Aging In Place

1/25/2024 | By Sandra Block

Do you want to stay in the home you’re in for a long time to come? Read about how some seniors are aging in place with a reverse mortgage.

For all the talk of downsizing in retirement, a significant number of retirees don’t want to go anywhere. A 2021 survey by AARP found that about three-fourths of adults over 50 want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.

That’s not surprising: Many retirees have deep ties to their communities and want to provide room for their children and grandchildren when they come to visit.

Even if you opt to age in place, there are ways to financially benefit from your house without selling it. You can tap your home equity by taking out a home equity line of credit, a home equity loan or a reverse mortgage. At a time when interest rates on home equity lines of credit and loans average around 9%, a reverse mortgage may be a more appealing option for retirees.

With a reverse mortgage, you can convert your home equity into a lump sum, monthly payments or a line of credit. You don’t have to make principal or interest payments on the loan for as long as you remain in the home.

To be eligible for a government-insured reverse mortgage called a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), you must be at least 62 years old and have at least 50% equity in your home, and the home must be your primary residence. The maximum payout for which you’ll qualify depends on your age (the older you are, the more you’ll be eligible to borrow), interest rates and the appraised value of your home. In 2024, the maximum you can borrow is $1,149,825.

Senior couple dancing at home, illustrating joy from aging in place with a reverse mortgage

There’s no restriction on how homeowners must spend funds from a reverse mortgage, so you can use the money for a variety of purposes, including making your home more accessible, generating additional retirement income or paying for long-term care. You can estimate the value of a reverse mortgage on your home at

Upfront costs for a reverse mortgage are high, including up to $6,000 in fees to the lender, 2% of the mortgage amount for mortgage insurance, and other fees. You can roll these costs into the loan, but that will reduce your proceeds. For that reason, if you’re considering a move within the next five years, it’s usually not a good idea to take out a reverse mortgage.

Another drawback: When interest rates rise, the amount of money available from a reverse mortgage declines. Unless you need the money now, it may make sense to postpone taking out a reverse mortgage until the Federal Reserve cuts short-term interest rates, which is unlikely to happen until late 2024 (unless the economy falls into recession before that).

Even if interest rates decline, they aren’t expected to return to the rock-bottom levels seen over the past 15 years, according to a forecast by The Kiplinger Letter. And with inflation still a concern, big rate cuts such as those seen in response to recessions and financial crises over the past two decades are unlikely.

Robert Frick is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit

©2024 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Similar to aging in place with a reverse mortgage:

Retirees Using a Reverse Mortgage for Income

Sandra Block

Sandra Block is a senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. For more on this and similar money topics, visit