HUD raises costs on reverse mortgages

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it was raising the premiums for most reverse mortgages and lowering the maximum amount that can be borrowed in an effort to stem the tide of losses to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance fund.

FHA’s overseer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said the reverse mortgage program has been a big net loser for the insurance fund over the years, and is perilously close to needing a bailout from taxpayers. Effective Oct. 2, it was restructuring the annual premiums and lowering the principal limit factor, which determines how much a person can borrow.

HUD officials said the change will result in a net increase in costs for most borrowers, and could potentially reduce the initial volume of reverse mortgages by 10 to 20 percent annually. The upfront premium will be increased to 2 percent. Currently, the upfront charge is either 0.5 percent or 2.5 percent, depending on how much is drawn in the first year. The annual premium will be reduced to 0.5 percent from 1.25 percent.

Also the maximum loan limits will be reduced.

Reverse mortgages, which are formally known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs) can be taken as a lump sum, line of credit or through monthly payments. HUD officials presented the theoretical case of a 62-year-old borrower, with a reverse mortgage at 5 percent. For each $100,000 in home equity, the borrower will now be allowed to borrow $41,000, which is down from $52,400.

Reverse mortgages, which represent a fraction of the overall FHA loan guarantees (there were fewer than 50,000 in fiscal 2016], have been a source of volatility for the insurance fund. Borrowers are projected to incur more losses in future years than they pay in premiums. HUD said the program has already resulted in a net cost of $11.7 billion to the FHA MMI fund since fiscal 2009. The economic value of the program at the end of the last fiscal year was estimated at negative $7.7 billion, the agency said. This number has bounced around, however. In fiscal 2015, by contrast, the HECM program was valued at a positive $7.4 billion.

A drag on the MMI fund
HUD officials say that the program is being propped up by the premium payments of younger borrowers of traditional forward mortgages. Reverse mortgages are a reason that HUD has not been able to lower the premiums on a traditional FHA loan. In a fact sheet distributed to reporters, HUD said that if it didn’t make the changes, it “would require an appropriation from Congress for FHA to endorse new reverse mortgages in FY 2018.”

The overall value of the insurance fund in fiscal 2016 was at at healthy $27.6 billion. The MMI’s capital ratio also increased to 2.32 percent, which is above the 2 percent minimum established by Congress. The fund has required only one bailout in its history, a $1.7 billion appropriation from the U.S. Treasury in fiscal 2013. This cash infusion was largely due to HECM losses, HUD said.

“Today, younger, lower-income homeowners with traditional FHA-insured ‘forward mortgages’ are routinely bailing out the HECM program through the mortgage insurance premiums they pay, placing a significant burden on the overall health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund,” the fact sheet said. “We can no longer tolerate putting American taxpayers and future generations of seniors at risk. Quite simply, the HECM program is losing money and can no longer remain viable in its present form.”

FHA insures almost all reverse mortgages, which are available to homeowners 62 and over. With a reverse mortgage, a homeowner can borrow against the value of a home. The loan doesn’t have to be repaid so long as the borrower remains in the home. A reverse mortgage carries fees, interest, and the borrower is required to pay property taxes and maintain the home.

The terms of a reverse mortgage depend on the amount of equity in the home, and the age of the borrower. Generally speaking, the younger the borrower, the less that can be borrowed and the higher the loan cost. The actual maximum loan limits are based on tables that factor in age and equity.

The reaction to HUD’s move was mixed.

The nation’s largest mortgage trade group, the Mortgage Bankers Association, praised the move as a way for the program to remain financially viable.

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) said the changes will increase the costs and reduce the benefits for most borrowers.

“We believe that there are alternative options for better managing the HECM program to reduce its overall costs and will continue to advocate for such beneficial changes to the program,” NRMLA President Peter Bell said. Bell did note that HUD’s action showed a commitment to the program and also to stabilizing the insurance fund and avoiding Treasury draws.

This story is excerpted from ScotsmanGuide.com.

Join Me to Support a Community Gem: The Rianda House

READY. SET. GIVE!

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, it is a perfect time for our Rianda House fundraiser, Rally4Rianda. This month, in particular, we take the opportunity to thank and recognize the enormous contributions our seniors have made to our nation — they’ve made it stronger through their experience, knowledge, and willingness to share with others. We are blessed to have them and to be able to learn from their wisdom.

