Reverse Mortgage Costs And Fees

Reverse Mortgage Costs And Fees
Quite often we get asked the question about what hidden or buried costs there are in a reverse mortgage.

This is largely because the whole product can come across of having a feeling of being too good to be true.  Being sceptical like this is a good thing considering how many financial products out there bury their costs or have hidden fees that you don’t learn about until it is too late.

Today, in response to many of the queries on this, I thought I’d go through all the costs involved in setting this up.

That is, the initial costs before you do anything else.

This will include every single cost you need to know about – you can factor these into your decision.

The best way to think about reverse mortgage costs are to split them between costs that must be paid upfront (by you) and costs that deducted from the amount you borrow (you don’t actually pay these yourself):

1. Costs You Pay Upfront – Out Of Pocket Costs: $150-400

Let me first clarify what I mean by ‘out of pocket’.

This means that you have to pay these costs upfront and there is no other option or way to pay them.  The phrase – for those not familiar with it – comes from taking the cash out of your pocket and giving it to someone.

So what ‘out of pocket’ costs are there?

Well, the good news is that there is only one: the appraisal.

Appraisal costs will depend on where you are in Canada but you are talking about something in the range of $150-400 – with most coming close to the $300 range.

Why is an appraisal required?

Well you have to remember that the lender isn’t going to take any payments from you.  They are lending solely on the basis that they believe your home will continue to grow in value and that they’d like a share of that value.

This is from a lenders perspective – ownership of many homes across Canada.  So they absolutely must ensure that your home is a good investment for them.

So, this means that they must appraise your home.  A home appraiser is looking for 3 things:

  • What is the house worth based on current market value?
  • Any issues that they should be aware of that might impede future home value growth?
  • The marketability of the home – that is how easy would it be to sell it (if they needed to) once the homeowners passed away?

Like anything, there is good news and bad news about this:

The good news?  This is the only upfront cost you actually have to pay (by cash or credit card).

The bad news?  This cost is payable even if you later decide not to take out the mortgage.  Unfortunately, there are no refunds on this.

What my suggestion would be is that if you have paid for an appraisal, but no longer wish to pursue this, that you try to use it to secure a ‘regular’ mortgage or Home Equity Line Of Credit – usually either of these will need an appraisal anyway (especially if you are refinancing).

2. Costs You Have To Pay But That Are Deducted From The Amount Borrowed

These costs – rather than being upfront costs that you have to pay out of your own pocket – can be deducted from the amount that you receive.

So lets say you arrange a reverse mortgage for $150,000 and these costs are $2,000.  Then you will receive $148,000 instead.

You can choose to pay them if you like but almost every single person chooses to have them deducted from the amount borrowed instead.

These are split between two different sets of legal costs:

a. Independent legal advice: $450-700

There are two aspects to legal fees that you are looking at:

  • Legally registering the mortgage on title.  We will come to this in part b.
  • Independent legal advice – unlike the above element, this is a requirement of the lender and is a very important one. It ensures that you don’t sign anything or feel like you were ‘pushed’ into this product without consulting an independent legal expert.

Like appraisals, legal fees vary across Canada and from lawyer to lawyer.  While $450 to $700 covers all ranges, generally they are around $600.

Remember: you don’t actually pay these upfront though – they are deducted from the amount you borrow.

b.  Legal, administrative and set-up costs: $1,795

These are with regards to the legal cost of registering of the mortgage on title – including all other lender, administrative and other fees. Note this fee was recently increased to $1,795, in March 2018.

Every single mortgage in the whole of Canada incurs a similar cost to this.

It is unavoidable – part of our mortgage laws.  Whether you are getting a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC), ‘normal’ mortgage or reverse mortgage – you must pay a lawyer to register the mortgage on title – regardless of what type of mortgage you are getting.

A lot of people forget when they first bought a home that they incurred these costs and had to involve a mortgage lawyer – as a reverse mortgage is still technically a mortgage, a lawyer must be involved to place the mortgage on title.

Again – like independent legal advice – these costs are deducted from the amount that you receive.

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage In Canada

All of the advice in this article relates to the CHIP reverse mortgage – if you are unsure about what this is then I suggest you read our free guidebook (get your copy here) – it outlines everything you need to know about this mortgage loan.

In Summary – Reverse Mortgage Costs And Fees

That is it – there are no other fees or costs involved in setting up a reverse mortgage in Canada.

