To determine the winner, Canstar Research considered both price and features of reverse mortgage products. The calculation was based on a $90,000 loan over 10 years with a Loan-To-Value (LVR) of 15%. The features considered were:
- Loan terms (including LVR, security requirements and other specific conditions)
- Product functionality (availability and flexibility of various product facilities)
- Default process
- Loan fees
- Loan application/approval process
After crunching the numbers, we are pleased to announce the winner of our 2018 Provider of the Year – Reverse Mortgages Award is:
Provider of the Year – Reverse Mortgages Award: Heartland Seniors Finance
Heartland has taken out the Provider of the Year – Reverse Mortgages Award for the second year running. The company was also awarded a Canstar 5-Star rating for outstanding value in 2016.
Heartland’s reverse mortgage was the market-leading product for features. The loan has no ongoing fees and Heartland Seniors Finance was the only institution that offered protected equity (up to 50% of home value) and committed funding options (including lump sum funding and future funding guarantees). They offered potential customers an eight-hour approval turnaround – beating the average turnaround of 25 hours. Heartland also allowed a non-titled person (i.e. a partner who is not the lead person named in the loan) to remain living in the property even if the titled person has passed away.
A unique feature among the products rated in the 2018 Reverse Mortgages Award was the Heartland Seniors Finance equity protection option, where you could choose to protect a percentage of the eventual net sale proceeds of your home. This feature allows customers to ensure that when their loan is repaid, they (or their estate) are guaranteed to receive any chosen Equity Protection percentage.
Heartland Seniors Finance makes three promises to its customers:
Lifetime Occupancy: Your home will remain the place you live in for as long as you choose.
No Negative Equity Guarantee: The amount required to repay the loan will never exceed the sale proceeds of the property.
Loan Repayment: There is no requirement to make any loan repayment until the end of the loan.
Some additional features we liked included the fact Heartland allowed customers to rent their property while it had a reverse mortgage and refunded the application fee if the loan was declined.
As with all financial decisions, it is important to do your research and consider your options before committing to any financial product. Reading the product disclosure statement (PDS) and seeking professional advice where necessary are important steps when determining the best option for your individual needs.