Unison

Unison Reviews

Unison Reviews
3.4(8)
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About Unison

Founded in 2004, Unison offers equity sharing agreements (ESAs) to homeowners who wish to cash in on up to 17.5% of their home equity. In exchange, Unison will share in your home’s future change in value, up or down. While Unison does not charge an interest rate or monthly payment, you will pay a 3% transaction fee, appraisal fee and settlement cost.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No monthly payment or interest charged
  • 30-year term
Cons
  • Not available in all states
  • Additional fees

Rates

Unison does not charge interest, so you don’t have to worry directly about mortgage rates.

Your Unison agreement is good for 30 years, at which point you will need to sell or buy back your portion from Unison. At any time, you are able to sell your home, but if it is within the first five years of the agreement, Unison will not share in any loss in value your home might have. After five years of the agreement, Unison will share the loss of value, and you are able to sell or buy back your portion at any time.

Application process

Unison’s application process is completely online and is not as demanding as going through the mortgage process. When you submit the application, the company will perform a soft pull on your credit to see if you qualify. Unison will never do a hard inquiry on your credit; instead, it continues doing soft inquiries throughout your agreement to ensure you meet credit standards.

Once your application is approved, you will receive an independent appraisal. Based on this appraisal, Unison will then apply a 5% risk adjustment. This means if your home appraises for $400,000, Unison will adjust it to $380,000 as the original agreed value.

You still own your home, but Unison will place a lien on your property. You will not be able to legally sell it without complying with Unison’s agreement. Additionally, Unison can dictate certain terms; for example, in most cases, you will not be able to turn your home into a rental property while Unison still has the lien.

Carol, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Charleston, South Carolina, had this to say about their experience with Unison: "Can’t say enough good things about how responsive, kind, patient and knowledgeable my customer service rep was. … Now, my life, home and credit score have dramatically improved. I’m out of debt, my badly deteriorating home is good as new, and my daughter’s wedding paid for!"

Loan types

Unison specializes in one product – home equity sharing agreements. Depending on your credit score and how much equity you have available, you can cash in on up to 15% of your equity. In exchange, you allow Unison to have a portion of your proceeds on the future value of your home – which could be a win or loss for them depending on market conditions.

Refinancing

Home equity sharing agreements are an alternative to refinancing. Unlike refinancing, entering an ESA does not change your interest rate or your monthly payment. When you refinance your home, you can see your monthly payment go up or down, depending on your new interest rate and how much equity you convert to cash.

Requirements

Applicants need a FICO score of at least 620. Your credit score will determine your loan-to-value (LTV) requirement. Applicants with excellent credit can have a maximum LTV ratio of 70%.

Unison primarily invests in owner-occupied homes, meaning you live in your home at least 180 days out of the year and are not gone from your home for more than 60 consecutive days. Unison may sometimes invest in rental properties, but the terms may differ; you should contact Unison for more details. It is also recommended that you plan to stay in your home at least five years after the agreement, since Unison will not share in any loss of your home value if you sell your home within the first five years of the agreement. You can buy out your agreement at any time, but Unison will not share in any loss.

Signing up for a Unison agreement when you have more house than you can afford will not fix your financial situation.

Costs and fees

Upfront, Unison allows borrowers to access 15% of their equity without any monthly fees or interest. However, the process is not without fees. Expect to pay a 3.9% transaction fee based on the investment amount you receive, appraisal costs and settlement costs. Appraisal costs generally range from $650 to $1,050, and settlement costs range from $700 to $1,750. If you end up not using Unison, you will not be charged any fees.

When considering if a home equity sharing agreement is the right choice for you, compare it with the closing costs and APR of a cash-out refinance, home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC).

FAQ

What is Unison?

Unison is a real estate investment company that allows homeowners to convert up to 15% of their equity into cash in exchange for a portion of a home’s future change in value.

Is Unison legit?

Unison is a legitimate business founded in 2004 and based in San Francisco, California, and Omaha, Nebraska.

Where is Unison available?

Unison is available in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Unison is unavailable in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Unison Reviews

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    Loan Process

    Reviewed April 11, 2024

    At the time of joining, this program seemed like a dream. Unfortunately, the smoke has cleared a bit and the dream is not at all what it initially was. The company says it works with “most banks and lenders” and “contact for list of companies”, but I have been given only one option who does not even offer home equity loans. Banks who will subordinate still will not take Unison‘s subordination agreement because of the legal writing within the Unison contract. This has been a disaster and speaking with someone who actually understands the process and contract has been a challenge. I very much wish I had sought a personal loan or traditional home equity loan from the beginning.

    Unison
    Unison
    Pinned

    Thanks for the feedback. Unison has an extensive customer education & disclosure process. We encourage questions & seeking outside advice where needed. If you are looking to refinance your mortgage, we do work with most lenders; however, the market is always changing & there’s no guarantee that lender guidelines will remain static. If a customer plans to refinance, we recommend that they do so before partnering with us. To determine if we can assist you further, someone will be reaching out.

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      Loan ProcessRates

      Reviewed Feb. 1, 2024

      I have tried with 4 lenders and credit unions to take out a $50k home equity loan and have been rejected by all only because of the Unison Agreement. Unison tells you they will subordinate to 3rd position but still no banks will lend because of Unison's ownership interest and equity stake. Unison even sent me some lenders who supposedly have worked with them in the past and when I spoke with one of them he told me that the only way it used to work is if Unison removes their lien and puts it back on street the homeowner gets their loan. l, and now they have stopped doing it.

