While the federal government requires you to meet with a counselor before taking out a reverse mortgage, the quality of the counseling is uneven. (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is working on new standards for counseling that will require a discussion of the implications of using loan proceeds to buy annuities.)
If you want a rigorous analysis of whether you're better off with a reverse mortgage or a less expensive home, consult a fee-only financial planner. Because fee-only planners don't make commissions from investments they sell you (instead, they charge by the hour), you can be confident that they won't be peddling annuities just to score high fees for themselves. To find one near you, go to napfa.org.