortgages: Jumbo reverse mortgages, or proprietary reverse mortgages, are not federally insured and are offered by private lenders. These loans are suitable for homeowners whose properties exceed the value limits set by the HECM program. With jumbo reverse mortgages, you can access greater amounts of home equity, which can be particularly beneficial in high-cost areas.

Deciding Factors

Choosing between a regular and a jumbo reverse mortgage depends on several factors:

  1. Home Value:
    • If your home value exceeds the FHA’s limit, a jumbo reverse mortgage might be necessary to tap into the full equity of your home.
  2. Loan Limits:
    • Consider how much money you need to access. If your financial needs exceed the HECM limits, a jumbo reverse mortgage could be more beneficial.
  3. Interest Rates and Fees:
    • Jumbo reverse mortgages often have higher interest rates compared to HECMs. It’s important to compare these rates as well as any associated fees.
  4. Financial Goals:
    • Assess your long-term financial goals. If maintaining a large estate for heirs is important, minimizing the equity used through a reverse mortgage is advisable.

Reverse Mortgage Refinance

Refinancing a reverse mortgage can be a strategic move to either lower interest rates, access more home equity, or switch from a regular to a jumbo reverse mortgage. Here’s when refinancing might be a good idea:

  • Interest Rates Have Dropped:
    • If interest rates have fallen since you first took out your reverse mortgage, refinancing could reduce the amount of interest accumulated on the loan.
  • Increased Home Value:
    • If your home has appreciated in value, refinancing can help you access this increased equity.
  • Evolving Financial Needs:
    • Changing financial situations may necessitate accessing more of your home’s equity or adjusting the terms of your reverse mortgage.

Bank Statement Loans

For retirees who might not have regular income but possess substantial savings, a bank statement loan can be a viable option. This type of loan is particularly useful for those with complex finances or for self-employed individuals. Bank statement loans use your bank statements, rather than typical income verification, to prove your ability to repay the loan. This can be beneficial when refinancing your home or seeking a reverse mortgage, as it allows greater flexibility and accessibility for those without traditional income streams.

Making the Right Choice

Deciding between a regular or a jumbo reverse mortgage involves careful consideration of your home value, financial needs, and the costs involved. Consulting with a financial advisor and a mortgage expert can provide personalized insights based on your specific circumstances. Remember, your home is not just a financial asset but also a place of personal and emotional significance. Balancing financial gain with emotional security is key in making the right decision.


Reverse mortgages, whether regular or jumbo, offer significant benefits for retirees seeking financial stability. By understanding the differences between these options and considering the potential for refinancing, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your financial and personal goals. As with any financial decision, thorough research and professional advice are indispensable. With the right approach, your home can continue to be a source of comfort and security in your retirement years, while also serving as a valuable financial tool.

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