      I have been asking them to do it for me and told them I will sign the documents in advance to put their lien back on, anything they want, and they still won't do anything for me. I will end my contract as soon as the value decreases more and I can find the right timing. I would urge others not to bother with doing this unless they don't think they will ever need to borrow again on their home's equity.

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Hi Jeanna, we’re sorry to hear of your difficulty obtaining a home equity loan. When customers like you choose to refinance, Unison works with most mortgage lenders & often agrees to subordinate. But mortgage lenders are third parties whose requirements often change; Unison advises that some may decline, & that customers who want to refinance should do so before their agreement. We provide the list of lenders as courtesy, keep it as up to date as we can, & have removed the mentioned lender.

      Reviewed Jan. 22, 2024

      Updated on 1/29/24: Numerous lawyers, lobbyists, and legislators are working on a bill that would change legislation to stop allowing companies like Unison to take so much of people’s equity in their home. Unison will try to sell you on the benefits, but don’t be fooled, no one wins except them. It’s robbery. Pure and simple.

      Original review: This is a predatory lending company that preys on people in debt. They have found a way to circumvent all consumer protection & fair lending laws by calling themselves an “equity sharing” company. Don’t fall for it. As one of their recent victims I lost ALL the equity in my home to them. They took $161,000 for a $35,000 loan. Do not make the mistake I did. Their contracts are so convoluted, even attorneys can’t understand them. Never do business with them. Run as fast and as far as you can.

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Krystal-thanks for your review. We created our equity sharing agreements as a loan alternative, since traditionally accessing equity meant taking out a loan. We invest alongside homeowners, giving cash in exchange for an option to share in their home's future change in value. We only share in the equity that is created. If the house goes up in value, we win together; if it goes down, we share in the loss. We emphasize education, welcome questions,&recommend customers meet with financial advisors

      Vilma

      I agreed with you . My husband made a mistake, got a loan with this company , they told him they told him they will share 50% of the equity , but the contract said they will take a 70% of equity . I was in another state when him did that . The agreement is a complicated , I guess the purpose is to take the more equity they can. I hope the bill pass , and pay the loan as a second mortgage .

      Reviewed Nov. 24, 2023

      I have over $400,000 in documented equity. I was rejected due to having too little equity. I don't understand how this company decides to work with you, if at all. And they gave me no opportunity to appeal. Stay away

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned
      Scott,

      Thanks for your feedback. I messaged you for more info so that we can better assist. We consider investment based on a number of factors, including estimated available equity, which is based on title records and/or well-established automated valuation models. If you believe we are mistaken, we'd be glad to look into this. Please respond to our private message at your convenience. Although it is our hope to assist as many homeowners as possible, regrettably we are not a fit for everyone.

      Customer ServiceStaff

      Reviewed April 1, 2023

      Unison representatives start by telling you how great their program is. When you try and buy yourself out they give you the run around, block your emails, and charge you more than double what they gave.

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your honest feedback. We apologize to hear about the frustrating experience you had with us when trying to buy out your Unison Agreement–we take all feedback and suggestions seriously. I sent you a direct message to find out more details about how we can further assist you.

      Talk soon,
      KA

      The Unison Team

      Customer Service

      Reviewed Nov. 30, 2022

      Anonymous. Would not recommend. Very slow to communicate, and they denied my application despite perfect credit because they said the appraisal “was too high”. The appraisal was actually undervaluing the property as is common with appraisers being conservative. I offered to provide comps but they failed to respond to multiple emails. Bottom line is that Unison is going to turn down your application unless the appraisal is a joke -- i.e. unless it's an absolutely terrible deal for the homeowner. This company should be investigated.

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Hi Islam,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a review; we value your feedback. To see a more detailed response to your concerns, please refer to our response on the other platform you left a comment on.

      Best wishes,
      KA

      The Unison Team

      Customer ServiceSales & Marketing

      Reviewed Sept. 9, 2022

      I live in a million dollar house in an upscale community and was approved four months ago by Unison to tap into my home equity. I was promised the amount, got my home appraised and signed all the papers, in person, and now am told by the company that they've run out of money. "Market conditions" is their excuse. Their "communicators" who you can only reach by email because they refuse to answer their phones, are constantly posting "out of office" notices. The scam has wasted four months and many hours of my time with needless delays and excuses.

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Hi Bette,

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. We apologize for the understandably frustrating experience you had with us. We understand how important it is for homeowners to receive their investments in a timely manner; unfortunately last summer there were some factors outside of our control that caused unprecedented delays. Please feel free to email us at together@unison.com if there is anything we can help with or if you would like to continue the conversation.

      Thank you,
      KA

      The Unison Team

      Customer ServiceStaff

      Reviewed July 3, 2022

      The help and individual attention I received from Unison was truly terrific! Can’t say enough good things about how responsive, kind, patient & knowledgeable my customer service rep was. He definitely inspired confidence and trust. Now, my life, home and credit score have dramatically improved. I’m out of debt, my badly deteriorating home is good as new, and my daughter’s wedding paid for! All due to Unison. Again, I couldn’t be happier and will remain ever grateful!

      Unison
      Unison
      Pinned

      Hi Carol,

      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We’re happy to hear that you were able to utilize the benefits that Unison offers. Please reach out to us anytime if there’s anything we can do to help–we are in this together.

      Best wishes,
      KA

      The Unison Team

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      Unison Company Information

      Company Name:
      Unison
      Website:
      www.unison.com