With a traditional second mortgage, or a home equity line of credit, you must have sufficient income versus debt ratio to qualify for the loan and you are required to make monthly mortgage payments. The reverse mortgage is different in that it pays you, and is available regardless of your current income. The amount you can borrow depends on your age, the current interest rate, and the appraised value of your home.
You don’t make payments because the loan is not due as long as the house is your principal residence. Like all homeowners you still are required to pay your real estate taxes, insurance, and other conventional payments like utilities. Also, with a reverse mortgage you cannot be foreclosed on or forced to vacate your house because you missed your mortgage payment.