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Turning Unused Equity to Travel and Fulfillment

Susan felt her money was in jail, until her reverse mortgage set it, and her, free.

When Susan bought a fixer-upper in Hermosa Beach, California, at age 26, she never expected it would be her home for the rest of her life. But 40 years later, at 67, she’s thrilled to have been able to experience so much in her beloved house. And thanks to a reverse mortgage from Finance of America Reverse, Susan can look forward to many more years in the home she loves.

“There’s much history and so much good feeling about all that has gone on in this home all through these years. I’m so very grateful for this house and excited I can remain in it,” she says.

Bringing Life to a Fixer-upper

The “history” Susan refers to began with a walk-through of an absolute disaster of a house—a trash-strewn yard, graffiti in the swamp-like swimming pool, a nightmare of a kitchen, and a shag carpet that had seen better days.

“When I walked through the first time, it was like a bad dream,” she remembers. “But I saw the potential.”

She snapped up the property and began renovating, scrubbing the graffiti out of the pool and installing a redwood deck in the yard. From there, she created the Zen-like retreat she loves sharing with friends and family for annual themed parties, Christmas open houses, Olympics parties, and even a wedding reception.

Along with entertaining, Susan has used the house as a jumping-off point for her distance walking regime and burgeoning travel bug. So far, she’s visited 27 countries and has many more on her “must-see” list.

Her Money Looked Like a House

Looking back, Susan hadn’t considered a reverse mortgage until her walking partner, Judy, suggested she might benefit from one.

“Judy talked about a reverse mortgage they had just done, and she was very favorable about it,” Susan says. “It really was something that was going to set them free for the rest of their lives.”

Susan was interested but skeptical. She had heard negative things about reverse mortgages, but her friend’s words stuck with her. A while later, another friend who is a financial planner made the same suggestion.

Susan realized she had plenty of money to live the life she wanted, but it simply wasn’t available. It was all locked in her home equity. She remembers feeling “my money’s in jail, or it’s dead money.”

I can travel now when I’m 67 and go to all of these places instead of at a later date in my life. It’s really important to be able to do things when you’re physically active and can enjoy your life to the maximum.

— Susan, real HomeSafe customer

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Finance of America Reverse LLC borrowers have been compensated for their participation. Statements are their own.