Are you searching for ways to tap into your home’s equity? Many traditional home equity loan products can get you the cash you need, but you’ll often be stuck making steep monthly payments to the lender (or an even larger mortgage balance).
Alternatively, you could explore a unique funding solution from Unison that turns your equity into cash without tacking on monthly debt payments.
What is Unison?
Unison is a company that specializes in providing innovative funding solutions to homeowners. Made up of financial and real estate professionals, it offers equity sharing agreements that homeowners can use to finance their lifestyles without added debt.
What is the Unison HomeOwner Program?
Homeowners can use this program to convert a portion of their home’s equity into cash through an equity sharing agreements. You won’t be charged interest or incur additional debt with the transaction. Even better, you won’t pay Unison until you sell your home, reach the end of the 30-year term, or buy out the contract.
Unison shares in the increase of your home’s value over time. If you stay in your property for five years or longer, Unison will also share in the decrease of your home’s value when you sell or the term ends. That means Unison wins when you win – making the equity sharing agreement a true partnership, unlike loan offerings who profit by charging you interest.
How Does Unison HomeOwner Work?
Unison converts a portion of your home equity into cash and disburses it directly to you. This arrangement, referred to as an equity sharing agreement, is not a loan. You won’t make any monthly payments or accrue any interest, and only pay Unison when you sell your home, reach the 30-year maximum term, default on your agreement, or when the last homeowner on the agreement passes away. You also have the option to buy Unison out of the agreement.
When the agreement ends, you will pay Unison an amount equal to the original investment amount plus Unison’s share of the home’s change in value. An independent third-party appraisal or sales price determines this figure.
Don’t want to sell or buy Unison out? At the 30-year mark, you may have the option to refinance your home and use a portion of the loan proceeds to pay Unison. However, that option may not always be available and you may need to sell the home.
How Much Home Equity You Can Unlock
You can unlock up to 17.5 percent of your home’s value through Unison HomeOwner. Investment amounts range from $30,000 to $500,000. The amount most homeowners receive is generally lower than the maximum co-investment amount.
Costs and Fees of Unison HomeOwner
Unison assesses a one-time transaction fee of 3.0 percent of the initial investment to the homeowner, payable at closing. The homeowner is also responsible for the appraisal cost and settlement fees. However, Unison does not charge any additional application fee.
Types of Property Unison Will Consider
Unison will consider owner-occupied primary residences, including single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses. If you own a second property, you may also be eligible for an equity sharing agreement with Unison. To determine your property’s eligibility, input the address into the online tool, call a team member to learn more, or get pre-qualified for Unison HomeOwner online.
What You Can Spend the Cash of Unison HomeOwner On
You’re free to use the funds from Unison however you see fit. However, most homeowners apply the funds to high-interest debts, fund a home renovation or second home, boost their nest egg, or invest the capital into a business idea or entrepreneurial venture.
How Unison Compares to Other Programs
Wondering how Unison stacks up against the competition? Here’s how it compares to other programs:
Unison HomeOwner Vs. HELOC
If you take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you’ll have access to capital during what’s referred to as a draw period. During this time, you’ll also make interest-only payments to the lender for any funds you withdraw up to the credit limit. When the draw period ends, you will no longer have access to the capital, and repayment for any outstanding principal and interest will commence.
On the other hand, Unison disburses the cash for the agreement in a lump sum, and you won’t have to concern yourself with payments for up to 30 years, unless you decide to sell your home or buy out the contract.
Unison HomeOwner Vs. a Reverse Mortgage
Reverse mortgages come with fixed and variable interest rates and are only available to homeowners who are 62 years of age or older. If approved, you receive your home’s equity in fixed monthly payments, a lump sum, or a line of credit. In turn, you make no payments to the lender until you sell your property or pass away.
Unison does not have age restrictions, and you won’t make monthly payments or accrue any interest on the agreement. Furthermore, the agreement is not payable until you sell your home within the mandatory 30-year window. You also have the option to buy out the agreement.
Unison HomeOwner Vs. a Loan
When you take out a loan, the lender expects repayments to start shortly after. You’ll make equal monthly installments over an extended term until the loan is paid in full. However, Unison doesn’t expect payment for up to 30 years, which can give you the financial relief you need, along with the ability to cover high-interest debts, home renovations, or other pressing big-ticket expenses.
The Unison HomeOwner Program Pros and Cons
There are many reasons why homeowners choose the HomeOwner program:
- Convert your home’s equity to cash without incurring debt
- Transparent qualification criteria
- No monthly payments
- Use the money how you see fit
- If you sell after 5 years, any depreciation of your home’s value will be shared by Unison (up to the amount of the original home investment amount)
Key points to keep in mind:
- A transaction fee of 3.0 percent
- Unison must be paid after 30 years
- Unison will own a share of your home’s increase in value
- If you choose to buy Unison out, Unison will not share in any decrease in value
Unison HomeOwner Reviews
- Joseph M. (BBB review): An excellent program to help those with tight budgets, but don’t wish to add any more monthly payments. Unique in its flexibility for helping with future home improvements or repairs that may be needed. I have not encountered such a financial opportunity such as this one. Professional, thorough, and flexible. Best program I have ever experienced!
- Deborah A. (BBB review): Our experience with Unison has been great! The application was easy to follow, the telephone call with our rep made everything clear, the inspection and appraisal were scheduled and performed with ease, and then we received our check. We decided that since we have owned our home for 19 years and plan to stay until we’re “gone”, the homeowner’s program was good for us. It made sense to use our equity now, before retirement, to ensure our home would not be a maintenance drain. We have been able to pay off the recently purchased kitchen appliances, and furnace, and a/c. along with adding a new patio door; wood floors; entry sidewalk and steps; garage doors and openers; and soon, the exterior painting and minor landscaping projects will be done. We couldn’t have done it without Unison’s investment and look forward to enjoying our home again.
- Richard (Trustpilot review): Great customer service. The process was explained carefully, so we understood the program and the benefit to us. We are informed quarterly about our status, and any questions are answered promptly and courteously.
How to Qualify for Unison HomeOwner
Generally, you want to meet the minimum qualification criteria to secure an equity sharing agreement with Unison:
- Middle FICO score of 650 or higher
- A reasonable debt-to-income (DTI) ratio (which will depend on your credit score)
- A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio that does not exceed 70 percent
How to Get Started with Unison HomeOwner
It’s easy to get started with Unison HomeOwner. Follow the steps below to get the ball rolling:
- Step 1: Get pre-qualified with Unison by completing the brief online questionnaire.
- Step 2: Complete a full application if you’re pre-qualified. If you’d prefer to speak with a live representative, feel free to call Unison directly.
- Step 3: If your application is credit-approved, a member of the Unison team will reach out to schedule a home appraisal.
- Step 4: Examine your offer letter, closing package, and sign your documents.