Agent

Home equity loan not best for elderly homeowner

Roof repairs, lifetime income easily handled by reverse mortgage

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DEAR BOB: My elderly dad lives in his home alone. He refuses to sell although he owns the $700,000 house free and clear. He could live like a king in a luxury rental apartment, but he refuses to move. The house needs repairs, especially a new roof. His banker suggests a home equity loan. But I question whether that is a smart idea because he has a very limited income from Social Security, stock dividends, and a small pension. He usually listens to me so what should I recommend? --Kathy R. DEAR KATHY: The banker wants to "sell" a home equity loan because he gets a commission, whereas the local bank probably doesn't make senior-citizen reverse mortgages. Did the banker even mention that alternative? I bet not. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Your dad is "house rich but cash poor." A reverse mortgage can provide him with the money needed for a new roof and other expenses he might have. He will have the choice of a lump sum, lifetime monthly income, a credit line (except in Texas),...