I invite you to support the Rianda House with me. I firmly believe that taking care of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations is a core part of building our community. A donation of any size will help bring life to older adults right here at home.

Rianda House provides physical, social, and cultural activities and services for seniors that improve their lives. Last year, 876 older adults, ranging from 50 to 100 years young, participated in the Rianda House’s classes and activities, including:
•    Fit for Life exercise classes to maintain balance and strength.
•    Care Giver support groups and resources.
•    Life Long Learning, including art, current events, and brain-fitness classes.
•    Satellite health and wellness programming in Calistoga.
Consider giving this year through their Online Giving Campaign, which runs through May. Any size donation makes a difference and is 100% tax deductible.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of others.  When you tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  — Sophia Loren

CLASSIC CARS | ART SHOW | CELEBRATION, SUNDAY, MAY 21

The highlight of the campaign is the 3rd Annual Rally4Rianda Classic Car & Art Show & Community Celebration.

Things get rolling with a “Cavalcade of Classic Cars” that starts at the Calistoga Gliderport at 10:30 am and proceeds south on Highway 29 to Tre Posti in St. Helena.

It’ll be a festive afternoon filled with beautiful classic, luxury, and concept cars; art; food; wine; Mad Fritz craft beer; and lively music by the St. Helena Community Band.

Sunday, May 21st | 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Tre Posti Event Garden
641 Main St., St. Helena

Admission is $5.00

Thank you for considering joining with me to support one of our community’s finest gems: the Rianda House.

 

—Cynthia Kee

‘Tis the season to appreciate

Happy Holidays!
I just heard a lovely and touching song, “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace” which reminds me of the human phenomena that inspires us during the holiday season. We have an opportunity to dig a little bit deeper and try a little bit harder to just be kind to one another. Parties, perfectly wrapped presents, and bright shiny lights are exciting and celebratory, but to be kind, is simply one of the best gifts of all. The lyrics are about seeking to understand each other rather than be understood, to console rather than be consoled, to forgive rather than be forgiven, and from the bottom of our over flowing and grateful hearts, to share and show love. What a beautiful sentiment.

Housing decisions in retirement — should I stay or should I go?

I’m happy to announce the release of Dr. Wade Pfau’s book on Reverse Mortgages:
How to use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement. Dr Wade Pfau holds a doctorate in Economics from Princeton University, and is currently a professor of Retirement Income in the PHD program at The American College of Financial Services. “A rare, unbiased analysis of how reverse mortgages can fit into a prudent regiment income plan form one of the nations leading researchers. Both consumers and financial advisers can benefit form a fresh look at this often-dismissed option” Mary Beth Franklin, nationally recognized expert in Social Security Strategies. If you or anyone you know is interested in reading this book, it would be my pleasure to send a complimentary copy to you.

Buy a Home with a Reverse Mortgage
By Rachel L Sheedy, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report

Most seniors take out a reverse mortgage to help them stay in their existing home as they get older. But Myra Simmons, 67, took advantage of a little-known product: She used a reverse mortgage to finance a new home.

Myra’s 83-year-old husband, Billy, was having trouble using the stairs in their two-story townhome in Fort Meyers, FL. The couple sold their home and used a ‘reverse mortgage for purchase’ to move into a one-story house nearby. “Now, I take what would have been my mortgage payment and put it in savings,” says Myra, who works for the local county sheriff’s office.

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase was created by Congress four years ago to streamline home-buying transactions and cut costs, says Peter Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. Before, seniors would buy a new home, incurring closing costs, and then take out a reverse mortgage on the new home, triggering new closing costs. The HECM for Purchase rolls this into one transaction and one set of closing costs.

For there to be equity to cover the accrued interest, the HECM for Purchase requires that you pay about half of the home’s sales price with your own cash. The reverse mortgage picks up the difference. “Essentially, the money you’re putting in is your equity,” says Ted George a certified financial planner in Scotts Valley, CA.

To pay your half, you can use money from savings, the sale of your other house, or a gift from a family member. But the money cannot be borrowed.