While the amounts can vary (it is really hard to predict what appraisals or lawyers will cost as they vary widely from province to province, city to city and lawyer to lawyer) –  these are all the costs at this point in time.

And remember, in terms of upfront costs that you actually have to pay in cash (or by credit  card) you are only talking around $150-400.

Here is a short table to summarize the costs/fees:

Reverse Mortgage Costs - Summary Table

CostRange'Normal' Amount
Upfront costs - must be paid by cash or credit card:

Costs that must be paid but are deducted from the loan amount:
a. Independent legal advice$450-700$600
b. Legal title registration and administrative fees$1,795$1,795

Total - costs you pay out of pocket


Total - maximum possible costs$2,395-$2,895$2,695

What About Rates?

Yes, of course the interest rates are also a part of the reverse mortgage costs – even though you don’t actually pay these. This is covered in detail on our article – which also includes the latest rates – at

Alternatives To A Reverse Mortgage

It should also be noted that costs and fees for setting up this are very similar to the alternatives out there.  For more on this, see this article we wrote:

Reverse Mortgage vs Home Equity Line Of Credit

Most people are usually considering a Home Equity Line Of Credit – which comes with almost identical set-up costs (minus the administrative fee – although some lenders do charge set-up fees). See our article comparing this to a HELOC for more on this:

As always, if you have any questions regarding reverse mortgage costs and fees then feel free to leave a comment below.

Comments 77

  • Do you respect the confidentiality of a potential client who shares sensitive personal financial information with you while considering this product in his personal circumstances?

    • Hi There

      Of course I do. As a licensed Mortgage Agent and Chartered Accountant I am legally required to respect the confidentiality of those I deal with.


  • It would be greatly appreciated if a chart showing the interest amounts payable and calculations of same interest. I do recognize interest fluctuations will affect the chart. No where can I find information on this. Thank you for your help.

    • Hi There

      I am working on something but there are 2 issues:

      1. Home equity growth is different all across Canada. And assessing home equity growth – which offsets the interest – is very important in making this decision. In fact, in many areas of Canada just now you could have a reverse mortgage an still be gaining equity in your home.
      2. Data and figures on home equity growth are almost impossible to find – controlled by the Real Estate organizations and Boards across Canada that – unfortunately – have a monopoly on all this information.

      In the meantime, please check out this article I wrote regarding interest rates:


  • How does it work if a person has declared bankruptcy in the past

    • Hi Rosemary

      As long as the bankruptcy has been discharged, you are ok. While under bankruptcy, you cannot take on any kind of new debt – even this.

      Hope this helps.


  • I am applying for a property tax deferment in British Columbia. It is a low interest bearing loan that does not have to be repaid until the house is sold. There would be a registered lien on the property. Taxes are about $3,500 per year. Would these facts affect the application for a reverse mortgage?

  • question how would rev mortgage effect enhareitance eg. can party/use todays rates and locke into same

    • Hi John

      Not sure if I understand your question fully but in terms of inheritance, any of the cash you use from a reverse mortgage will obviously not be in your estate anymore. In addition to this, your estate would inherit the reverse mortgage. They then have the option of paying it off or selling the home at the that point – both options are available.

      Hope this helps.


  • if my house is word 226.000.00 how much would i qualify for

    • Hi Francine

      It would depend on where the house is located, what the property type is and your age (plus the age of anyone else on title). It is not quite as simple as being based upon the valuation.

      If you would like for us to provide a free assessment for you, please fill out our 90 second assessment form at


  • Mother is owner, no mortgage. She’s 86 and she will be on the Rev. But before
    she passes can I (son 61) be put on the title at a later date so I don’t have to sell
    and get out when she’s gone.

    • Hi John

      Yes, you can do exactly that. However, you’d have to make sure that you qualify for enough to pay off whatever reverse mortgage balance she takes.

      The safer way to do it would be to add you on to title just now, then take out the reverse mortgage. At that point you won’t need to worry about what happens or re-qualifying for a reverse mortgage in future, as when she passes nothing will change at all.

      You would, however, qualify for a lower reverse mortgage amount – because you’re younger – however I think this would be a much safer and better option.

      If the amount you a looking for is quite small – with regards to the property value – then I think either option will work too.



    • Hi Bryan

      There is only 1 provider of reverse mortgages in Canada just now. If you read about other product types, they are probably referring to the same thing.

      With regards to interest, you can choose to make the monthly payments of the interest each month and thus set it up exactly like a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC). For more on this, see my article on the Reverse Mortgage Line Of Credit.


