When homeowners are looking for ways to tap into their home equity, Unison is often one of the first companies that come up. But what is Unison? What does it do? Is it worth it for homeowners to enter into a shared equity agreement with Unison? In this article, we will take a closer look at Unison and answer all of these questions and more.
- What is a shared equity agreement?
- Shared Equity Agreement vs. Refinance
- Reasons to go into a shared equity agreement
- What can Unison do for you?
- Who qualifies for Unison?
- Where Is Unison Available?
- Pros and cons of Unison
- How long does Unison take to close a deal?
- How much does Unison charge as fees?
- Unison Alternatives
- What property restrictions are there?
- Unison reviews by actual users
- Final thoughts
What is a shared equity agreement?
A shared equity agreement is an arrangement in which two parties (in this case, Unison and the homeowner) agree to share any increases or decreases in the value of an asset in exchange for cash to the homeowner.
Unison is a company that offers shared equity agreements to homeowners. Under a Unison shared equity agreement, the company agrees to invest an amount of money (equal to 25-30% of the home’s value) in the property, which comes to you in the form of cash up front. In exchange for this investment, Unison becomes a co-owner of the home and receives a percentage of the profits when the home is sold.
This arrangement can be beneficial for homeowners because Unison shoulders some of the financial risks if the home value decreases. Unison also does not charge interest on the money they invest in your home, which can save homeowners a significant amount of money over time.
Shared Equity Agreement vs. Refinance
A shared equity agreement and a refinance are two different ways to access the equity in a property, but they work in different ways.
A shared equity agreement is a type of agreement where an investor provides a homeowner with upfront cash in exchange for a percentage of the home’s future appreciation when it’s sold. Essentially, the investor becomes a partner in the property, and the homeowner pays back the investor’s initial investment, plus a share of the increase in the property’s value. This can be a good option for homeowners who need cash but want to avoid taking out a loan or selling their home.
On the other hand, a refinance is a way to access the equity in a property by taking out a new mortgage with better terms or a larger loan amount than the original mortgage. With a refinance, the homeowner can take out cash from the equity in the home, which can be used for home improvements, debt consolidation, or other expenses. The new mortgage replaces the old one, and the homeowner makes payments on the new loan.
The decision to use a shared equity agreement or a refinance depends on individual circumstances and financial goals. A shared equity agreement may be a good option for homeowners who need cash but don’t want to take out a loan or sell their home. A refinance may be a good option for homeowners who want to access the equity in their home and improve their financial situation with better loan terms or a lower interest rate. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of each option and seek professional advice before making a decision.
Reasons to go into a shared equity agreement
Here are the three main reasons why homeowners might choose to go into a Unison shared equity agreement:
Shared risk: Unison shoulders some of the financial risk if your home value decreases, which can give homeowners peace of mind.
No interest payments: Unison does not charge interest on the money they invest in your home, which can save homeowners a significant amount of money over time.
Flexibility: Unison’s shared equity agreement is flexible, and homeowners can choose to buy Unison out at any time.
What can Unison do for you?
Unison can provide homeowners with the cash they need to pay for home improvements, consolidate debt, or make any major purchases. Unison’s investment is based on the future value of your home, so you won’t have to make any interest payments on the money you borrow from Unison in the meanwhile.
Who qualifies for Unison?
To qualify for Unison, you must:
- Be a homeowner with equity in your home
- Have a credit score of 620 or higher
- Have a debt-to-income ratio of 36% or lower
- Be current on your mortgage payments
- Own a single-family home, townhome, or condo
Where Is Unison Available?
Unison is currently available in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- District of Columbia / Washington D.C.
Pros and cons of Unison: The pros
- Unison can provide homeowners with the cash they need without incurring any interest payments.
- Unison’s shared equity agreement is flexible, and homeowners can choose to buy Unison out at any time.
- Unison is available across several states, unlike some other shared equity agreement companies (i.e. Splitero)
- If your home decreases in value upon selling it, you simply owe Unison what they gave you minus the proportional loss in value of the home, resulting in a net gain for you.
Pros and cons of Unison: The cons
- Unison is still only available in certain states, so be sure to check whether or not Unison is available in your state before signing up.
- Unison requires homeowners to have a credit score of 620 or higher to qualify.
How long does Unison take to close a deal?
Generally it takes Unison about 21-30 days to finalize a deal. However, unforeseen circumstances can make the process take much longer.
How much does Unison charge as fees?
Unison charges a set 3% fee of the total amount of the investment.
What property restrictions are there?
Unison is only available for single-family homes, townhomes, and condos. Unison is not available for co-ops, manufactured homes, or investment properties. Another property restriction is that you can’t be a student or a renter, which means you have to own the home outright, for obvious reasons.
Unison reviews by actual users
Unison has an impressive 4/5 rating on Trustpilot. Here are some of what people say.
Everything ended up being exceptional. From fast responses to working around my scheduling, everything was exactly as explained. I never had customer service like this before. Highly Recommend.
Based on my research of other companies lie this, I felt most comfortable with Unison’s structure. From the very beginning, I received excellent service and communication. The company is amazing and I hope to work with them for years to come.
If you’re a homeowner looking for ways to take advantage of your home equity, Unison may be worth considering. Unison’s shared equity agreement can provide you with the cash you need without incurring any interest payments, and their agreement is flexible, so you can choose to buy Unison out at any time.
We like that it’s another option for homeowners to consider outside of the usual conventional ways of tapping into your home equity. The main factor to consider is if the equity you are giving up in your home is worth the short-term cash. If your house value goes up significantly, you may have given up a lot of potential profit. On the other hand, if your house value drops or stays the same, you may actually benefit from the whole arrangement.
Even though shared equity agreements are not the conventional way of doing things, debt-free instant cash in exchange for equity in your home is an enticing offer, especially if you’re struggling to come up with a down payment for a new home or to manage existing debt.
As always, before signing an agreement this major, we recommend that you speak with a licensed financial advisor to see if shared equity agreements are the best option for your specific situation. We hope this Unison review has been at least somewhat helpful in your decision-making process!