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A reverse mortgage is an option for homeowners that offer an alternative to traditional loans. The premise of a reverse mortgage is simple: You own your home and have equity, but need cash; the bank will give you the cash, but take your house when you die or move. Reverse mortgages are called "reverse" because they provide funds by taking something (your house) instead of providing something (a loan). Although reverse mortgages can be helpful in certain situations, they are not appropriate for all homeowners