Jan/Feb 2022 RMM

Services, Products Offer Equity Release Options For When Reverse Mortgages Might Not Work for Clients By Thomas A. Barstow WHEN LOAN OFFICERS interact with potential clients, they might realize that a reverse mortgage isn’t right for some of them. However, other equity-release products— beyond a traditional home equity line of credit or simply downsizing to a smaller home—might provide creative solutions for retirees or people nearing retirement. As loan officers work toward becoming advisers to clients, as various industry leaders have suggested, they might want to be familiar with those alternatives. The thinking goes that, even if loan officers don’t get commissions for such referrals, they will gain a reputation for being problem solvers, which will boost the overall reputation of the reverse mortgage industry. “I think the drivers and changemakers in this space will be those companies that provide a host of viable solutions to address the diverse needs, goals and aspirations of today’s modern customers and don’t just align themselves with a single product,” says Riley Gibson, president of Silvernest, which connects homeowners with potential renters who would share space. “Customer-centricity and a diverse offering is a winning formula and one that Silvernest models our business around.” Homeowners who want to share space in their home can get referrals, leases, insurance and other support through Silvernest’s online home-sharing platform. And it is just one of several services that allow people to release equity in their homes. Here is an overview of how some of those products and services work. Equity Sharing Equity sharing allows homeowners to give up some of their equity in exchange for cash or other benefits. For example, Equifi, which is based in San Jose, CA, gives homeowners access to their equity in cash in exchange for a portion of the home’s value when homeowners sell, decide to prepay or pass away. “The focus for us is on the people who need to access the equity in their home for some financial reason,” says David Shapiro, founder and CEO of EquiFi, which started in its current incarnation in 2016. “And our product is where we share in the net equity of the home.” 28 REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022