  • When it comes to independent legal advice, may I use my own lawyer or only one the lender wishes me to use?

  • Would it be possible to receive a copy to the Reverse Mortgage so that I can read it and have on hand to understand all it implies.

  • My husband is very ill and I have full power of attorney. Will this complicate the process? The reverse mortgage will also assist with his care.

    • Hi Paula,

      We would just require a couple of documents to prove you have power of attorney (POA) and the ability to deal with real property. The POA must be witnessed by a non-relative of the donor and all parties must produce acceptable ID at signing.
      If you would like to speak to one of our agents you can call us (toll-free) at 1-888-358-7771 and they will be happy to answer all of your questions!


  • Thank you for all the information. I have not yet decided what to do but I do understand how it works.

  • Thank you for great articles – tried a well-advertised company for on-line info first and despite the “come-on”, no information was provided at all unless you were willing to put in all personal information first. Hubby and I are in our 60’s, healthy, and probably not in our last house yet so while we might be interested down the road, not yet. At this point, based on my experience so far, I certainly have a much higher opinion of your Company than the other and thought you might like to know that.

    • Hi There

      Thank you – this is really appreciated and it’s great to hear positive feedback. I spend a lot of time writing these articles and trying to be completely open and honest about a reverse mortgage – I’m glad I helped. And it sounds like you are taking the right strategy, taking your time and evaluating all options.

      If you are going to be purchasing another house, you might be interested to know that you can actually use a reverse mortgage for this (if you wanted to of course). See #8 in our article 8 interesting ways to use a reverse mortgage.


  • Is the interest compounded on a CHIP reverse mortgage and how often is the interest calculated and compounded/added to the amount owing?

    • Hi Joe

      Interest is compounded semi-annually (twice a year) – the same as almost every mortgage in Canada. The exception to this is a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) where interest is actually compounded monthly.

      Hope this helps.


  • We are just beginning to look at reverse mortgages because, as you pointed out, Chip made it sound like it was too good to be true. We were really excited. Now we will take more time to study the ramifications more closely.

    • Hi Marilyn

      I highly recommend you take your time, read through all the articles I’ve written (like this one) and gather all the facts before making your decision.

      And if you have any questions about reverse mortgages, of course you should feel free to reach out to us.


  • the 10% your allowed to pay each o year, is it on principal only? [ it would be nice ] or total amount ?

    • Hi Murray

      I need to send you a prize as that’s a question I hadn’t been asked before and it’s a very important one!

      The 10% is of the total balance owed on each anniversary date. So – for example – if you took out a reverse mortgage of $200,000, you could make a repayment on the principal of $20,000 (10%) over the first year. You can also pay off any interest in addition to this.

      If you made no payments – and the balance increased to $210,000 at the end of the first year (for example) – then your prepayment allowances would be $21,000 (10% of the new balance) for the next year. And again in the 2nd year you could also pay off any new interest in addition to this $21,000.

      Hope this helps.


  • Hi,

    Can one apply for a reverse mortgage right after purchasing new property? I will be paying cash for the purchase but that will mean I won’t have much to sustain me (I am not working at the moment). Didn’t want to bother with a loan/mortgage as my credit isn’t that good…

    • Hi Dorothy

      Yes, you can do that. In fact you can even use a reverse mortgage for a purchase. Let’s say you only had 60% down-payment, you could use a reverse mortgage for the other 40%. Obviously that isn’t the case with you, but basically all reverse mortgage options are on the table for you.


  • Hi, I have a question about my friend. She owns a home worth $800,000, however, she currently has a HELOC on it at $350K, and she is paying for the monthly interest. She is 53, can she apply for reverse mortgage when she is 55?



    • Hi Angela

      Yes, she can apply at 55 but a reverse mortgage is not the right fit for her in this situation. There is a HELOC she can apply for where she is not required to pay the interest each month – it works the same way as a reverse mortgage essentially. However, qualifying for it is much tougher than for a reverse mortgage. But if she did qualify for this then it would be the right fit in her case.

      Otherwise, her best bet is to wait until she is closer to 60 in age – at which point a reverse mortgage would probably be the right fit for her.


  • The mortgage is registered under two names but the second person is deceased now do I have to re-register our mortgage under my name alone in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage?

  • What if the husband is 69 and the wife is only 52, would we still qualify for the reverse mortgage?

    • Hi Michael

      No, in this case you will not – both husband and wife need to be 55. This is to avoid the situation where one spouse would be forced to sell the home if the other passed away (which was a big reason that reverse mortgage gained such a bad reputation in the USA – since they did allow this).


