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Published May 9, 2024
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8 minutes

CHIP Reverse Mortgage Review 2024

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is offered by HomeEquity Bank and is one of Canada's most popular reverse mortgage options.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

CHIP Reverse Mortgage at a glance

HomeEquity Bank, the company behind CHIP Reverse Mortgages, is one of only two financial institutions in Canada that offer reverse mortgages.

    • A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows homeowners over age 55 to access equity in their home tax-free without selling the home.
    • HomeEquity Bank is one of two banks in Canada that offer reverse mortgages, and the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is its most popular option.
    • HomeEquity Bank began offering reverse mortgages in 1986 under its previous name, CHIP (which stands for Canadian Home Income Plan).
    • The bank managed more than $6 billion worth of reverse mortgages as of January 2023.

    The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is just one of the reverse mortgage products offered by HomeEquity Bank. Others include:

    • CHIP Max.
    • CHIP Open.
    • Income Advantage.

    Pros

    • Access up to 55% of your home’s equity tax-free.
    • The money you borrow does not impact your Old-Age Security or Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits.
    • No monthly or regular payments required.
    • Keep possession of your home.

    Cons

    • Higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgages and some HELOCs.
    • Fees that could add thousands of dollars to the cost of your reverse mortgage.
    • Exchanges long-term equity growth for short-term financial flexibility.

    CHIP Reverse Mortgage review

    Originally called the Canadian Home Income Plan, this loan was rebranded as the CHIP Reverse Mortgage as HomeEquity Bank added more reverse mortgage products. Although HomeEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank, it’s one of only two banks in the country that offer reverse mortgages. 

    Reverse mortgages aren’t like traditional mortgages, in which you borrow money to help you purchase a home. To get a reverse mortgage, you must already own a home.

    A reverse mortgage allows you to borrow money from the equity you’ve built up over the years you’ve owned your home. You can access up to 55% of your home equity as either a lump sum or an initial advance with additional payments spread out over time.

    As a direct lender, HomeEquity Bank offers a variety of reverse mortgage products, but the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is easily the most popular option. Interested prospective borrowers can apply online or call HomeEquity Bank to get an estimate based on the value of their home.

    Any funds borrowed through a reverse mortgage are tax-free, so it’s a potential way for older Canadians to use their home equity to pay off debt, cover medical expenses, pay for renovations and more. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of reverse mortgages before signing up so you understand whether this type of loan is the best fit for your needs.

    Who is a CHIP Reverse Mortgage best for?

    A CHIP Reverse Mortgage may be a good choice for homeowners over the age of 55 with good credit who would like to turn their home equity into cash without selling or refinancing.

    If you meet eligibility requirements, are physically able to maintain and repair the home, and you have the financial ability to pay your property taxes and home insurance premiums, a reverse mortgage may be a worthy alternative to a second mortgage. As with all mortgage application processes, HomeEquity bank will check your credit, and your score will influence the decision to approve you or not.

    CHIP Reverse Mortgage feature overview

    Mortgage variety

    In addition to its original CHIP Reverse Mortgage, HomeEquity Bank also offers:

    Ease of application 

    Reverse mortgages are unique products, so applying for one online with HomeEquity isn’t possible.

    Reverse mortgage rate transparency 

    HomeEquity Bank is quite upfront about the rates related to its CHIP products.

    Other details:

    » MORE: Read our comprehensive guide to reverse mortgages

    Customer satisfaction ratings

    Based on NerdWallet analysis of satisfaction scores on several customer review websites, it’s likely that most customers are satisfied with their experience of getting and having a CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank. Keep in mind that the reviews aren’t verified and may not accurately reflect the average opinion of CHIP customers; for example, happy or unhappy customers may be overrepresented in these reviews. Nevertheless, these sites are one way to learn about possible downsides to consider.  

    CHIP Reverse Mortgage eligibility requirements

    To qualify for a CHIP Reverse Mortgage, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

    In addition, HomeEquity Bank will also consider the following criteria before approving your application:

    HomeEquity Bank offers a reverse mortgage calculator on its website that allows you to quickly see how much a reverse mortgage could allow you to borrow based on your age, postal code, city, home type and estimated value. However, the actual amount offered to you will vary based on the details of your application. 

    A CHIP Reverse Mortgage is not available to homes in the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut.

    How to apply for a CHIP Reverse Mortgage

    You can’t apply for a reverse mortgage with HomeEquity Bank online. To do that, you’ll have to call the bank (1-866-758-2447) to speak with a mortgage specialist. You can, however, get a free estimate of how large a reverse mortgage you might qualify for. 

    When you reach the HomeEquity Bank website, hover over the “Products” tab and click “Our Products.”

    On the following page, click either “Reverse Mortgage” or “CHIP Reverse Mortgage.”

    At the top of the next page, click “Get My Estimate”.

    Enter a few details about your home (address, estimated value) and yourself (age, contact information) and you’re all done.

    Frequently asked questions about the CHIP Reverse Mortgage

    What does CHIP mean for a reverse mortgage?

    CHIP stands for “Canadian Home Income Plan,” which was the original name of the popular reverse mortgage product offered by HomeEquity Bank.

    What is the downside of a CHIP reverse mortgage?

    One of the primary drawbacks of all reverse mortgages is that they come with relatively high interest rates that will be in effect for as long as a loan is active.

    How do you choose the right reverse mortgage lender?

    Selecting the right reverse mortgage provider is a big decision — even with a limited number of options. You’ll need to do some research, make a list of what’s important to you, and spend some comparing the following:

    1. Rates: Will you choose a fixed interest rate or variable? And how competitive are the rates offered by the reverse mortgage provider you’re considering? With only two major players in Canada’s reverse mortgage industry, it may make sense to get quote from both.
    2. Fees: Both of Canada’s largest reverse mortgage providers charge set-up fees and prepayment penalties. You’ll want to know how these fees work and how much you’ll be paying in both instances.
    3. How much you can borrow: Both of Canada’s major reverse mortgage providers follow general guidelines about how much of your home equity you can access.
    4. How you’ll receive your reverse mortgage funds: Will it be as a single lump sum or as a combination of an initial advance and smaller payments spread out over time? There are pros and cons to both; be sure the lender you choose can explain them to you clearly.

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