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A Guide to Reverse Mortgages for Florida Homeowners

Florida reverse mortgage

As those in retirement may be looking for other sources of income in retirement, Florida homeowners have a unique opportunity to leverage the value of their homes for a more comfortable and financially secure retirement. 

Whether you’re a long-time Floridian or relocated to the Sunshine State for retirement, understanding how to unlock the equity in your home can be a game-changer.  

We’ll explore the fundamentals of reverse mortgages, dispel common myths, and address concerns you may have about this financial option.  

This Florida reverse mortgage guide provides insights, tips, and other essential information you need to make an informed decision. 

Get Your Free Reverse Mortgage Guide Here!

A reverse mortgage is a specialized loan product designed for homeowners who are aged 62 or older and wish to tap into the equity they’ve built in their homes. Unlike traditional mortgages, where you make monthly payments to reduce the loan balance, a reverse mortgage allows you to receive payments from your lender, converting a portion of your home equity into cash. 

Key features of a reverse mortgage include: 

No Monthly Mortgage Payments: With a reverse mortgage, you are not required to make monthly mortgage payments as long as you continue to meet certain criteria, such as living in the home as your primary residence, paying property taxes, and maintaining homeowners’ insurance. 

Loan Amount: The amount you can borrow through a reverse mortgage depends on factors like your age, the value of your home, and current interest rates. Generally, the older you are and the more valuable your home, the more you can borrow. 

Loan Repayment: The loan becomes due when you move out of the home, sell it, or pass away. At that point, you or your heirs can repay the loan by selling the home or using other assets. 

reverse mortgage requirements

The eligibility criteria and requirements for reverse mortgages in Florida are generally in line with federal regulations.  

To qualify for a reverse mortgage in Florida, you typically need to meet the following criteria: 

  • Age: You must be at least 62 years old to be eligible for a reverse mortgage. 
  • Equity: You must have equity in your home. 
  • Property Type: Eligible properties in Florida include single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and some manufactured homes. 
  • Property Condition: The property needs to be in good condition.  
  • Residency: The home must be your primary residence, and you should intend to continue living there. 
  • Financial Obligations: Homeowners need to be financially prepared to continue to handle the recurring expenses associated with property ownership. These expenses include property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and, if relevant, homeowners’ association (HOA) fees. Additionally, they should allocate funds for the proper upkeep and maintenance. 
  • Counseling. Prior to submitting an application for a reverse mortgage loan, it is mandatory for individuals to complete an in-depth counseling session. This session must be conducted by a third-party counseling service that has received approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This requirement ensures that applicants are well-informed about the implications and details of a reverse mortgage loan. 

Florida residents considering a reverse mortgage have a variety of options to choose from, each catering to different needs and financial situations. Here’s a closer look at some of the options available: 

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)

The most popular choice among reverse mortgage options is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Backed by the federal government, HECMs provide seniors with the opportunity to convert a portion of their home equity into cash. The proceeds from a HECM can be used for any purpose, from covering daily living expenses to paying for healthcare needs. Importantly, borrowers must be 62 years or older, own their home (or have a small mortgage balance), and live in the home as their primary residence. The FHA puts a lending limit on HECM reverse mortgage loans. As of 2024, the HECM lending limit is $1,149,825. 

Jumbo Reverse Mortgages

For homeowners in Florida with high-value properties, jumbo reverse mortgages may be an attractive option. These loans are designed for properties that exceed the federal lending limits set for HECMs. Jumbo reverse mortgages offer the opportunity to access a larger portion of home equity, making them ideal for those with homes valued significantly above the average. 

Reverse Mortgage for Purchase

The reverse mortgage for purchase, also known as a HECM for Purchase, is an innovative option that allows seniors to purchase a new home while taking out a reverse mortgage at the same time. This option can be particularly appealing for those looking to downsize, relocate, or buy a more accessible home for their retirement years. It works by combining a large down payment from the sale of their previous home with a reverse mortgage into a single transaction. The advantage of the HECM for purchase loan is that it provides a way to purchase a new home without taking on monthly mortgage payments in retirement.  

Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgages

Single-purpose reverse mortgages are typically offered by state and local government agencies or non-profit organizations. As the most restrictive type of reverse mortgage, they can only be used for a specific, lender-approved purpose, such as home repairs or property taxes. While they are less flexible than other types, they often come with lower costs and could be a suitable choice for those with specific financial needs.

Florida is one of the most popular retirement states in the country, with its sunny skies and appealing lifestyle for retirees.  

A reverse mortgage can be especially beneficial for seniors looking to maximize their retirement resources.  

Here are some key benefits of opting for a reverse mortgage in the Sunshine State: 

Financial Flexibility 

One of the primary advantages of a reverse mortgage is the increased financial flexibility it offers. There are no rules or restrictions about how reverse mortgage funds have to be used. Retirees can use their reverse mortgage proceeds to supplement their income, providing additional funds to cover everyday expenses, healthcare costs, or even leisure activities. This financial cushion can be a game changer, especially for those living on a fixed income. 

No Monthly Mortgage Payments 

Reverse mortgages provide the unique benefit of eliminating monthly mortgage payments. While homeowners are still responsible for property taxes, insurance, and home maintenance fees, they are not required to make monthly payments on the loan balance. This aspect can significantly reduce the monthly financial burden for many retirees. 

Stay in Your Home 

Reverse mortgages allow seniors to remain in their homes while accessing their equity. This aspect is particularly important for Florida residents who lived in the Sunshine State pre-retirement, as they may have strong emotional ties to their homes and communities. It offers the comfort and stability of staying in a familiar environment, close to friends, family, and established social networks. 

Disbursement Options 

Reverse mortgage funds can be received in various forms, such as a lump sum, monthly payments, a line of credit, or a combination of these options. This flexibility allows homeowners to tailor the disbursement to their specific financial needs and goals, whether it’s managing day-to-day expenses, planning for future costs, or having a financial safety net. 

Protection Against Housing Market Fluctuations 

Reverse mortgages offer a non-recourse feature, which means if the loan balance exceeds the home’s value when the loan is repaid, neither the borrower nor the heirs are responsible for the difference. This feature provides a level of security against real estate market volatility. 

Tax-Free Proceeds 

The proceeds from a reverse mortgage are tax-free, as the IRS considers the funds to be a loan and not income. This aspect can be particularly advantageous when planning retirement finances, as it allows retirees to maximize the use of their funds. 

When considering a reverse mortgage in Florida, the interest rates associated with these loans are an essential factor to consider.

Reverse mortgages typically come with one of two interest rate types: fixed and adjustable. Fixed rates remain constant over the life of the loan, providing predictability in terms of interest accrual. Adjustable rates, on the other hand, can fluctuate based on market conditions, offering more flexibility and potentially lower initial rates. However, they also come with uncertainty because of potential rate increases.

Reverse mortgages with variable rates include a safeguard known as a ‘life cap.’ This feature ensures that the interest rate will never exceed a specified maximum limit relative to the initial rate. This cap provides borrowers with peace of mind, knowing that their interest rates are contained within a predictable range, protecting them from extreme market fluctuations over the life of the loan.

With a reverse mortgage, the interest is computed daily and added to the loan balance monthly. Unlike typical loans, where monthly payments are made towards both the principal and interest, reverse mortgages defer the interest payments. This means that interest accrues over the loan period but is not payable until the loan reaches its conclusion. This structure allows for greater financial flexibility, as it postpones the payment obligations until the end of the loan term.

The lump sum payment is the only type of reverse mortgage loan with a fixed interest rate; all other options have adjustable rates.

One advantage of a reverse mortgage is that you only accrue interest on the funds you receive. For instance, if you opt for a line of credit or monthly disbursements, interest will only be applied to the amount that has been released to you.

Any portion of the loan that remains untouched in your line of credit or is yet to be paid out in future installments will not incur interest, providing a more efficient and cost-effective borrowing strategy.