  • I am late filing my latest year tax return. Does that affect my application?

    • Hi John

      This should not be a problem at all, unless you are expecting to have a significant tax bill to pay. It would also depend on your credit score and the rest of your financial situation but – generally speaking – your income and credit score are less important for a reverse mortgage than any other mortgage type.


  • I have a couple questions. First my spouse & I are both over 55 but are living common law for a couple years now. We are not married. Would we qualify for this? Second I have owned my home for 15 years now and am the sole owner on the land title. My problem is my ex from a previous common law relationship and I have been going through a lengthy court battle and her lawyer put a Liz Pendant on my house. I don’t want to pay all these fees then find out I was turned down. Are you able to provide any information on this and would I still qualify for a reverse mortgage?

    • Hi Randy

      You and your partner would definitely qualify based on age. However, the court battle would be an issue. What exactly do you mean by ‘Liz Pendant’? Depending on what is gong on here you may still qualify but I’d need more information to advise you further.


  • I appreciated the well documented articles on reverse mortgages. I would like to see mention of the “rule of 72” for calculating growth of debt added.

    • Hi There

      The rule of 72 of course also applies to the growth in the property value as well – so would apply equally to each side of the decision (home equity vs interest on the mortgage) in this case.


  • I have a house with a $100,000 mortgage and we are 60 and 59. I am on CPP disability;so
    will I qualify? I want to pay off all my small bills and be able to start paying on the HELOC.

    • Hi Aubrey

      It would depend on the house value, location and property type. The CPP disability would not be an issue at all. You’d also need to pay off the $100,000 existing mortgage – using the reverse mortgage funds – then you could keep anything extra.

      Hope this helps.


  • When the house is sold at my demise (around 20 more years hopefully!), are there closing costs on a reverse mortgage?

    • Hi Liz

      No, there are no closing costs charged by the lender – it would be up to your estate to decide how to sell the home and how much to spend doing this.


  • our home is only registered in my husbands name. and since he is now sick n not working . so we thought of getting a reverse mortgage to make it easier on us. so what I want to know is in a reverse mortgage it would mean paying off the existing mortgage plus we would like to borrow more. could the reverse mortgage be put in both our names or even transfered to just my name even though right now only his is on title.. also when he dies would I have to sell the house n pay it off or could I continue to live there. and lastly could it be paid off upon death by say funds from a life ins policy so the house could remain for our son ..??

    • Hi Dot

      Actually the reverse mortgage would have to be in both your names – because you’re married. If your husband passed away, you would be able to live there forever with no issues.

      And yes the life insurance funds could pay off the mortgage so that you could leave the house for your son – this would be handled through your Estate.

      Hope this helps.


  • What happens when it’s time to sell and what is owed is more than what the house sells for? Is it simply a matter like Amy other loan in that you still owe the money? Doing some math, I would owe the house’s value after 10 years. What if I stayed 20?

    • Hi Keijo

      Actually a reverse mortgage is a ‘non resource loan’. What this means is that they can never get more than the house is worth. So, if the reverse mortgage was $300,000 and by some crazy reason the house only happened to be worth $200,000 (this is almost impossible) then the maximum they would be able to get is $200,000. The lender can never legally recover more than the house is worth under this type of mortgage in Canada.

      This is actually one of the reasons why they will only lend up to 55% – and often less – because they want to make sure this doesn’t happen. And 99% of the time, the house is worth more than the reverse mortgage and there is equity remaining. So it is almost always a win-win for both the borrower and the lender.

      Hope this makes sense!


  • I’m looking at a Manulife Equity Advantage.I’m told the current rate is 3.94% and you don’t have to pay the interest.What are your thought’s on this product?
    Dennis Adams

    • Hi Dennis

      It’s a great product and we’ve sent many people to it (probably more than anyone else in Canada) – where they qualify for it. It is much more difficult to qualify though. However, if you can then it makes sense to take it over a reverse mortgage for most people.


  • As we are considered low income I wonder will this still be possible for us to look at as an option or is there an income requirement

    • Hi Pam

      As long as your credit is ok or good, there is almost no income requirement. They only look at your income if you have a history of not paying bills as they want to make sure you have enough money to keep paying the property tax bills.


  • Do I have to pay the $15000 transfer tax in BC

    • Hi Edward

      I’m not sure what you mean, I’ve never heard of a transfer tax. Do you mean the Land/Property Transfer Tax on selling a property? In that case it would be no – this is just like any other mortgage in that you’re not selling your home but mortgaging it.

