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retirement communities retire

 

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"Maps are a way of organizing wonder." ~Peter Steinhart

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Today's Community Review:

October 27, 2021

Cecil Pines, Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is on the northeastern Florida coast and is the location of Cecil Pines, a quiet, gated 55+ community on the site of an old Navy air base. Single family homes and duplexes are for lease, and tall, moss-draped trees pepper the grounds.

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Palm Desert Greens, Palm Desert, California

Palm Desert is sheltered by mountains in south central California and is the site of Palm Desert Greens, a large, established 55+ manufactured home community with pastel-colored properties, golf course views, three swimming pools, a restaurant, tennis courts, more than 50 activity clubs and more.

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Retiring with a Mortgage?

Most financial advisors will tell you to pay down your mortgage before you retire. The reason for this is that since your income is most likely to decline during retirement, it makes sense that your monthly expenses also decline.

Yet more retirees are carrying mortgages than ever before. This is because people are buying houses later in life and then refinacing to tap into their equity, which usually extends the lenghth of a loan.

Nearly 50% of people age 65 to 79 have a mortgage, with a median balance of $77,000. Twenty-five percent of people age 80 or better also carry mortgage.

There are two potential downsides to carrying mortgage debt during retirement. One, if you find that you can't make your payments and your home is foreclosed, then you have less time to recover from the loss.

Two, if you have to pull from your retirement accounts to make your mortgage payment, that can leave you short on cash if an emergency arises. And it is not as easy at age 70 to pick up a job to help with mortgage payments as it is at age 35. Retirement account withdrawls can also trigger more taxes.

If you are going to have mortgage payments during retirement and are worried about them stretching you too thin, then you might consider refinancing the debt with a 30 year loan before you retire. Doing so can get your monthly payments down to a manageable level.

You might also consider a reverse mortgage if you have a good amount of equity in your home. This type of loan lets you stay in your home without a monthly payment and lets you tap into your equity, providing you with a lump sum payment or monthly cash payments.

If you are retiring with a mortgage, you are not alone. But not having one or refinancing the debt to lower your payments can make retirement a little easier.

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How to Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage

All borrowers must be at least 62 years old. The older you are, the more funds you can receive from a reverse mortgage.

You must live in your home as your primary residence for the length of the reverse mortgage. You must own your home outright or have at least 50% equity.

You must meet with a HUD-approved reverse mortgage counselor prior to applying for a reverse mortgage to learn exactly how a reverse mortgage works and how much it costs (fees, etc.). The counseling session is to ensure that the borrow completely understands how a reverse mortgage works.

Single family homes, manufactured homes built after 1976, condominiums that are FHA-approved and town homes are all eligible for a reverse mortgage.

You must show the financial ability to meet your loan obligations, including paying property taxes, insurance and HOA fees if applicable. You must also maintain the home.

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Best Mortgage Lenders

Homeowners approaching retirement often have enough equity to sell their current home and buy a less expensive one outright. Some people, though, want to keep the cash from their home sale and finance a new home, while others might need a small or short-term mortgage to cover the gap between their available cash and a home's purchase price. If you do need a mortgage, it is important to choose the right one. Here are three of the best lenders.

Better Mortgage - According to Nerd Wallet, this mortgage company charges no commission fees and has no application, underwriting or origination fees. They also close most loans within 21 days, two times faster than the national average.

Quicken Loans - This mortgage company has a five star rating in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study and an A+ rating with the BBB. Quicken Loans has processed more than two million mortgages.

Vylla Loan - This mortgage lender has multiple loan programs for people with less than steller credit and considers alternative credit data, such as bank statements and rent payments.

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