Reframe the Game
By Amara Rose, HECM World
Retirement. It’s no longer a “retreat” from life (if it ever was). As we’ve explored multiple times, people are retiring later or downshifting from full time to part time employment, or moving into a consulting role or some other line of work, rather than simply leaving the job market altogether. And those who do fully retire from the work world are still fully engaged in life — sometimes so busy they wonder how they ever fit a job into their day.

Here are some suggestions gleaned from a retirement workshop for how we might reframe “retirement.” Ideas take their inspiration from sports, advertising, and plain old ingenuity.

Reverse mortgage professionals who enjoy creativity, consider these concepts:

• Act 2
• Between Jobs
• Bonus Years
• Continuum
• Creative Aging
• Downshifting
• Encore
• Field of Possibilities
• Growing Bolder
• Inspirement
• Life 2.0
• Living More
• My Time
• Next Chapter
• Next Stage
• Post-grads
• Prime Time
• Protirement
(it’s not for beginners!)
• Rebalancing
• Re-engagement
• Refirement
• Regeneration
• Repotting (in new soil)
• Retreads
• Rewirement
• Sage-ing
• Seasoned
• Success to Significance
• The Creative Age
• The Gifted Years
• Third Half
• Third Quarter
• Unstoppable

‘Tis the season to appreciate.
It has been such a great pleasure for me to associate with each and every one of you this year. Though many changes have taken place by way of HUD/FHA updates to policies, a reverse mortgage still remains a viable financial program with great benefits.

A deep and heartfelt thank you to all of the patient and understanding clients who went through these challenges with us. It is my sincere joy to be involved in this process with you and to witness first hand, the increase in quality of life and peace of mind that the program brings to so many. I’m looking forward to serving you in 2017.

Thank you…

—Cynthia Kee

Ways to use a reverse mortgage

Nine surprising ways to use a reverse mortgage
By Mary Beth Franklin, Investment News

Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 or older who own their home outright or who have a small mortgage balance to convert the equity in their primary residence into a liquid, tax-free asset. Borrowers can take their money in a lump sum or as a monthly payment, or set up a line of credit. Interest accrues on borrowed funds. Unused lines of credit continue to grow at the same compounded interest rate as the cost of money.

Financial advisers who dismissed reverse mortgages in the past may want to take a second look. Consumer protections have increased and set-up fees have been dramatically reduced. Leading researchers believe reverse mortgages could solve some of the income challenges of retirees who saved too little to finance a retirement that could last decades. Click through to find out the various ways to use a reverse mortgage — some of them may surprise you.

1. Pay off an existing mortgage
Using a lump sum from a reverse mortgage to pay off a traditional mortgage balance instantly increases a retiree’s monthly cash flow and reduces portfolio withdrawal needs. “It really improves the odds for retirement success to not carry a mortgage into retirement,” said Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at The American College of Financial Services.

2. Replace a home equity line of credit
Unlike a HELOC, a reverse mortgage can never be reduced, frozen or cancelled, and there are no monthly loan repayment requirements. A reverse mortgage is not due until the borrowers sell the home, move out permanently or die. The estate or heirs can never owe more than the house is worth, even if it is less than the amount borrowed.

3. Protect your portfolio
“Should your portfolio decline significantly in value, borrow from the line of credit for your needs, then repay the loan when your portfolio recovers,” said John Salter, associate professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University. Interest payments are tax-deductible if retirees itemize their deductions on their income tax returns.

4. Fund future long-term care or income needs
A 62-year-old couple with no long-term-care insurance may want to set up a reverse mortgage line of credit. With a home worth $625,000, their initial line of credit at current interest rates would be worth $327,375, according to Tom Dickson, founder of the Financial Experts Network. Left untouched, the equity line would be worth $613,365 in 10 years and $1,149,143 in 20 years, said Mr. Dickson, a co-designer of the reverse mortgage modeling now part of MoneyGuidePro. The couple could tap the loan for future long-term care costs, as long as they remained in their home, or to serve as a deferred annuity if they needed additional income in the future.

