If you're over the age of 55 and thinking of getting a reverse mortgage, you've likely come across CHIP reverse mortgages and their provider, HomeEquity Bank (HEB). RetireBetter is the only mortgage brokerage in Canada with a team of advisors that specializes in reverse mortgages. As such, we know all about HomeEquity Bank, the CHIP Reverse Mortgage.
In this guide, we'll share what we know about HomeEquity Bank and the CHIP reverse mortgage, including how it works, benefits and drawbacks, rates, resources, and competitors.
Who is HomeEquity Bank?
HomeEquity Bank is a federally regulated Schedule 1 Canadian bank that provides reverse mortgages to Canadian homeowners aged 55 and over. Here is a brief history of HEB:
- HomeEquity Bank was founded in 1986 as the Canadian Home Income Plan Corporation and was the first provider of reverse mortgages in Canada.
- In 2009, HomeEquity Bank became a Chartered Bank and was recognized as a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank.
- In 2012, Birch Hill Equity Partners acquired all outstanding shares of HomeEquity Bank.
- In 2013, HomeEquity Bank launched a product named Income Advantage, aimed at providing a steady stream of income during retirement.
- In 2014, HomeEquity Bank's original product, the Canadian Home Income Plan, was rebranded as the CHIP Reverse Mortgage.
- In 2022, HomeEquity Bank is purchased by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board
What is a CHIP Reverse Mortgage?
A CHIP reverse mortgage is a type of reverse mortgage product offered by HEB. The Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP) has been the flagship reverse mortgage product offered by HEB for almost 30 years. However, it's important to note that "CHIP reverse mortgage" is just a brand name, and HEB is not the only provider of reverse mortgages in Canada.
What is a Reverse Mortgage?
We’ve written a fair bit about reverse mortgages and you can visit our learning centre to learn more about the world of reverse mortgages. Without losing our focus on HEB and the CHIP reverse mortgages, let’s quickly explain what a reverse mortgage is.
A reverse mortgage is a type of loan that allows homeowners 55 years and older to access the equity in their homes without having to sell or move out. Unlike traditional mortgages, there are no monthly payments required, and the loan is only repaid when the borrower sells the home or passes away. The loan amount is based on the value of the home, the home type, the borrower's age, and the interest rate.
How Does a CHIP Reverse Mortgage Work?
The borrower can receive up to 55% of the home's appraised value in a lump sum or regular payments. The loan is secured by the equity in the home, and interest is charged on the loan amount. The borrower can choose to make interest payments or allow the interest to accumulate and be added to the loan balance.
Overall, the CHIP reverse mortgage, and reverse mortgages in general, are very similar to a traditional mortgage:
- It is registered against your home.
- It has a loan term and interest rate calculator.
- You can pay off the mortgage early or renew.
- You must pay it off when you sell your home.
How Do You Get a CHIP Reverse Mortgage?
The application process for a CHIP reverse mortgage is straightforward. The borrower must provide proof of age, ownership of the home, and the value of the home. The lender will then appraise the home and determine the loan amount based on the appraised value, the borrower's age, and the interest rate.
The borrower can choose to receive the funds in a lump sum, regular payments, or a combination of both. No monthly payments are required, and the loan is only repaid when the borrower sells the home or passes away. The interest rate on a CHIP reverse mortgage is typically higher than traditional mortgages, and the loan amount cannot exceed the home's value.
What Are Current CHIP Reverse Mortgage Interest Rates?
When considering a CHIP reverse mortgage, everyone tends to focus on the interest rate as that is the typical focus when getting a mortgage. However, the interest rate on reverse mortgages tends to be based on product and term rather than your credit, as with a traditional mortgage. Borrowers cannot expect to negotiate a better rate with a reverse mortgage lender. Generally speaking, the interest rate on a CHIP reverse mortgage is higher than traditional mortgages, as the lender must wait a long time to receive any repayment. The current interest rates for CHIP reverse mortgages can be found here.
