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Unison

2022 review

Unison describes itself as an investor rather than a lender. You can borrow up to hundreds of thousands in home equity, then share the profits with the company when you sell the home.

8.2 / 10
Editorial Score
Andrea Miller
Senior finance writer and editor
April 12, 2022

Overview

Unison claims to offer a debt-free way to tap into your home equity. Instead of making monthly loan payments with interest, you agree to give the company a portion of the sale price of your home in the future.

You can see your Unison offer in seconds. If you decide to move forward, you’ll receive cash in just a few days and have 30 years to settle for the agreed-upon amount. The total you will owe varies based on the total you borrow and your home’s appreciation over the years.

Working with Unison requires a home appraisal. The company also checks your credit and income. If you qualify, you can use this service to get cash for up to 17.5% of your home’s value up to a maximum of $500,000.

GREAT CHOICE 2022
8.2 / 10
Editorial Score
Unison
Quick view:
Editorial Score
8.2 / 10
Online Services
Applications, Quote management, etc.
7.0 / 10
Customer Service
8.0 / 10
Available in all states
6.5 / 10
Available loan types
8.0 / 10
Products
8.0 / 10

Get an Estimate from Unison

Products & Services

Unison allows you to receive cash for up to 17.5% of the value of your home. For example, if your property is worth $300,000, you can take out up to $52,500 to make improvements, pay off high-interest debt, or spend on anything you want. To get an estimate for your particular situation, you can get a free estimate on the company’s website.

Unlike a traditional home equity loan, Unisom does not charge monthly payments or interest. Instead, the company takes a share of the profit when you eventually sell the property, whether the value of your home increases or decreases.

You can terminate your agreement with Unison at any time. Most clients sell their homes and pay the company according to the rates and terms detailed below. However, if you sell in the first five years of your agreement, Unison will not share in a loss resulting from a decrease in home value.

You can also decide to buy Unison out of the agreement after a five-year period. In this scenario, which requires a third-party appraisal, the company does not share in losses. Your agreement also ends if you pass away or if you still own the home after 30 years.

If you end up in a situation where you cannot pay your mortgage, you can request a Protective Advance. These funds from Unison help you catch up on your home loan.

While the company can technically foreclose on your property if you don’t pay your mortgage, it strives to provide flexible solutions that help you keep the home. However, if you owe more than the home’s value and decide to sell, you still have to pay Unison’s calculated share.

Get an Estimate from Unison

Rates and Terms

Unison uses the official appraisal of your home minus a risk adjustment fee of 2.5% to calculate your available funds. Let’s return to the example above. Unison would value the $300,000  property at $292,500 after the risk adjustment. In this case, you could take out cash of up to 17.5% or $51,187.50.

The company’s interactive tools allow you to adjust your offer to meet your needs. If you unlock your home’s maximum cash value. Unison takes a share of 70% of the change in the property’s value when you sell. If you sold that $292,500 home for $350,000 after taking out 17.5%, you owe 70% of your $57,500 profit or $40,250. In this example, you would come out ahead by about $11,000.

Unison’s share decreases with the percentage of equity you decide to cash out. You would owe the company:

  • 60% of the property’s change in value to borrow 15% of its current value
  • 40% of the property’s change in value to borrow 10% of its current value
  • 20% of the property’s change in value to borrow 5% of its current value

Every quarter, the company will send you a statement with the new estimated value of your home. This information can help you sell and repay Unison at the right time to avoid losing money.

Unison also charges a transaction fee of 3% of the property’s appraised value, which would be $8,775 in our example above. You are also responsible for closing costs such as the appraisal fee, which typically total 2 to 3% of the property value.

If you spend money to remodel your home, you do not have to share the associated value increase with Unison. Instead, you can request remodeling adjustment for agreements lasting no more than three years.

Under your agreement with Unison, you must maintain your property in good condition throughout the life of the contract. If you fail to do so, the company can adjust its share of your profits accordingly to account for lost value because of unusual wear and tear.

Get an Estimate from Unison

Application Process and Qualifications

To get an estimate on Unison’s site, you simply enter your street address and click Get an Instant Estimate. On the next page, you must provide your name and email address, then click Continue to see your pending Unison offer.

This process does not impact your credit score. Instead, Unison uses public data to estimate your property value and make an offer accordingly. If you decide to move forward, you must have a third-party valuation of your home by a professional independent appraiser. In some cases, you might also have to have a home inspection.

You may be eligible to work with Unison if you own a single-family home, townhouse, or condo where you live most of the time. The service is only available in Arizona, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Delaware, Colorado, California, North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Nevada, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, and Washington, DC.

To finalize an agreement with Unison, the company will confirm your property value and check your financial information. You must have a credit score of at least 620 and at least 30% equity in your home to qualify. The company also requires a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%. In other words, if you earn $5,000 a month, your monthly debt payments must be less than $2,150.

Get an Estimate from Unison

Approval Time

You can get approval to work with Unison in 5 minutes and final approval within a week or so, but disbursement takes up to 60 days. You will receive the requested cash amount as a lump sum.

Customer Service

Unison offers both email and phone support for current and existing customers, or you can fill out a contact form on the site. The company’s phone line is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Friday. I was a bit disappointed that there was no live chat.

Summary

Unison offers a unique cash-flow solution for homeowners with healthy equity. However, the company’s agreements can be complex, so it’s important to understand exactly how the arrangement works before moving forward. For example, you’ll need to know whether Unison can potentially affect your ability to refinance your home.

You need average-to-good credit and steady income to use Unison. The service could be an option if you’ve made many years of mortgage payments but don’t want to add to your monthly debt.

You may also be able to qualify for Unison even if you don’t have the credit to refinance your home. Unlike with refinancing, you won’t save money over the life of your loan with Unison. In some cases, you may end up owing more than you originally borrowed.

Since the company offers an instant estimate without a credit check, however, it’s easy to see whether Unison makes sense for your situation.

Get an Estimate from Unison

FAQ

How does Unison mortgage work?

Unison is not a mortgage lender. Instead, the company invests in your home in exchange for a portion of the profit increase when you sell in the future. You can borrow against the value of your home without committing to monthly payments and costly interest. To see if it could work for you, you can get a free estimate online.

Is Unison a legitimate company?

Unison is a legitimate service with accreditation and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The company receives funding from institutional investors to invest in residential homes.

What credit score does Unison require?

You must have a credit score of at least 620 to work with Unison.

Andrea Miller
Written by

Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. She has previously covered financial topics for Solvable, Kabbage, and Credit.com. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her husband, daughter, and son and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.

Pros:
  • Approval in seconds and funds within days
  • No payments due until you sell your home
  • Access to mortgage payment assistance
Cons:
  • Can complicate mortgage refinancing
  • Unison can foreclose on the property
  • May owe much more than you receive
Bottom Line

You may want to consider Unison if you want to unlock your home equity but have concerns about committing to a monthly debt payment. To make the most of your arrangement with the company, you should plan to stay in your home for the next 5 years at least. After the 5-year mark, Unison will absorb its share of the loss if your home value decreases.

Although you remain the owner of your home under your agreement with Unison, the company does have a lien on your property. This can create challenges with refinancing your mortgage. If you want a lower mortgage rate or shorter term, you may want to consider refinancing before moving forward with a Unison agreement.