5. Create a Social Security bridge
Supplement income with monthly payments from a reverse mortgage either for a set number of years (term) or for as long as you live in your home (tenure). Term payments can provide an income bridge to allow a retiree to delay claiming Social Security until benefits are worth the maximum amount at age 70, said Shelley Giordano, author of “What’s the Deal with Reserve Mortgages?” (People Tested Media, 2015).

6. Manage taxes
Proceeds from a reverse mortgage are tax-free. Tapping a reverse mortgage can decrease withdrawals from taxable retirement accounts, reducing income taxes and the amount of Social Security benefits subject to income taxes. For higher-income retirees, tax-free reverse mortgage payments can reduce their modified adjusted gross income that can trigger higher monthly Medicare premiums.

7. Pay Roth conversion taxes
Sometimes the only thing preventing a retiree from converting a traditional retirement account to a Roth IRA is the amount of income taxes owed on the converted amount. Tax-free proceeds from a reverse mortgage can pay Roth conversion taxes all at once or over several years, reducing future income taxes and possibly reducing future Medicare premiums.

8. Buy a new home
A reverse mortgage can be used to purchase a new home. Rather than using all of the proceeds from a home sale, downsizers can use some of the sale profits and take out a reverse mortgage to make up the balance, resulting in a new home without monthly payments and additional cash to add to savings for future needs or to supplement current income.

9. Gray divorce strategy
Older couples can use a reverse mortgage to divide a marital housing asset in a divorce. In one scenario, the spouse remaining in the home can take a lump sum distribution from a reverse mortgage to buy out the other spouse. In a second scenario, the marital home can be sold and each ex-spouse can use some of the proceeds from the home sale and each of them can get a reverse mortgage to buy their respective new homes, according to Shelley Giordano, chair of the reverse mortgage industry’s Funding Longevity Task Force.

9th Annual Turkey Trot

I invite you to join the Claremont Sunrise Rotary in giving back to the community with an enjoyable and family-oriented 5K run on Thursday, November 24 for their annual Turkey Trot. The event has become a regional event drawing participants from all over Southern California. Using individual chip timing, each participant’s time is accurately measured regardless of where they are in the starting pack. With funds raised from the race, the club has provided over 800 local youth sports scholarships, and support other service activities.

Find out how you can participate!
claremont-ca-rotary

Summer resources for you…

CKee_photo_200x200Dear Friends, Colleagues and Neighbors,

You’re not a number, you’re family to me.  I remain committed to helping you achieve your financial goals. Being able to sit and visit with you face to face allows me a deep understanding of what is important to you, and better helps me assist you in navigating through the reverse mortgage process.

A heartfelt thank you to each one of you who have so graciously allowed me to walk through the process of your loan with you, as well as referring neighbors, friends and family my way. It is such a blessing for me to witness the exciting changes that happen in the lives of my clients due to this incredible mortgage program.

—Cynthia Kee

Grandmother with grandchildren painting with paintbrush and colorful paints


12 Steps to Happiness

From Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness

  1. Do more activities that truly engage you
  2. Savor life’s joys
  3. Learn to forgive
  4. Practice acts of kindness
  5. Nurture relationships
  6. Cultivate optimism
  7. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison
  8. Develop strategies for coping
  9. Count your blessings
  10. Strengthen your spiritual connections
  11. Commit to your goals
  12. Take care of your body


The Value of Financial Advice

By Wade Pfau

I am often asked whether it is worth the cost to hire a financial advisor. That is an excellent question with an answer that depends on many factors.

Good financial planning decisions extend well beyond where and how you invest. Two major research efforts have attempted to quantify how good financial decision-making can enhance one’s lifetime standard of living. It is important to understand what this research means, because this may not always equal a higher portfolio return in the short term. The research identifies how good financial management can enhance sustainable lifetime income on a risk-adjusted basis. The ability to spend more than you could have otherwise can be interpreted as meaning that the assets earned a higher return net of taxes and fees to make that spending possible.

In the field of finance, achieving “alpha” means earning more money than expected. This generally is achieved through either timing market trends correctly or picking winning individual securities.

In practice, it is very difficult to achieve alpha from market timing and security selection, which explains the rise of indexing. Low cost index funds generally perform better than the majority of actively managed funds seeking alpha, at least after accounting for management fees. After fees, alpha is often negative for actively managed funds. Those who understand this point can dramatically simplify their portfolio by filling it with well-diversified low-cost index funds. Financial advisors who only focus on selecting investments will really struggle to add value.

