The red brick house with the closed in front porch hasn’t changed all that much through the years. Perched up on a small hill on Wright Avenue in Greensboro it doesn’t exactly stand out from the other homes on the tree-lined street.

The difference when compared to the others built around the same time is that this home has only had two owners in the past century, “My grandmother purchased the home and she is the 2nd owner,” said Melisa Ezernack.

Momma Jean as the family called her has been living in the home more than 30 years. Ezernack smiles when she thinks of the home she would visit as a child, “It was awesome, I loved going there,” said Ezernack.

The past 10 years Ezernack has been taking care of her grandmother and living in the home, “My grandmother was a good person, I miss her a lot,” said Ezernack.

Her grandmother passed away last year leaving the home to Ezernack, “I love this place, lot of memories,” said Ezernack.

There is however a big problem when it comes to the old home, it’s owned by a bank after Ezernack’s grandmother signed up for a reverse mortgage about 10 years ago, “She was worried about money and did a reverse mortgage after seeing a commercial on TV,” said Ezernack.

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The bank has informed Ezernack she can pay off the loan and buy the home for around $199,000 or turn the keys in and walk away. Since Ezernack is not on the loan she is not responsible for any outstanding interest.

This reality is this kind of dilemma is not unusual when it comes to reverse mortgages and why people are required by law to be counseled before signing up for one. Reverse mortgages are certainly helpful to people who need a cash infusion but have little in the way of assets except for their home.

In the case of Ezernacks grandmother the bank loaned her around $120,000 and after paying off the initial home loan she was able to get about $70,000 to use before her passing. That money enabled her to live the life she wanted without having to worry about paying the bills. A person signing up for a reverse mortgage is also able to live in the home mortgage free until they die.

Now that her grandmother has died Ezernack is also able to buy the home, “You are allowed to keep the home if you are the heir for 95-percent of what the home is appraised for,” said mortgage expert Brien Brandenburg.

In this situation though Ezernack does not have enough money to buy the home which means she will most likely end up having to move out, “They (the bank) don’t have a foreclosure date yet, when they do I have 30 days to get out,” said Ezernack.

Selling the house is a possibility but Ezernack would have to sell the home for around $220,000 to make it financially feasible after agent fees and commissions.

Reverse mortgages often have a bad reputation, but it can be a lifesaver to many if used properly. Specifically designed for people 62 and older it can provide financially security as the person ages, allowing them to stay in the home they love and pay for other necessities.

In this situation the reverse mortgage worked exactly how it was supposed to for Ezernack’s grandmother unfortunately though now that she has passed it has become difficult for Ezernack to keep the home in the family.

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