Unlock is a real estate investment company that offers cash payment up to $500,000 in exchange for a percentage of your home’s future resale value. Residential real estate owners in 14 states who have at least 20% equity in their property and a FICO score of at least 500 are typically eligible. The funding process generally takes about 30 days. Unlock is based in San Francisco.
Overall Satisfaction Rating
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- Easy to apply and qualify
- No interest charges
- Informative website
- Only available in 11 states
- 3% origination fee and other fees
Unlock offers up to $500,000 for a percentage of a property’s future value. There are no monthly payments, and you can use the cash for any purpose. A typical deal gives you 10% of today’s home value for 16% of future value.
What is Unlock?
Unlock is a real estate investment company that offers cash payments from $30,000 to $500,000 to homeowners in 14 states in exchange for a percentage of the future value of their home. The company invests in most types of residential real estate, including condominiums, town homes and rental properties. A standard agreement might give you 10% of your home’s current value for 16% of the value when you sell it, with a term lasting up to 10 years.
How does Unlock work?
Unlock’s product is not a loan, and it isn’t a reverse mortgage, according to the company. The company provides cash payments from $30,000 to $500,000 to property owners who agree to let Unlock share in the proceeds of their home in the future. You can use the cash however you want. There are no monthly payments, but you must continue to make your mortgage payments and pay taxes.
To qualify for an Unlock cash investment, you generally need at least 20% equity in your property and a minimum FICO credit score of 500. The amount you can borrow is based on the property value, your housing debt, your credit history and how you use the property. You apply online, providing the documents Unlock requests, and your property undergoes an appraisal and inspection. The process usually takes 30 days.
Unlock places a lien on your property but it doesn’t go on the title (except in rare circumstances). Most terms are for 10 years; you can sell your home or buy out Unlock at any time during that period.
Unlock says on its website that in a common transaction, it might provide an amount of cash equal to 10% of a home’s current value in exchange for 16% of its future value. There is a 3% origination fee, which is due at closing, and you have to pay for third-party appraisal and inspection and recording fees. Unlock states that the “annualized cost” of the agreement, or the average annual cost of the money you get from the company, can never exceed 18%.
- What are the qualifications for Unlock?
You typically need at least 20% equity in your home and a FICO score of at least 500. There is no income requirement, but Unlock may request proof of income in some cases. Most residential properties are eligible, with the exception of prefabricated homes.
- How much money can I get from Unlock?
Unlock offers up to $500,000. The amount you’re eligible for depends on what your home is worth, how much housing debt you have, your credit profile and how you use the home.
- Where is Unlock available?
Unlock is available in 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minneosta, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
- Is Unlock a reverse mortgage?
No, Unlock says its product is not a loan, and there is no interest rate. There are also no age requirements.
- How long does the Unlock process take?
It takes about 30 days, the company says. The application takes only a few minutes (if you have the necessary documents ready), but there are other steps, including an inspection and appraisal. You might be able to finish it in as little as 10 days.
- Do I need a home inspection to use Unlock?
Yes, Unlock requires use of a neutral, third-party inspector from a local, experienced inspection company.
Is Unlock legit?
If you need cash and have at least 20% equity in your home, Unlock is an option to consider. There are many appealing features: You don’t need a specific income or good credit to qualify, you don’t make monthly payments, and you can use the money for anything. However, just because there’s no interest doesn’t mean there aren’t costs. There are upfront charges, and Unlock takes a percentage of the future value of your home. Before signing an agreement with the company, make sure you understand all the terms and have discussed your decision with your heirs.
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It was a really good experience with Unlock. It was pretty quick. I had an email exchange with the agent, he sent me documents, then we had the underwriter at our place all in less than three weeks. The agent helped me a lot on every question I had and that was what made me happy about him. I liked his transparency.
We filled out the application on October 20th, and it was funded December 14th. It got delayed a week because I didn't understand that my wife needed to sign the docs as well. But the one rep that we worked with, Leah, was fantastic. She was very professional along the way. I like that part of it. Joey got back to me right away and took the time to answer the million questions I had.
Unlock could shorten the underwriting. That was the part that took a long time. Also, they send out to third party appraisers for the loan valuation. Even though I know it's a unique property, I was still a little unhappy with the way that part went. The appraisal came in lower than we thought, which is not totally surprising because the property we have is kind of a unique one. But going through how it was going to work on the back end was critical because I thought if the property appraised low then and I sell it in a few years and it's substantially more, that could end up being very costly. Going over the safeguards of it, not going too high or too low, was an important decision-making process. Leah walked me through it and was patient with me while I did the math.
What I didn't like about the application process didn't have to do with the application itself, it had to do with going back to the website and looking at the details because the website wants you to start the application process again when you go back to look at the details. All I wanted was to go back, look at the numbers and calculate the numbers.