The value of financial advice

 

Reverse Mortgages — a Potential Tool for Financial Professionals and their Clients
By Shannon Hicks

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the typical married couple entering retirement has $92,000 in non-equity assets and $192,000 in home equity. With that in mind does it really make sense to advise a client to sell securities in a down market to maintain their retirement cash flow without mentioning home equity?

In Jamie Hopkin’s recent article in Investment News Hopkins says, “Far too many financial advisers overlook home equity as part of a retirement income plan. With heightened regulatory concerns about doing what is in the best interest of the client, it would be prudent to explore and discuss home equity strategies with clients.”

Consider a client over age 62 with $300,000 in home equity. If the market is down 25% is it truly in the client’s best interest to sell stocks at a loss without at least considering what may be their largest asset?

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), better known as the reverse mortgage, is an FHA-insured mortgage for homeowners 62 or older which allows them to access a portion of the equity in their home without requiring monthly mortgage payments.

One strategy is the standby reverse mortgage. This approach allows the homeowner to secure a HECM line of credit. This credit line is unique in that the unused portion grows each year, no payments are required and the credit line cannot be frozen or reduced if housing values were to fall as long as the borrower meets the ongoing obligations of the loan.

Utilizing the standby reverse strategy one could access a portion of the HECM line of credit to meet income needs in years when the market is down allowing the portfolio to recover. A great way to overcome sequence of returns risk. Several Monte Carlo simulations have shown this approach to substantially increase the longevity of the portfolio and sustainable withdrawals.

Curious?
Reverse mortgages can be a viable option for many senior homeowners seeking to make changes in their lives they may not have thought possible. Is a Government Regulated Reverse Mortgage right for you? Get the facts. I welcome the opportunity to help demystify the process and share my knowledge and expertise with you. Feel free to call me at 707-812-2102 for your complimentary personal assessment.

When you refer a family member or friend who funds a reverse mortgage with me, I will donate $250 in your name to a charity of your choice.

 

 

Springtime Appreciation

This cartoon is a fun play on the reverse mortgage process, but I bet we can all agree that at times, it seems like things move in the opposite direction. Even though the Government continues to add bits and pieces to the process, I still believe it’s a wonderful and viable resource for so many seniors. I appreciate the amazing ways that this product has changed your lives for the better. It is truly gratifying for me to hear the stories of success and impact.

reverse-mortgage-cartoon

It is honor and sincere privilege for me to advise and guide you through the process of a reverse mortgage.
Blessings to all….

—Cynthia Kee

CKee_photo_200x200Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

Reverse mortgages can be a viable option for many senior homeowners seeking to make changes in their lives they may not have thought possible. Is a Government Regulated Reverse Mortgage right for you? Get the facts. I welcome the opportunity to help demystify the process and share my knowledge and expertise with you. Feel free to call me for your complimentary personal assessment.

When you refer a family member or friend who funds a reverse mortgage with me, I will donate $250 in your name to a charity of your choice.

Spring Safety Tips For Seniors
Springtime is not just for deep cleaning the house. It is also the perfect time to perform a complete safety review of your home.

check-smoke-detectors
Alarms
In conjunction with your spring cleanup, it is a good idea to change the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Test the operation of each alarm and ensure that fire extinguishers are within reach and ready to operate.

Furniture A thorough walk-through of the house once a year can uncover any furniture that is becoming unsafe. If it is not sturdy enough for use, make sure it is repaired or removed. Don’t forget about outdoor furniture.

check-medical-alertsMedical Alerts Many seniors have medical alert jewelry or an emergency button to keep with them. Now is the time to check to make sure that the information is accurate. If something has been lost or new medical information makes an alert necessary, order the identification you need.

Emergency Plan Reviewing an emergency safety plan each year to keep it fresh in mind. Review escape routes in case of fire and who to call when emergencies occur. Display a contact list near the telephone.