While borrowers should not get too focused on interest rates when looking for a reverse mortgage, it’s still important to compare interest rates from different lenders to ensure you're getting a competitive rate. Borrowers should also consider other factors, such as the lender's reputation, customer service, and product offerings. A lower interest rate may not always be the best option if the lender has poor customer service or unfavourable loan terms.
It should be noted that while reverse mortgage interest rates are higher than traditional mortgages and home equity lines of credit, they are significantly cheaper than credit cards, personal loans and private mortgages.
What Products Does HomeEquity Bank Offer?
While the focus on HEB tends to be around their CHIP Reverse Mortgage product, HEB does offer other products, although, to be fair, they are all variations of the basic reverse mortgage product. In addition to the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, HEB offers the Income Advantage product, which is similar to a home equity line of credit and allows the homeowner to receive their loan in installments rather than all at once.
HEB also offers the CHIP Max, which extends the loan lending limits of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage. While the mainstream product’s loan amount is limited to 55% of the home’s value, CHIP Max allows loan amounts to go as high as 59% of the home’s value.
The CHIP Open is the newest product offered by HEB. It is designed to be a short-term solution for homeowners wishing to receive and pay off their reverse mortgage within 6 months without a prepayment penalty. The CHIP Open is intended to help homeowners with their downsizing period and to pay for any renovation or property improvement costs before they sell their home.
Lastly, HEB offers Guaranteed Investment Certificates. As a Schedule 1 bank, HEB is able to offer these investments with deposit insurance protection to its investors for up to $100,000.
CHIP Reverse Mortgage Calculator
A CHIP reverse mortgage calculator can be a useful tool for estimating how much you may be eligible to borrow. The calculator takes into account factors such as your age, gender, postal code, property type, and estimated property value to provide an estimate of the loan amount. To use the calculator, simply input your information and the calculator will provide an estimate of the loan amount you may be eligible for. Keep in mind that the actual loan amount may differ based on the lender's policies and the appraised value of the home.
The calculator is adjusted by HEB to reflect changes in the real estate market, the economy and general interest rate conditions. It's also important to note that a CHIP reverse mortgage calculator is just an estimate and should not be relied upon as a guarantee of loan eligibility or loan amount. It's always best to use the calculator as an initial estimate until a home appraisal is completed.
You can find the CHIP Reverse Mortgage Calculator here. You can use the tool without providing personal information.
How to Get a CHIP Reverse Mortgage
There are two ways to get a CHIP reverse mortgage: you can contact HomeEquity Bank directly or you can work with a mortgage broker. HEB has a call center and an online application process, making it easy to apply for a CHIP reverse mortgage for anyone who is interested in using this option. Or you can work with a mortgage broker who has experience with reverse mortgages. A broker can present options from other reverse mortgage lenders, such as Equitable Bank and Bloom Financial, or even lenders offering traditional mortgages or home equity lines of credit.
When choosing between working with HomeEquity Bank directly or a mortgage broker, it's important to consider your circumstances. If you're comfortable applying for a loan on your own and have experience with financial products, working with HEB directly may be a good option. However, working with a mortgage broker is likely a better choice if you're new to reverse mortgages or want to explore other options. A broker can provide guidance and help you compare different lenders and loan options in a time-saving and convenient manner.
It's important to note that there is no extra cost for working with a mortgage broker. The lender pays the broker, but you should work with a broker that is experienced in reverse mortgages and has a good reputation with reverse mortgage lenders. If you are going to work with a mortgage broker as you get your reverse mortgage, we would strongly suggest you work with an advisor who is actually experienced in reverse mortgages! Most mortgage brokers are not experienced in this product—we don’t recommend they learn while working on your reverse mortgage.
RetireBetter has a team of experienced, certified reverse mortgage specialists. We can guide you through the whole process, answer all of your questions and, if appropriate, even provide you with traditional mortgage options.
