Steven DeNapoli, aged 69, was a Boston-area restaurateur for most of his adult life. He owned five bistro-style restaurants and a vending company. He also worked for Pizzeria Uno’s as director of franchise services and for the Marriott corporation.
His grandparents and parents (Ernest and Adeline) operated a women’s clothing business. Steven was next in line to take over the family business, but he noticed that the industry was headed overseas and opted for a different career path.
“I saw a restaurant for sale one day and was like, ‘oh, I like to cook, maybe I could do this,’” says Steven. “I decided to buy it and ended up buying four more restaurants.”
Steven’s introduction to reverse mortgages came in 2017 when his father Ernest suffered a heart attack. Concerned about his financial security, Ernest asked his son to investigate a reverse mortgage for he and Adeline. Steven first contacted his bank. The bank didn’t offer reverse mortgages, but Steven was referred to David Tourtillott, CRMP®, a loan officer with Homestead Mortgage in Hanover, MA.
“My dad wanted a reverse mortgage for financial security. He didn’t have a 401(k) or stocks. He and mom were just trying to live off Social Security,” said Steven.
Steven met with David in February 2018 to learn about reverse mortgages and to get an estimate of what his parents might qualify for.
Ernest was in his early 90s and Adeline a few years younger. The couple’s home appraised for $520,000. Taking into account the age of the youngest borrower (Adeline), prevailing interest rates and the home’s value, David explained to Steven that his parents could pay off the mortgage on their home, set-aside funds to pay the property taxes and homeowners insurance for the next several years (an important consideration given the commonwealth’s high property taxes) and still have $100,000 left over for emergencies.
Steven and his parents met with an independent, HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss these numbers and other possible options. In the end, the DiNapoli’s decided to proceed and get the reverse mortgage.
Sadly, Ernest’s health continued to decline and he passed away a few months later. Adeline joined him in January 2020.
“Thank God my parents had a reverse mortgage. When you consider what they were getting from Social Security, it would have been difficult financially to take care of them both given their increasing healthcare needs,” said Steven.
After Adeline passed away, Steven became the executor of the estate. “I was in retirement mode,” said Steven. “My parents’ home had been in the family for 45 years. It was a special place, where we all gathered for the holidays. I wanted to keep the home in the family and so I went to David and asked him what he recommended.”
David noted that the home had likely increased in value since Ernest and Adeline got their reverse mortgage. Since there was still equity left in the property, he recommended to Steven that he consider getting his own reverse mortgage, which would allow him to pay off his parent’s loan and acquire the home that meant so much to he and his kids.
After considering his options, he followed through on David’s recommendation and got his own reverse mortgage later in 2020 and now he’s living in the family home.
“I don’t think people realize that a reverse mortgage can provide that extra liquidity to help them retire more securely,” says Steven. “Especially in this day and age with inflation going through the roof, I consider the reverse mortgage a lifeline.”