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Unison is a home co-investment company that provides homeowners with up to 17.5% of a property’s current value in cash today in exchange for sharing in the home’s future change in value. The Unison HomeOwner program lets you use the funds however you want for up to 30 years or until you sell the home. Unison is available in 28 states and has worked with more than 7,800 homeowners.
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- Use the funds how you want
- Get up to 17.5% of home value in cash
- Preapproval with no effect on credit
- Limited availability
- Five-year restriction period
- 3% transaction fee, third-party costs
Unison co-invests in homes, offering owners in 28 states up to $500,000 in exchange for a percentage of future gains. There are no monthly payments or interest fees. You can apply online or over the phone after preapproval.
What is Unison?
Unison is a San Francisco-based home co-investment company that was founded in 2004. It provides homeowners in 28 states and Washington D.C. with cash representing up to 17.5% of the home’s value, up to $500,000, in exchange for a percentage of the home’s future change in value when you sell or after 30 years.
If the value of your home increases, you pay back the original amount plus a percentage of the appreciation.
How does Unison work?
Unison’s HomeOwner program is designed for owner-occupied, primary residences in 28 states and Washington, D.C. The company provides homeowners who qualify with up to 17.5% of the value of the home in cash, up to $500,000. The minimum investment amount is $30,000. You can use the cash for any purpose. Once you sell the house or after 30 years, Unison gets a portion of the sales amount in accordance with the agreement.
You can start the process with Unison by seeking preapproval online, which doesn’t affect your credit. From there, you fill out an application online or over the phone.
Unison evaluates your credit and income. It also works with you to set up an appraisal, then gives you an offer and closing package. If you choose to sign the offer, you get access to the funds in as few as three days, and Unison places a lien on the property and records a memorandum of agreement.
The amount of equity you can get from your home depends on your personal situation. As an example, say your home is appraised at $500,000. Unison reduces the amount by a “risk adjustment” of 2.5% to an “Original Agreed Value,” which is used as the basis for future change in value.
You then decide to accept an offer of $50,000 and agree that Unison’s share of the change in value will be 40%. Fifteen years later, you decide to sell your home, which has increased in value by $100,000. Unison’s share would be 40% of that, or $40,000, and you would pay Unison $90,000 ($50,000 plus $40,000).
On the other hand, if the value fell by $100,000, Unison would share 40% of that loss, or $40,000, and you would pay it $10,000 ($50,000 minus $40,000).
Unison charges a 3% transaction fee at closing. You are also responsible for appraisal costs, settlement costs and other third-party fees. Unison says appraisal fees range from $450 to $1,250 and settlement fees range from $700 to $1,750.
Unison’s share in the property’s future change in value depends on the amount of co-investment (how much you borrow). The percentage share is generally four times the percentage initially invested. So, if you borrow 10% of the home’s value, Unison’s share is typically 40% of the change in value.
- What are the qualifications for Unison?
- Unison requires a FICO score of at least 620. Guidelines for loan-to-value (LTV) and debt-to-income (DTI) depend on your credit score. The allowable LTV and DTI decrease as your credit score decreases.
- How much money can I get from Unison?
- The maximum amount is $500,000 or 17.5% of the home’s value (whichever is less). The amount you can get is based on your personal situation.
- Where is Unison available?
- Unison is currently available in 28 states and Washington, D.C. These states include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Will Unison own my home?
- No, you will continue to own your home. Unison is not an owner. Unison does place a lien on the property and records a memorandum of agreement.
- Is Unison a good idea?
- Unison gives homeowners the opportunity to get cash out of their homes without having to make monthly payments back. However, it’s not a good idea for everyone. You shouldn’t consider Unison if you don’t plan to stay in your home for at least five years, for example. You also should be cautious about working with Unison if you plan on refinancing.
Is Unison legit?
Unison is a legitimate option for homeowners or homebuyers. It has been in business for over 15 years and has worked with close to 8,000 homeowners, according to its website. However, it’s not a good option for everyone, especially those who don’t plan to stay in their homes over the long term. Keep in mind that even though Unison uses the term “co-investment,” you are essentially borrowing money, and if your home value increases, you could eventually owe Unison more than the initial investment.
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