CHIP Reverse Mortgage Reviews and Testimonials
Before applying for a CHIP reverse mortgage, many borrowers want to read reviews and testimonials from other borrowers. We agree that reading reviews can give you a better idea of what to expect when applying for a CHIP reverse mortgage. Reviews will also help you better understand CHIP reverse mortgage pros and cons and to learn from the experience of others. HomeEquity Bank has been offering reverse mortgages for almost 30 years, and in that time, thousands of Canadians have taken out a CHIP reverse mortgage. According to HEB, more than 95% of clients are satisfied with their CHIP mortgage and their experience with HomeEquity Bank.
Trustpilot is a popular review site where customers can leave feedback about their experience with a company. HomeEquity Bank has over 1,000 reviews on Trustpilot, with less than 1% being dissatisfied with their experience. You can read the CHIP mortgage reviews on TrustPilot here. These positive client experiences mirror our clients’ experiences as well. RetireBetter has completed more CHIP reverse mortgages than any other brokerage in Canada since 2017 and our mutual clients rarely have anything poor to say about HomeEquity Bank.
The CHIP.ca Website
The chip.ca website is quite a resourceful website for anyone considering reverse mortgages.
Here is a quick list of items you can find on their website:
- Reverse mortgage and home equity calculators
- Client testimonials
- Product information and interest rates
- Contact information
- Company history
- Online reverse mortgage application forms
For anyone thinking of getting a reverse mortgage, the HEB website is a fairly good starting point to start exploring. We do think that it can be somewhat overwhelming for some homeowners but encourage everyone to visit the site and try out the various tools available for free.
A word of caution: many tools require personal information and you will likely be contacted after you have provided your details through the website.
Why Are There So Many Reverse Mortgage Ads?
The reason you see all of those reverse mortgage ads is because, quite simply, they work. More people than ever before are getting reverse mortgages in Canada and the competition between the lenders is picking up. This competition, and the advertising, will continue to increase as the number of seniors in Canada is expected to double by 2036 according to Statistics Canada.
CHIP reverse mortgage ads are intended to educate consumers without overwhelming them with the complexities of the financial product. They are increasingly being done in a humorous style, and show retired homeowners in an empowered manner, where they are living independently and in control. You can find copies of these ads online quite easily, including on YouTube.
Alternatives to CHIP Reverse Mortgages
While a CHIP reverse mortgage tends to dominate any discussion about reverse mortgages, it's important to consider their competitors before making a decision. Equitable Bank and Bloom Financial offer comprehensive reverse mortgage alternatives to the CHIP reverse mortgage, although neither offers their products in all provinces.
Equitable Bank's Flex reverse mortgage product that allows homeowners to access up to 59% of the value of their home. Bloom Financial's reverse mortgage product is also designed to be similar to CHIP, and it is supposedly intended to offer lower interest rates and more flexible options.
When choosing between CHIP and its competitors, it's important to compare features, interest rates, and customer experiences. If you are working with a reverse mortgage broker, such as the team at RetireBetter, we can easily assist you in this process. If you are working on your own to obtain your reverse mortgage, then you will need to repeat your research process for each lender.
If you are doing your own research, you should consider the lender's reputation, customer service, and loan terms. Don’t focus strictly on lower interest rates as you will regret selecting a lender who has poor customer service or unfavorable loan terms.
In conclusion, a CHIP reverse mortgage can be a valuable financial solution for Canadian seniors who want to access the equity in their home. If you want to learn more about CHIP reverse mortgages, contact RetireBetter to get more information. Our experienced team can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of a CHIP reverse mortgage and help you choose the best option for your needs and circumstances.
Q: Who is in the CHIP reverse mortgage commercial?
A: In the past, the CHIP reverse mortgage spokesman was Kurt Browning. In the United States, Tom Selleck, Alex Trabeck and Joe Namath were all reverse mortgage spokesman.
Q: Is there an age limit for getting a reverse mortgage?
A: The CHIP mortgage for seniors is available for anyone aged 55 years or older. There is no maximum age.
Q: What do I need to pay if I get a reverse mortgage?
A: You will need to pay your property taxes and keep your property insurance current. You do not need to pay any secured debts when you get a reverse mortgage.
Q: Do I pay any income taxes if I get a reverse mortgage?
A: You receive all money from a reverse mortgage tax-free.