Please explain how a reverse mortgage works?

My grandfather built my house in the early to mid 1920s. There has been no mortgage on the house or property in ages. My grandmother passed it on to my dad and my dad to my mom. My mom moved out of state and even tho she still holds the deed I am now raising my family here and hope to pass it on to one of my kids... show more My grandfather built my house in the early to mid 1920s. There has been no mortgage on the house or property in ages. My grandmother passed it on to my dad and my dad to my mom. My mom moved out of state and even tho she still holds the deed I am now raising my family here and hope to pass it on to one of my kids and so on. The problem is the upkeep on this house has been neglected and is badly in need of many major repairs we can not afford. I've thought about getting a mortgage to pay for the repairs but right now there is no way me or my mom can afford that either. Recently she mentioned she could qualify for a reverse mortgage in two years when she turns 65. She said as long as she's living nothing would be owed on that mortgage but after she dies I would be responsible for paying it off. which, I hope she has a good 15-20 years left till then and I would be in a position to afford the payments. Can someone simply explain to me how a reverse mortgage works. I can't understand all the technical and legal jargon and my mom tends to overlook the important points when it's something she wants. We desperately need to do something to get these repairs done and if it's as easy as she says I would agree to it. I would just never forgive my mom if something she did caused us to lose this house. Along with an explanation I welcome any serious suggestions of other option we may have. Thanks
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