Good Question: You hear about actors on television telling you about reverse home mortgages, what is it and how safe is it?

A national lenders association says nearly 13 million Americans 65 and over, own their homes and sit on $4 trillion dollars of equity, but the cost of rising health care and living is leading them to become part of a growing trend.

Good Question-Mary in Mt.Sterling: You hear about actors on television telling you about reverse home mortgages, what is it and how safe is it?

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association says the number of reverse mortgages have surged in the last decade.

With a traditional mortgage you borrow money and repay with interest.

A reverse mortgage is designed for people 62 and older that allows them to use the equity in their home to pay them while living there.

"It allows that individual to stay in their house and use that money they can pull that money out and use it for living expenses whatever they would like to," said Chris Evans.

Evans of Thoroughbred Lending in Lexington says these loans can be complex.

Seniors can often become the target of predatory lenders.

Evans recommends asking a lot of questions and going to someone local you trust.

"On a reverse mortgage your loan balance stays low and as you stay in the product the loan balance increases in the amount of equity in the hose decreases," said Evans.

To qualify a person must be 62 years or older and own their home.

How much you can borrow is based on your home's worth and interest rates.

The home must be in good condition and you must have your home loan paid off or significant equity built up.

"People need to take the time to know how the loan works and what goes with the loan," said Evans.

As for being safe, Evans says if used appropriately and people understand it can be the right fit for the right homeowner.

There are some down sides to a reverse mortgage, you need to check because they can affect eligibility for state and federal programs like Medicaid.

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