While some lenders may attempt to publish interest rates for reverse mortgages, the actual interest rates are not published by HUD until about two months later. If you want to see reverse mortgage interest rates, you can find the most current rates here.


Given the extensive backing that reverse mortgages have by the federal government also means that they come with numerous protections for consumers. These protections include the following:

Mandatory HUD-Approved Counseling

Before obtaining a reverse mortgage in Florida, homeowners are required to undergo counseling from a HUD-approved agency. This step ensures that borrowers fully understand the terms, benefits, and potential risks associated with reverse mortgages. Counselors provide unbiased information, helping seniors make informed decisions.

Non-Recourse Loan Feature

A critical protection in reverse mortgages is the non-recourse loan feature. It ensures that borrowers or their heirs will never owe more than the home’s value at the time the loan is repaid, even if the loan balance exceeds the home’s market value. This protection is particularly significant in Florida, where real estate markets can fluctuate.

Spouse Protection

For married couples, Florida law includes provisions to protect non-borrowing spouses. This means if one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can continue living in the home without immediately repaying the loan, provided certain conditions are met. This protection is vital in ensuring housing stability for the remaining spouse.

Right to Rescind

Florida homeowners have a right to cancel the reverse mortgage agreement within three business days after closing. This period allows borrowers to cancel the loan without penalty if they change their mind, offering an additional layer of security.

If you’re exploring the possibility of a reverse mortgage loan and are curious about how much you might qualify for, our Reverse Mortgage Calculator is a great starting point. It’s designed to give you a preliminary estimate of the potential loan amount based on the information you input.

However, it is important to remember that the figures generated by this calculator are just initial estimates.

For a more precise and detailed understanding of what you may qualify for, we strongly suggest consulting with a knowledgeable reverse mortgage loan officer. They can provide you with tailored information and insights, taking into account your specific financial situation and the latest lending criteria.

The reverse mortgage application process can be complex at times, but our reverse mortgage loan specialists at Mutual of Omaha Mortgage are here to walk you through each step of the process.  

Here is an overview to help you understand what to expect: 

Step 1: Review and Assess Eligibility 

The first step is to meet with an experienced loan officer to ensure you meet all the qualifications. A loan officer will also be able to give you an estimate of what you can expect to receive and go over the different payout options. They can also answer any questions you may have.  

Step 2: Mandatory Counseling

Attend a session with a HUD-approved counselor to ensure you understand the implications and responsibilities of a reverse mortgage. 

Step 3: Submit Application

After you have completed your counseling session and obtained the counseling certificate, your reverse mortgage loan advisor will guide you through submitting your application along with the necessary documents. Typically, this includes providing a photo ID, your homeowner’s insurance policy, and a recent property tax bill.  

Step 4: Property Appraisal

Your home will be appraised to determine its current market value, which is crucial in calculating the official amount you can borrow. 

Step 5: Loan Processing and Underwriting

The loan processor will verify all your documents and order a title search. An underwriter will review your application to ensure you meet all the requirements and is responsible for approving the loan. 

Step 6: Loan Approval and Closing

Once approved, you will receive a notification from the lender. The next step is to sign the loan documents to close the loan. This can be done in person at the title company or at your home with the assistance of a mobile notary.

Step 7: Start Receiving Funds

Following the signing of the closing documents, a mandatory three-business-day waiting period will ensue before the funds are disbursed based on the method(s) selected during the application process.

Mutual of Omaha Mortgage is a licensed reverse mortgage lender in Florida. To begin exploring your options, you can easily reach out by dialing 800-578-0283 or by completing the online form available here

Additionally, you have the option to connect with a local Florida Reverse Mortgage loan officer through our comprehensive loan officer directory. For added convenience, simply click on one of the links below to locate a loan officer in your vicinity: 

Reverse mortgage borrower must occupy home as primary residence and remain current on property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, the costs of home maintenance, and any HOA fees.   

This information is intended to be general and educational in nature and should not be construed as financial advice. Consult your financial advisor before implementing financial strategies for your retirement.  

Get Your Free Reverse Mortgage Guide Here!