How to sell a house with a reverse mortgage?

sell a house with reverse mortgage

For many homeowners, a reverse mortgage has been a financial tool for their retirement years. However, it’s a scary process that comes with a lot of doubts. This guide aims to provide a clear overview of what selling a property under these conditions entails. We’ll delve into the key factors, benefits, and challenges you may encounter, offering the necessary information to help you make an informed decision.

Table of Contents

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

You own a home and you’ve spent years paying into it, building up what’s called ‘equity’ – the value of your home minus any debts against it. Now, there’s a way to tap into that equity without having to sell your home or make monthly mortgage payments. This is where a reverse mortgage comes in.

A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan for people like you. It lets you borrow against the equity in your home. Here’s how it works:

  • Who Can Get It? People who are at least 62 years old and own a good portion of their home.
  • How Much Can You Get? The amount you can borrow depends on your age, your home’s value, and current interest rates.
  • How Do You Get the Money? You can choose to get the money all at once, as a lump sum, or as regular payments, almost like getting a paycheck from your house.
  • When Do You Pay It Back? You don’t make monthly payments. Instead, the loan is paid back when you sell the house, move out for more than a year, or when you pass away. Usually, the house is sold, and the money from the sale is used to pay off the loan, including interest and fees.

It’s a way to use the value of your home to help cover your needs or expenses, but remember, it also means the equity in your home – the part you own free and clear – gets smaller. It’s clearly a big decision, so it’s a good idea to talk it over with experts like us to see if it’s the right choice for you. In We Buy Houses, we are fully aware of the market trends and challenges specific to the Bay Area, and we can help you with the best financial planning advice.

Can you sell a house with a reverse mortgage?

Yes, you can sell a house with a reverse mortgage. It’s a lot like having a regular mortgage, but with some added flexibility. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You’re in Charge: The bank might have a claim on it (that’s what we call a lien), but you hold the title. This means you have the full right to sell your house whenever you want – whether it’s to downsize, move closer to family, or relocate for other reasons.
  • No Forced Sale: Neither the lender nor the government (in the case of FHA-backed HECM loans) can influence your decision to sell.
  • Repayment Upon Sale: When you decide to sell your home, the reverse mortgage becomes due. This means you’ll need to pay off the loan balance, along with any accumulated interest and fees. 

Steps to selling a house with a reverse mortgage

Do you want to know how to sell a house with a reverse mortgage? Here are the steps you would need to follow:

  1. Consult Your Lender: Contact your reverse mortgage lender to discuss your intention to sell your home. Ask them exactly how much you owe, including any interest and fees. It’s a good idea to get this “payoff quote” in writing. 
  2. Determine Your Home’s Value: Obtain a current appraisal or market analysis to determine the value of your home. Knowing this will help you estimate how much you can expect to receive from the sale, which is essential for repaying your reverse mortgage.
  3. Find Someone to Sell Your House With: You can choose to work with a real estate agent and go through the traditional selling process, which can take up to 90 days, depending on the area. Alternatively, consider selling to a home buying company like us and get your cash within a week.
  4. Finalize the Sale and Settle Accounts: Once you sell your home, the money from the sale will first go towards paying off your reverse mortgage. Make sure to double-check with your lender that everything is paid off and your account is closed. Any money left after paying off the mortgage is yours to keep.

Pros and cons of selling a house with a reverse mortgage

Let’s break down the good and the not-so-good parts of selling your house with a reverse mortgage, so you have a clearer picture:


  • No Monthly Mortgage Payments: As long as you live in the home, you don’t have to worry about monthly payments.
  • No Penalty for Early Sale: You can sell your home whenever you choose without incurring extra costs.
  • Profit from Home Appreciation: Any extra money from the sale, after paying off the reverse mortgage, is yours. This could be significant if your home’s value has increased.
  • Protection Against Value Drop: If your home’s value decreases, you’re only responsible for the loan balance or 95% of the appraised value, whichever is less.


  • Increasing Loan Balance: Interest accumulates over time on your reverse mortgage, potentially reducing your home equity when you sell.
  • Impact on Heirs: Your heirs might inherit less equity due to the need to repay the reverse mortgage to retain the home.
  • Borrowing Limits: The amount you can borrow is based on age, home value, and interest rates, which might be less than expected.
  • Sale Costs: Selling involves fees for agents, attorneys, and other services, which can reduce your net proceeds.

Tips when selling a house with a reverse mortgage

Selling a house with a reverse mortgage involves a few specific considerations. These are some tips to help navigate the process:

  • Check With Your Lender: Find out the current balance of your reverse mortgage. Keep in touch with your lender to avoid any misunderstandings throughout the selling process.
  • Home Value: Know how much your home is worth.
  • Get Help: Work with an expert who knows about reverse mortgages. They can guide you through the sale process.
  • Be Quick but Careful: After selling, you’ll need to pay off the reverse mortgage quickly, usually within a month or two.
  • Mind the Taxes: If you make a profit, remember there might be taxes. 
  • Plan Ahead: Think about where you’ll live next. Whether it’s a new house, with family, or another comfortable spot, plan this well before you sell.