Flooring Check the flooring and floor covers throughout the house to ensure that tripping hazards have not developed. A minor area of damage or unleveled floor could cause a serious fall if it is not taken care of.

seniors-check-railings-in-home
Railings
Secure railings are a must in the homes of seniors. As we age, we depend more and more upon the security that a sturdy railing provides as we go up and down stairs. If your a railings are wobbley, have it properly secured so that it does not become loose. Also review other areas where you may require a railing or grab bar and have them installed — in the bathroom for instance.

Medication Expired medication can be ineffective or unsafe if consumed. At least one time each year, you should review and discard the unnecessary or expired medicines filling your cabinet. Less clutter will be less confusing when it comes to deciding what you need to take in an emergency. This is also a great time to update medication and doctor lists so that you have a comprehensive and convenient medical file on hand.

enjoy-time-friends-family

Enjoying Aging in Peace
Here are some ideas you may wish to share with other family members, as well as with other elders in your life.

Start or join a support group or ‘intentional family.’ Aging alone can be challenging, and the number of seniors minus any kind of support is mushrooming as the Boomers enter their elder years.
take up art

Have conversations with your younger self. Remember what used to light you up, or areas of life you always longed to explore but never did. (Painting class? Walking club?) Now might be the perfect time to revisit these intentions.

Reframe aging as an adventure, and journal about it as you would a trip to a foreign country.

Read uplifting memoirs of people who’ve been there, such as Greedy for Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude or The Measure of My Days, by Dr. Florida Scott-Maxwell. The second book is a timeless testament to the issues we face throughout our lives, such as how to maintain individuality in a mass society, and how to emerge out of suffering, loss, and limitation, with something approaching wisdom.

Embrace your role as an elder. When our parents and those of their generation die, we have an opportunity to redefine relationships within the family. Now, as a senior, you have the freedom to serve as the voice of wisdom where you live, whether that means a major city, a nuclear family, or a retirement living community.

Absorb the virtues of inspirational loved ones who have died, and allow the memory of your beloved departed to remind you that you’re still ALIVE.

Live in the now. Five simple rules for happiness that any senior (or younger person) can embrace if they choose: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.

Give back. Think you’re too old to serve others? A 105-year-old nun is still a font of encouragement to prison inmates. Her dedication to helping others may be one reason she’s lived so long. Instead of focusing on death, or her infirmities as a centenarian, she continues to enrich the world with love and outreach.

–Amara Rose

 

 

When to Consult the Experts

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating, especially because seniors themselves are often loath to admit they’re growing older: there are certain situations where it’s wise to get expert guidance before a reverse mortgage client or prospect may actually need it. Here are four areas where seniors should consider reaching out for advice in advance.

Read more

Spring Green Risotto Recipe

Just in time for spring. Pairs nicely with a crisp Italian white such as Soave, Insolia or Falaghina.

Read more

Wise Reverse Mortgages Can Be a Saving Grace for Retirees

Aging in place. It’s a relatively new term for a very old concept: remaining in your own home as you grow older. Once upon a time, this wasn’t an issue. Extended families ensured that someone would be available to look after Grandma or Grandpa should the time come when they needed assistance.

Read more

‘Tis the Season to Appreciate – Fall/Winter 2015 Newsletter

The days have grown shorter and winter’s chill is now upon us, and our focus has shifted from sunny vacations and backyard bbq’s to comfort food, a crackling fire, family and home. With the holidays just around the corner we are hoping you will enjoy the tips on winterizing your homes as well as the article on safety tips when leaving home, should you be traveling.

This season gives me pause to take an inventory of my own personal world and make my gratitude list. I am profoundly grateful for all of my loyal and ever supportive business associate, clients and friends. I am grateful for 39 years of successfully helping others to find alternatives for a better quality of life. I appreciate each and every one of you and how you bless my life. Thank you from the bottom of my full and grateful heart.
—Cynthia Kee

CKee_photo_200x200

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others — Marcus Tullius Cicero

Thank you to those of you who attended one of my recent Open Forums. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the ideas shared, and walked away with new knowledge about reverse mortgage opportunities. I enjoyed meeting you and answering your questions as well.

Would you like to know more? Is a Government Regulated Reverse Mortgage right for you?

