When Mary’s daughter and son-in-law
approached her about opening a coffee shop, she
wanted to be supportive. Mary carefully
considered the options, then finally agreed to
mortgage the family home to provide the seed money.
“The coffee shop was pretty successful,” said Mary, 76.
But the family’s luck eventually ran out. A road construction
project diverted traffic away from area businesses, and other
competing coffee shops opened. Eventually, the business closed
and payment on the mortgage stopped.
Although Mary was living comfortably, she could not assume
the monthly payments. The bank initiated foreclosure. “I hated
the idea of losing my home,” she said.
Mary and her late husband built their one-story
home 32 years earlier. He worked for a cement company and
farmed on the side, raising raspberries, while Mary took care
of three sons and twin girls. “It’s a nice property that sits on five
acres of land,” she added.
Most of all, she enjoys living near the community of Scholls,
population 300. Scholls is a farming community located
southwest of Portland. There is no post office. The nearest
shopping area is 10 miles away, which “poses some problems
because I don’t drive anymore.”
It is located in Oregon’s picturesque wine country. There are
several notable wineries in the area, including the Raptor Ridge
Winery, which produces award winning white wines, such as
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio.
Desperate to keep her home, Mary had heard about reverse
mortgages and immediately started combing through the Yellow
Pages. She talked with several lenders, but went with Curtis R.
Lawrence, owner of Landmark Mortgage Company, in Portland.
She got a reverse mortgage in August 2008. The home appraised
for $350,000. She qualified for a large enough reverse mortgage
to pay off the pre-existing mortgage, which amounted to roughly
$257,000. She then established a line of credit to pay taxes, bills,
health insurance, and other expenses.
“I’m quite satisfied with the reverse mortgage,” says Mary.
“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to leave my kids, but under the
circumstances, it saved my home.”