Sale-Leaseback vs. Reverse Mortgages

Wondering what the difference is between sale leaseback vs. reverse mortgage? Read on as we discuss why you might choose one or the other.

Home Equity
September 24, 2021
Sale-Leaseback vs. Reverse Mortgages

Updated May 8, 2023

Continuing to live at home as you get older can become challenging, as expenses may be burdensome, and many people’s wealth remains locked in their home equity. In today’s housing market, many people are comparing the cost of owning a home vs. renting and are also considering selling their homes for the financial benefits. But some may not be ready to leave. If this situation sounds familiar to you, there are a few options to consider that allow you to access your hard-earned equity without leaving the home you love.

The Roles

In a traditional mortgage, the homeowner makes payments to the lender. In a situation such as a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the homeowner.

Reverse Mortgages, a Brief History

Reverse mortgages have been around for decades, and while they might be right for some people, they have a checkered, stigma-laden past. With a relatively short history in the United States, the first reverse mortgage was issued in 1961.

A few decades later, during the 2008-2009 housing market crash, the number of reverse mortgages issued peaked at around 110,000 per year, causing problems for many borrowers. Because of their financial situation, a lot of people couldn’t keep up with the property tax, insurance, and home maintenance. Since most people borrowed the entire available credit amount in a lump sum, they spent the money quickly and were left with no other assets, which led to foreclosures. With foreclosures, comes closing costs.

For decades, reverse mortgages were one of the only options available for people who wanted to access their home’s equity without moving out of their house. Thanks to some positive innovation in the real estate industry, there’s now a better alternative that allows people to access all of their home equity in debt-free cash.

Sale-Leasebacks, a New Alternative

What is a reverse lease or a sale-leaseback? A sale-leaseback is a financial transaction where an owner of an asset sells it and then leases it back from the new owner, is a tried-and-true financial instrument. Although sale-leasebacks are relatively new to the residential real estate space, they have a long history of utilization in the commercial real estate industry. Large companies looking to improve liquidity and reduce the risk of holding too much debt often utilize sale-leasebacks.

Many people think sale-leasebacks are reverse mortgages, which is understandable but incorrect. While both help people who have large amounts of equity tied up in their home access that equity without selling their home, that’s where the similarities stop. To understand what’s right for you, it’s helpful to understand the nuances of how the two financing aspects differ.

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Compare & Contrast

Complex vs. Simple

A reverse mortgage is a complex cash loan for only a fraction of your home’s value, with the remainder held to cover loan interest, mortgage insurance, and fees. Sale-leasebacks consist of two simple transactions: a house sale and a lease agreement.

More Cash vs. Less Cash

A reverse mortgage consists of: 

  • 40-60% of your home’s fair market value in cash, depending on a set of complex factors - age, home value and interest rate. 
  • ~10% unlocked cash.

A sale-leaseback consists of: 

  • All home equity can turn into cash. 
  • Minus 5-6% real estate commission - meaning you have more of your money available to spend on what matters most to you.

Debt vs. No debt

A reverse mortgage is a loan against the value of your house, meaning the borrowed money must be repaid when you leave your home. Since a reverse mortgage is a debt, it weighs on your credit, making it more difficult to get additional credit if needed. Sale-leasebacks require taking on no debt. The money is all yours, so there is no growing loan interest rate or future lease payments weighing on your credit, which means you have greater financial and lifestyle freedom.

Hassle-Filled vs. Hassle-Free

In a reverse mortgage agreement, you are still responsible for things like home maintenance, taxes and insurance, as you hold the title of your home and are responsible for maintaining it physically and financially—or risk facing foreclosure. When you take advantage of Truehold’s sale-leaseback option, we take care of all the major repairs, property tax, and insurance for you as part of monthly rent which means you can live easier at home.

At Truehold, we believe staying in your home as you become an older homeowner can result in greater financial, physical, and mental wellbeing. A sale-leaseback arrangement might be right for you if you want to capitalize on the wealth you’ve built in your home and maximize your returns, you desire financial and lifestyle flexibility and freedom to live where and how you want, and if you want to keep enjoying your home without worrying about the maintenance,  higher interest rate it is building, or the burden it’s creating for your loved ones.

Sale-Leaseback vs. Reverse Mortgages
If you’d like to learn more, give us a call at (314) 353-9757 and one of our advisors can help determine if we’re the best option for you.
Lucas Grohn headshot
Written by
Lucas Grohn
Senior Manager of Sales at Truehold - A Thought-Leader in Real Estate
Lucas Grohn brings over a decade of real estate expertise to his role, where he guides a team dedicated to innovative sales strategies. Known for his thought leadership and diverse experience, from managing brokerage operations to training agents at top firms, Lucas covers a broad span of real estate content for Truehold.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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