Get the facts. Whether you joined me for an Open Forum or not, I welcome the chance to help you learn about the process and opportunities. Feel free to call me for your complimentary personal assessment.

cynthia-kee-get-ready-for-winter

Get Ready for Winter — Home Exterior Check List

Keeping Up Appearances
Hiring a holiday decorating service can spruce up your home with a custom look that will set it apart. It also saves you time and eliminates DIY risks, like ladder falls. Be sure you book early, though.

Clean Chimneys and Fireplaces
Have a pro clean your chimney at least once every two years to prevent buildup of creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire that can spread quickly. Average cost of a chimney sweep and inspection is $178.

Clean the Gutters
Now that the leaves have mostly dropped, clear your gutters to prevent clogs, which can send water pouring over the top and eroding the ground below.

Check the Roof
Make sure it’s structurally sound and isn’t missing shingles. Ensure your home’s attic is properly insulated from the rest of the house. Heat trapped in the attic can melt the now on the roof, which can lead to ice damming.

Caulk Windows
Feel a draft when you walk by the windows in your home? That extra chill can inflate energy bills. One way to keep money from whooshing out is to caulk around windows, typically done to address exterior issues. Mark Spencer, owner of Geacy Window & Door in Westfield, IN, recommends using silicone as a superior sealant to handle seasonal changes experienced in most homes. He says you can apply most high-quality silicone products in wet and cold weather. Still, he adds, look at surface recommendations and application restrictions before purchasing caulk.

More Tips Online: For more great tips like these, download the 12-page guide to winter maintencence.

— courtesy Angieslist.com

cynthia-kee-leaving-town-saftey-tips

Leaving Town? Don’t let the bad guy’s know!

1. Guard the entry. Burglars target houses that appear to be a quick job. Old doors are considered easy to break. Look at your home from the perspective of a burglar, and reinforce weak areas.

2. Audit Valuables. Note where your key possessions are before you leave, so you’ll notice right away if they’re missing when you return.

3. Hold mail, paper. Place your mail on hold and put a temporary stop on the newspaper. That newsy stack on your driveway is a dead giveway.

4. Light it up. Install a timer that turns lights on and off during different times of the day. Burlars know it’s common to leave lights on, so they’ll be more wary of changing lights.

— courtesy Angieslist.com

cynthia-kee-recipe-fall-winter-newsletter

Featured Recipe

Cranberry Muffins with Walnut Crumb Topping
—Grace Parisi, Food & Wine, 2001

Ingredients

Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons water

Instructions

1. Make the Glaze: Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly grease the cups and top of a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan.

2. In a pie plate, toast the walnuts for 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant; cool. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the granulated and light brown sugars, baking powder and salt. Stir in the butter, then add the walnuts and pinch the topping mixture into clumps.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mix the yogurt with the egg and butter; stir in the dry ingredients. Toss the cranberries with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and fold into the muffin batter.

4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and cover with the crumb topping. Gently press the topping onto the muffins so it adheres. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet.

5. In a medium bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the water until smooth and barely runny. Drizzle the glaze over the warm muffins and let it set. Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.

Thank you to client Marge T. for this recipe!

 

Why Move? How a Reverse Mortgage Can Help You “Age In Place” – Part 1

Aging in place. It’s a relatively new term for a very old concept: remaining in your own home as you grow older. Once upon a time, this wasn’t an issue. Extended families ensured that someone would be available to look after Grandma or Grandpa should the time come when they needed assistance.

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Part 2 of Why Move? How a Reverse Mortgage Can Help You “Age In Place”

Over the last decade, the options for senior housing have broadened as the older population has expanded, and more attention and resources have been redirected towards elder services.

Whether you’re considering housing alternatives in the near term, or planning ahead with an eye on possible future needs, it makes good sense to become familiar with the range of senior living arrangements that are available.

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Part 3 of Why Move? How a Reverse Mortgages Can Help You “Age In Place”

Each year, more than 22,000 agencies nationwide provide home care services to over two million people, and as the population ages, these numbers will continue to grow.

Like the senior described in Why Move? How a Reverse Mortgage Can Help You “Age In Place”/Part 2 (link), who was able to return home after a serious accident because she hired a live-in attendant, a helping hand may be the deciding factor in whether you’re able to age in place — and thus, whether beginning the reverse mortgage qualifying process makes sense for you.

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