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HECM Counseling Demystified


What happens during a HECM counseling session? Are reverse mortgage professionals properly preparing homeowners for counseling? We interviewed Greg Smalls with Consumer Education Services, Incorporated to answer these questions and more.


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  1. As a Retirement Mortgage Specialist I look forward to educating my clients about the Independent Counseling session as I beleive it re enforces the information we have already covered in the presentation, giving the client piece of mind and added credibility for myself as well

  2. Really good info! I wasn’t aware the borrower got budget counseling; it helps if I can prepare them for that.
    Also, good idea to have adult children on the call, if they’re going to be part of the decision process.
    Disappointed to hear some of the lack of preparation of the borrower; could be MLOs who do Reverse “Now and Then” are the issue.

  3. Earlier this year, my wife and I experienced HECM counseling first hand.. We paid full price for the counseling session. We are both over 70 years old.

    At no time was budgeting covered in any practical manner but we were asked if we did it with no follow up as to what budgeting is or should be.

    As to the value of the home. nothing was discussed as to how we arrived at that value.

    The one question I asked was responded with — ask your lender even though the question was generic as to the program and not specific as to the lender.

    For my wife and I who are both current California real estate brokers and both former NMLS licenced reverse mortgage originators and. branch managers (none of which to the best of our knowledge was known to the HECM counselor), counseling was appropriate but if we were the typical HECM counselee, the session was abject and derelict. It took about 20 minutes and barely and insufficiently addressed crucial basic concepts of how a HECM differs from a forward mortgage. It was like listening to a marginally and questionably compliant script.

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