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.”