JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sammie Singleton, 77, spends many days on his front porch swing regretting a decision he made four years ago.
"The problem is the way they did me they didn't explain things to me," said Singleton," I had a lady staying here with me and she did all the calling all I did was went and picked up the check."
In 2008 Singleton took out a reverse mortgage, or home equity conversion mortgage on his home. He was paid a lump sum of $59,000.
"I thought it was a reverse mortgage that the government give you but it wasn't like that," he said.
His northwest Jacksonville home was paid in full and he met the age requirement of 62 or older. Singleton said he thought he was making a traditional loan.
Now he wants to reverse the reverse mortgage so he can leave his home to his heirs instead of it going to the lender.
"They're waiting on me to die;after a year's time then they take over the house," said Singleton.
Florida Coastal School of Law professor Laura Boeckman specialize in consumer law and reverse mortgages.
Boeckman says the concept can work with the right advice.
"Some people call it your ATM you can take out a mortgage where you get monthly payment that is a portion of your equity every month," said Boeckman.
Or you can get all of the cash up front, as Singleton did,but Boeckman said like anything else there's a down side.
"The message is be very careful about reverse mortgages," said Boeckman.
"They are very expensive," added Boeckman," they can be very risky there are a whole set of disclosure that you're suppose to get when you do a reverse mortgage."
Singleton now feels he was mislead four years ago.
"No one ever explained anything to me," he said.
Singleton would like to call it fraud, but Attorney Boeckman said that is easier said than it is to prove.
Boeckman said another pitfall is property owners overlook the fact that they are responsible for the taxes and insurance as long as they live in the house.
If they fail to do so the lender can force the property into foreclosure.
Boeckman said the only way Singleton can get out of the reverse mortgage is to get a conventional loan and pay off the loan or for family members to pay it off.
First Coast News