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My experience has been so positive. Compared to getting a regular home equity loan, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being difficult, 2. That's how easy and transparent it was. When I got the pre-approval, I had an attorney look it over. But the application itself was very simple. The rep, Jameson, was the best. I ran him through the wringer because I am an informed consumer. I've bought and sold a couple of properties. I just told him upfront, “If this is a scam, you got the wrong person. You will not get a dime.” He just listened and kept presenting himself in such a transparent, reputable manner. I called him 50 times asking the same question in a hundred different ways, and he answered. He sent me documentation. Where he didn't have the answer, he reached out. And just the fact that he answered, whether it was through text, email, or voice call, he found a way. I always got a response.
The rates were reasonable. You have to look at what you're getting. You’re getting a lump sum of money that you're not paying interest on. You're not making monthly. But what gets me about the whole refinance thing is the monthly payments. You can get a home equity loan, but now you've got monthly payments. So it's catch-22. I got my money within 24 hours after we did the closing papers. This is for 10 years. So, what else is there in life that gives you that kind of peace of mind? I have to keep up the property. Maintain the agreements that I signed for. But the bottom line is, I got my $70,000, and I moved on with my life the next day. You can't beat this.
Unlock explained everything to me. They told me how the process works. What I am doing is I'm borrowing against the equity that’s in my home. When I take the loan out, I have to keep it for at least six months. I don't have any interest or any payments until the end of 10 years. At any time after six months, I can do away with the loan. Unlock sends an appraiser in. Whatever the house appraises for, I pay them back 16% minus what I already got. So, I got 35,000. Let's say their portion is going to be 50,000. I take 35 off of 50 and that's what you I them back. It's more than fair because I have a fifty-fifty chance that the housing market is going to take a dump. So, it's a win-win for the homeowner. It works really good.
The reps sent me all the information over the computer so I could read it before I sign the final documents. We did the process from start to finish in two weeks’ time and it was perfect. They were very efficient. They went through the whole process with me and they told me everything. I would recommend Unlock to anybody.
My wife and I are getting ready to move into an RV and I was told it's easier to get financing if you own your home still. We looked into Unlock because I want to pull out some equity, and then, before we sell the house, buy the RV, and then sell the house. Unlock's application process was simple, quick and easy. Shawn was my loan officer and he told me what I needed to do and we took care of it. I talked to him a couple of times in between after submitting all the information and it was perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The rates are a little bit steep, but that's what you expect when you get into a loan like this or an investment.
Yvette, a woman that I've worked with on mortgage refi from the past year, referred Unlock to me. She put me in touch with a man named Kevin, and he was only person I spoke with at Unlock. He was very helpful, respectful, professional, and I appreciated his assistance. We communicated first through emails then he had a phone call with me that gave me an overview of what the services were. He then sent me information in writing in regards to when I reviewed it, got clear about what the numbers were and the expectations.
I let Kevin know that I was interested, and we went through the process of filling out papers, signing documents and closed it with a notary that they sent to my home. The process took two and a half months, and it was smooth. The only thing that was a delay for us was communication, back and forth through emails. Also, I wish the rates were lower, but the terms seem reasonable. Anybody lending money needs to make some money off of it, so it's not too bad.
Do NOT do business with Unlock in any way, shape, or form unless you plan on giving the farm away. I'll make a long story short on their lending tactics. During the process, they will send somebody to come and "appraise" your home. This person comes and takes pictures which gets sent to a third party company. This 3rd party company will then completely undervalue your home by a very large amount.... about 15% in my case. They take all the comps from the area and they actually REDUCE the comp number to "adjust" the value of the home to what THEY THINK the value is and NOT the actual market value. So that offer your getting now becomes a much smaller offer or in some cases no offer at all after wasting all your time. What do you think will happen when Unlock wants to collect their money in 10 years?
They will more than likely send a REAL appraiser because the reality is that on the initial appraisal it's NOT a real appraisal where they do actual measurements of your home. Meaning that based on my observation on going through the process they are actively trying to get your home “appraised” for as little as possible so they can collect a much larger payment when it’s time to pay up after your term is complete. The 3rd party appraisal companies they use are a nationwide company that knows nothing about your area, home, or neighborhood. There are a couple of other competitors that use real appraisers to give you the real value of your home and not try to actively rip you off. STAY CLEAR of this company at all cost!!
Thanks for reaching out with your experience. We did an audit of your file and we ordered an independent, licensed, third-party appraisal with the goal of providing you a fair valuation of the property. These independent, third party appraisers do not adjust values on our behalf as you indicated in your review. A senior member of our operations team will be reaching out to discuss your file and appraisal in detail.
I reached out to somebody that got back to me. I went to fill out paperwork. After that, it took a couple of weeks and I got the closing documents. We then did the appraisal and that was it. It was easy and straightforward. The rate is too high. But I got what I needed and the answer I wanted.
Using Unlock was an easy process. The rep was very helpful. He took my calls when I had extra questions. The long term terms aren't very good, but it's good getting a loan as quick as it was. If you need cash, call Unlock.
Getting a loan was easy, and the rate and terms seemed fair. The rep was great as well.
The reps were very efficient, and the loan process was very simple. The rate and terms were reasonable too.
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