Reverse Mortgages Now Harder to Get

If you’ve thought about taking out a reverse mortgage, be aware that new rules that recently kicked in might make it harder for you to qualify. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tightened lending criteria late last month. The changes require that lenders determine whether would-be borrowers have enough income to keep up with property taxes and homeowners insurance so they don’t default on the loan and, possibly, lose their home. HUD’s Federal Housing Administration insures most reverse mortgages. …

AARP Member Leads Effort to Stop Neighbor’s Eviction

Sometimes it takes a village to help a neighbor, and retiree Robert Bennett is mighty grateful for folks in his town on the banks of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. A resident in Bennett’s Annapolis community, situated between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., recently raised $15,000 in six days through an online GoFundMe campaign to help him stay in his home. Bennett was threatened with foreclosure if he didn’t come up with $13,000 by the end of this month to pay back taxes and insurance. Read: …

Paying It Forward: Banks Give Free Homes to Wounded Vets

Julie Barcheers is on her way to becoming a first-time homeowner without having to buy a house. The 55-year-old Army veteran participates in a program by the Military Warriors Support Foundation that matches those wounded in service with houses donated by major banks. Barcheers recently received the keys to a three-bedroom house in Carriere, Miss. If she pays the annual property taxes and meets other criteria, the house will be hers in three years – free of any mortgage. “For …

AARP Sues to Protect Widowed Homeowners With Reverse Mortgages

At the time AARP took up their cause, Robert Bennett of Annapolis, Md., and Leila Joseph of Brooklyn, N.Y., had several things in common. They were older Americans. They were widowed. They were homeowners. And they both faced foreclosure and eviction on reverse mortgage loans. So when AARP won a big lawsuit on their behalf against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) several months ago, it was great news. Now, AARP Foundation Litigation has filed a class-action …

A New Voice for Homeowners?

Washington hears from interest groups that represent everything from medical specialties to cattlemen to professional wrestlers. Now there’s an organization for one of the largest constituencies in the country: homeowners. The current homeownership rate in the United States is 65 percent (down from a high of more than 69 percent in 2004), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. America’s Homeowner Alliance (AHA) is the brainchild of Phil Bracken, a former executive of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and now the chief …