Reverse mortgages (HECM Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) provide retired borrowers receiving social security a mortgage option that uses the equity in their home to pay them each month without requiring a mortgage payment. FHA controls and insures this complicated program. FHA guarantees borrowers will never face foreclosure or be required to make any mortgage payments. FHA structures these loans so the homeowner can receive equity payments each month, or have a line of credit available. Reverse mortgage counselors must a meet a series of HUD requirements prior to advising potential homeowners of this program.
How to be an Approved HECM Counselor
Attend an FHA approved training course related to HECM counseling in the past two years. Eligibility requires successfully completing at least one training course in the past two years. FHA's website maintains a list of training sites (see Resources).
Pass the national HECM Counseling exam. FHA has partnered with the Neighborworks center for homeowner education and counseling to administer the exam. Applicants can register study and take the exam online (see Resources). As of June 2010, the exam fee is $100.
Obtain employment with a HUD approved housing counseling agency. All counselors must work for a HUD approved company.Visit HUD's website for a list of HECM counseling agencies (see Resources).
Once you become a counselor HUD requires continuing education and passing the HECM exam every two years.
Applicants who are on any of the following lists are not eligible to be HECM counselors: General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), HUD’s Limited Denial of Participation List (LPD), or HUD’s Credit Alert Interactive Voice Response System (CAIVRS).