      Mich @ RVMP

  • I am a little confused. Do I have to pay interest even if I get a reverse mortgage.? I thought the reverse mortgage included that.

  • Does the appraiser value the whole property as in outbuilding separate, gardens, trees, and expansive view. Second will a child be able to inherit the home by paying off the reverse mortgage debt and would that child incur any penalties not mentioned.

    • Hi Pat

      Yes, the appraiser will value all of the land the property is on up to 10 acres.

      And yes, the child could pay off the reverse mortgage through either (1) their own funds, (2) money from the estate they inherited or (3) even obtaining a mortgage to do so. There are no penalties payable upon the owner passing away.


  • and who does the appraisal in the local setting. Any appraiser or do you use a special company.

    • Hi Again Pat

      The appraisal must be performed by an appraiser on the lenders approved list. This is to stop someone – for example – getting their buddy who is an appraiser to give them a nice valuation.


  • If I got a reverse mortgage and decided to sell before 1 year how much interest would I have to pay

  • My wife and I are separated. A divorce settlement is in negotiation and will obviously include the house. Otherwise I / we both meet the reverse mortgage requirements. A couple of questions:
    1. The house must be appraised ( for a second time, I did it last year for the same purpose and the appraiser is on the approved list), could either appraisal be used for a reversed mortgage. or would a 3rd appraisal be required?
    2. I assume that I should wait until the divorce is settled to apply, as title will be in my name.

    • Hi Robert

      To answer your questions:

      1. It depends on how old the appraisal is. You’ll struggle to find any mortgage lender in Canada who’ll accept an appraisal that’s older than 3 months.
      2. Yes that would make the most sense.


  • why does CHIP not give you a copy of your appraisal???..when I’ve paid for it?…I’m not saying they would be dishonest but not having the hard copy myself makes me uneasy.

    • Hi Sherry

      This isn’t a CHIP or Home Equity Bank thing – no lender in Canada will give a client a copy of their appraisal, no matter who paid for it. Whether it be RBC, CIBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO or any of the other dozens of banks and lenders – the same policy applies. I believe it’s a legal thing but I’m not sure why.

      And they are a Schedule I bank – so subject to Government audits and oversight – there is no way they would be dishonest about something like this. Plus they want to lend people money where they can…

      Sorry I can’t be of more help.


  • My ex husband co-signed a mortgage for me as I didn’t qualify on my own (income doesn’t support the mortgage amount). When it’s comes to renew, he has stated he no longer wishes to be a co-signed and wants his name taken off the title as he wants to buy a place for himself. I still won’t qualify on my own when this time comes. My place is valued at $600k. I will be 57 at time of renewal and my mortgage amount will be approx. $290k. Can I convert the existing mortgage and HELOC into a reverse mortgage? What do they take into consideration to be able to qualify for 50% equity take out on the reverse mortgage? What happens to the remaining mortgage amount if I don’t get the required amount to cover the mortgage? Would I then have no alternative but to sell my home?

    • Hi Dianne

      This is tricky without knowing a little more about your situation. Let me give you a quick overview based on the information provided:

      – Your husband’s age would have to be taken into account when qualifying for a reverse mortgage. This is because you are married and this is a ‘marital home’ – so falls under laws in Canada that require this.
      – It is pretty unlikely that you’d qualify for the full $290k on a $600k property at 57 years old. You may be able to qualify for a smaller amount and get a ‘top up’ second mortgage though.
      – If you didn’t qualify then you’d have to either find a mortgage or sell I’m afraid. I would definitely apply and we can see what we can do to help.


  • My wife has been the only one on title in our home since day one. She owns the home.
    That being said, would you only collect her information during the set up of a RM or do you also require mine? And if you need mine also, why? Since I don’t own the home?

    • Hi Tony

      Because you are married, we need your information and you’d have to sign off on the reverse mortgage. This is due to the laws of Canada to protect ‘marital homes’. If a couple is married, it doesn’t matter if only one person is on title – all decisions (and mortgages) related to the home have to be signed off by the other person.

      Let me give you an example to explain why: imagine there was a couple who were married – but only the wife’s name was on title. One day – without the husband knowing – she sells the family home and disappears – leaving the husband with no home and have no legal recourse at all! This is why these family laws and marital laws exist in Canada – it is to protect the other person in the marriage.

      Hope this helps!


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