Mistakes to avoid when selling a house with a reverse mortgage

Selling a house with a reverse mortgage? It’s a big step, and these are a few key things you should be careful to avoid:

  • Don’t Sell Too Early: If you sell shortly after getting a reverse mortgage, you might not profit much. Why? Because interest, closing costs, and fees can eat into your home’s equity. 
  • Don’t Sell When Home Values Drop: If your home’s value has gone down, and it’s worth less than what you owe on your reverse mortgage (this is called being “underwater”), selling might not be the best idea. Remember, selling for less than the mortgage doesn’t mean you owe extra, but you won’t gain either.
  • Stick to the Rules: Understand your reverse mortgage terms. Not actively trying to sell or missing deadlines can lead to legal issues or even foreclosure.

In short, timing and understanding the terms of your reverse mortgage are key to a successful sale. Patience and careful planning can help you avoid these common mistakes.

What is the fastest way to sell a house with a reverse mortgage?

When you have a reverse mortgage and are looking to sell your house quickly, partnering with a home-buying company can be an exceptionally advantageous route, especially with us! Here’s why we’re the fastest choice:

  • Cash in Hand Quickly: We pay in cash, so things move faster. This is really handy with a reverse mortgage because it cuts through all the complicated paperwork and waiting.
  • No Fix-Ups Needed: We’ll buy your house as-is. No need to spend time or money fixing things up.
  • We are Experts: We are used to dealing with reverse mortgages. Let us handle all the tricky details, making sure everything’s paid off properly without any hassle for you.
  • Avoiding Market Uncertainties: You can sidestep the uncertainties of the open real estate market. This includes avoiding the unpredictability of buyer offers, the time-consuming nature of home showings, and the potential for deals falling through due to financing issues.


As you consider the next steps in selling your home with a reverse mortgage, remember that We Buy Houses offers a straightforward, stress-free solution. In your golden years, simplicity and peace of mind are invaluable, that’s why we specialize in making this process as easy and comfortable for you as possible. With the right approach, you can navigate this significant step calmly, converting your home equity into financial freedom and comfort for the future. 

Selling House With Mortgage FAQ'S

Yes, absolutely. Just like with a regular mortgage, you have the right to sell your house whenever you choose. When you do sell, the money from the sale will first be used to pay off the reverse mortgage, and any leftover funds are yours to keep.

No, there are no penalties if you decide to sell your home with a reverse mortgage. You can sell whenever you want without worrying about extra charges for paying off the reverse mortgage early. It’s just like selling any other home, penalty-free.

No, purchasing a home doesn’t take longer because of that. The process of buying the home is the same as buying any other house. The seller’s reverse mortgage will be paid off with the sale, but this doesn’t usually add any extra time to the home buying process.

No, a reverse mortgage is not transferable to a buyer. The buyer will get the house free of the reverse mortgage and will arrange their own financing if needed.

Yes, it’s important to let the lender know about your plans because they’ll provide you with the necessary information on paying off your reverse mortgage during the sale.

Selling your house with a reverse mortgage to us is straightforward and efficient. Initially, we’ll present you with a cash offer for your property. Once you accept, we take care of the bulk of the paperwork, coordinating with your lender to manage the reverse mortgage payoff. We aim to complete the purchase rapidly, often within a week, ensuring you receive the remaining cash from the sale quickly. This method offers a swift and hassle-free alternative to the traditional home-selling process, making it easier for you to move forward with your plans and your life.

Shavi A
Shavi A
I have to say this company exceeded my expectations in every aspect. What stood out for me was their commitment to a hassle-free home-selling experience. The absence of agent fees, inspections, and repairs made a significant difference, both in terms of time and money. The process was quick, and I received immediate cash for my home. Their local expertise was evident, and they handled my unique situation with flexibility and understanding. Selling with them was a wise choice, and I can confidently recommend their services.
Pam Weingarten
Pam Weingarten
Eugene was a pleasure to work with during this stressful process. He was very clear on home value and what could be offered. While I did not complete the sale with Eugene due to other circumstances, the whole process was seamless and easy. I would highly recommend Eugene for anyone considering selling their home as is or in need of a quick move.
Jamie Angus
Jamie Angus
Like many customers, I don’t really leave reviews. If I enjoyed their service, I’ll keep that in mind when I refer them to friends or other people I know. Eugene and his team really exceeded my expectations. They broke down what it took to sell my Bay Area house quickly and made me a deal I was beyond comfortable with when it came to moving to another location. I would highly recommend Eugene and his team for anyone or their family when looking for a great cash deal for their home.
Whenever I refer clients to Eugene of We Buy Houses in the Bay Area they always give me a call after working with him and they always have something positive to say. I can see how hard he works to make sure that his clients are completely satisfied. He has helped so many people escape some terrible situations and they love him for it. I will continue to work alongside him and make sure to send clients his way within the Bay Area, it is the least that he deserves 🙂
Ben Brown
Ben Brown
If you’re looking to sell your home without the stress of realtors and inspections, call Eugene Romberg. He was ethical in his approach and impressed me with how professional he was. Don’t delay, call Eugene and he will help you like how he has helped me and my family.
I was very impressed with the work that Eugene did for my home. He isn’t pushy and I actually liked how he educated me through the whole process. Unlike other home buyers, Eugene actually wants you to talk to a realtor and have multiple options ready. I was 100% percent comfortable with working with him.
Eugene and his team created an amazing experience for me and my family. He was totally honest and made sure we understood every step of his process. I am more than thankful to work with him to sell my Bay Area home.
Jose Gutierrez
Jose Gutierrez
Eugene really helped with the renovation process of our former home, not only that but he gave me a great cash offer on my house in San Jose.