For many approaching retirement age, there comes a time when it makes sense to sell the family home and downsize. But for some, downsizing is more like “rightsizing,” and the search for a new home becomes a search for a dream home.
Nearly half of Baby Boomers are still seeking their dream home, according to a report by The Demand Institute, which reported that 46% of those surveyed planned to increase the size of their home or spend more on their next home.
For one reverse mortgage originator, this sounds familiar.
Julie Didyoung of Reverse Mortgage Funding works with builders to help homebuyers finance with the HECM for Purchase. Using this loan, borrowers age 62 and older can purchase a primary residence and obtain a reverse mortgage in a single transaction with one set of closing costs, effectively moving into a new home without incurring a monthly mortgage payment.
“People often aren’t downsizing. Some of them are getting more square footage,” she said. “Whether they downsize or not, they all want the brand-new amenities and a low-maintenance lifestyle.”
Didyoung said that’s one reason why she has found success working with builders.
“The HECM for Purchase has really picked up for people who want the custom builds in 55-plus communities,” she said. “The H4P gives people want more buying power and they’re tired of house maintenance.”
Didyoung works with seven builders across Pennsylvania and Delaware, mostly those who are trying to sell single-family homes or planned-unit developments in 55-plus communities. She said 90% of her business now comes from builders, but it took her three years to gain any real traction.
“In years past, when I didn’t have a name in this business, I’d be picking up the phone trying to get meetings with builders and they were not returning my calls,” she said. “Now, they’re calling me and asking how the product works.”
What changed? Didyoung said once word spread that other builders in the area were closing more deals because they offered this unique financing option, their competitors wanted more info.
“Like anything else, it’s word of mouth,” she said. “It’s driven by the need to compete. Builders want to sell more homes and if HECM for Purchase can make that happen, then they encourage consumers to learn more.”
Traditions of America, a builder of 55-plus resort-style communities in Pennsylvania, is one of the builders that works with Didyoung. Its vice president of marketing, Jay Goldberg, said 10% of all the homes Traditions of America has sold in the past seven years involved a HECM for Purchase.
“This program allows us to offer a diversity of financing in addition to our preferred lenders,” Goldberg said. “It’s enabled us to sell more homes, no question about it.”
“It’s such a valuable source of financing for buyers who think they can’t afford to live the lifestyle in one of these 55-plus communities,” he added. “I suspect more people would take advantage of it if they knew about it.”
Goldberg said the loan is unconventional, but also powerful.
“It’s all about education,” he said. “If more builders understood it, I know they would engage someone to handle it for them and include it in their offering.”