During a counseling session, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) counselor will utilize HUD’s Financial Interview Tool (FIT).
A brief summary of the FIT is provided below. This information is sourced from the website National Council on Aging (NCOA).
Financial Interview Tool (FIT)
The FIT review summary must be sent to clients with the counseling certificate.
The Financial Interview Tool helps counselors check for budget shortfalls, and identify other risks that could affect a client’s ability to use a reverse mortgage to meet their personal goals. Through a few key questions, FIT will help you discuss life factors such as declining health, limitations in the home environment, or recent life transitions. These issues (marked with yellow flags in the evaluation results) can affect the financial sustainability of the borrower. They can also make it hard for borrowers to stay at home and benefit from a reverse mortgage.
A full list of the risk factors can be found here.
FIT provides a summary of these factors, which can help counselors to identify features of a reverse mortgage that might benefit the client, assess the impact of their financial needs on remaining equity over time, and consider other options. The FIT review number reflects the total number of yellow flag issues that were raised during the counseling session. The lower the FIT review number, the more carefully clients should consider a reverse mortgage:
- 1 = client is facing 10 or more yellow flag issues
- 2 = 7 to 9 issues
- 3 = 4 to 6 issues
- 4 = 1 to 3 issues
- 5 = 0 yellow flag issues
The intent is to provide you and your HUD counselor with a more balanced view to help you determine the best course of action. The HUD counselor will inquire about your health, physical abilities, recent transitions, home environment, and financial information. It is important to be prepared to provide the required financial information (including income, assets, debt, and expenses). Please be aware that answers to all FIT questions are required by HUD for all HECM loan borrowers.