Unlock Review 2023 (Pros and Cons) Access Home Equity
Unlock your home’s equity without loans or interest. Discover this unique option for homeowners!
In 2022, Americans had almost $31 trillion in home equity. If you’re a homeowner, then some of that value is yours!
But how to get the equity out of your home?
Well, there are the traditional models to consider: HELOCs, home equity loans, cash-out refinancing, and more.
But here’s another option: Unlock, a service that lets you access your home equity without a loan.
No loan? But that means no interest..and no monthly payments!
Yup – exactly!
In this Unlock review, I’ll explain how it works and how you can decide if it’s right for you.
Looking for a faster way to get the cash you need to cover a big expense without putting it on a credit card or applying for a loan and getting into debt? Well, if you’re a homeowner, you can get that cash by tapping into your home’s future property value right now with Unlock.
Unlock is a home equity sharing company. It helps homeowners use the equity they have in their homes to obtain large sums of money quickly without having to take out a loan or open a line of credit of any kind. Instead, the company will offer you a calculated amount of cash in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds you get from the sale of your house in the future (this part is key).
How it works:
- Unlock offers cash amounts ranging between $30,000 and $500,000 — the amount is determined by your home’s value and how much you still owe on it
- Once you have the money Unlock has agreed to give you, it’s yours to do whatever you want with
- There are no qualifying income requirements, but a FICO score of at least 500 is needed to apply
- An Unlock contract has a 10-year term, during which a homeowner can sell their house or buy out Unlock’s share to terminate the contract
The best part about this method is that since you’re not borrowing money, there’s no risk of debt. If you need a big chunk of cash quickly this is very cost-effective.
Important to note, Unlock is only available in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state.Get the cash you need with help from Unlock today
What is Unlock?
Unlock is a service that provides home equity agreements (HEAs), allowing you to receive money upfront in exchange for a portion of your home’s future value.
Here’s the basic idea:
Your property’s value will (hopefully) increase over time. When you sell your home, that increase in value becomes profit. If you have an agreement with Unlock, you’ll get money upfront. Then, when you sell your home, an agreed-upon share of the profits will go to them.
So it’s sort of like a loan in that you get something now, then pay it back later.
But unlike a loan, you won’t have to worry about monthly payments or interest.
Still not sure? Check out this video for a better understanding of Unlock and home equity agreements:
How Does Unlock Work?
It’s time for this Unlock review to get a bit more specific about how the process works.
The first step is to arrange a “home equity agreement.”
This is a 4-step process:
- Step 1: Use Unlock’s website to get an estimate of how much equity you could take out of your home. Unlock gives homeowners access to up to $500,000.
- Step 2: Apply online. After submitting your application, Unlock will reach out to an independent third party to complete an appraisal and title report. This determines your property’s current value.
- Step 3: Receive an offer, decide how much equity you’ll take out, and sign the necessary documents. You’ll also have to pay a closing fee (3.9% of the money you’ll receive) and the cost of the independent appraisal.
- Step 4: Receive the funds by wire transfer within a few days.
So that’s the fun part – getting your money!
But how will you pay them back?
When you sign the deal, you’ll agree to share a certain percentage of your home’s future value.
Let’s imagine the number is 25%. If your home is worth $400,000 when you “settle” the agreement, then you’ll have to give Unlock $100,000.
Unlock offers 10-year terms. This means you have ten years to settle your agreement. There are two ways to do this:
Option 1 is to sell your home, then use the money from the sale to pay Unlock their share. This is sort of the default option or the premise for the whole strategy. The idea is that selling the home will give you the money you need to settle your home equity agreement.
But you don’t have to sell.
Option 2 is to buy Unlock out. This means paying them the agreed-upon share of your home’s value without selling your house.
Unlock Vs. Home Equity Loan
So the point of Unlock is to take equity out of your home, which is what a home equity loan does, too.
And with both strategies, you get a lump sum right at the start of the agreement. But that’s where the similarities end.
Here are the key differences:
- With Unlock, you don’t have to make monthly payments. Repaying Unlock happens all at once – when you buy them out or sell your home.
- There’s no interest with Unlock. Yes, the amount you owe could increase, but only alongside the rising value of your home.
- Unlock’s minimum credit score requirement is only 500. For home equity loans, a score above 700 is the general target.
Unlock Vs. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
Home equity lines of credit, often called HELOCs, offer another way to tap the equity in your home.
Here are some key differences between Unlock and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs):
- Unlock gives you money upfront in a lump sum. HELOCs, on the other hand, give you access to a line of credit that you can draw from as you choose.
- Unlock has no monthly payments or interest. While HELOCs act like credit cards – with interest, monthly bills, and all that not-so-fun stuff – Unlock lets you forget about the agreement until it’s time to settle.
- It’s easier to qualify for Unlock than a HELOC. Is your credit score in rough shape? Unlock is still an option as long as your score is above 500, while a HELOC would require something closer to 680.
Is Unlock Legit?
Unlock is a genuine company with real estate licenses in the states where it operates.
It’s also an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, where it receives an A rating.
So for me, Unlock checks all the boxes. It’s got the green light from state governments AND an independent organization that’s dedicated to promoting fair business practices.
That doesn’t mean Unlock is the right choice for you, but it does mean they’re not a pack of scammers.
Is Unlock Safe?
Unlock is totally safe in the sense that you won’t get defrauded.
These folks aren’t crooks – just look at their positive online reviews. That means you can send them your information without worry.
But is signing a home equity agreement with Unlock a safe financial move?
Usually, but, as with most financial strategies, there is an element of risk. If you fail to pay your property taxes and make your payments on your primary mortgage, Unlock could initiate a foreclosure.
Pros and Cons of Unlock
Is Unlock a valuable service? I think so.
But is it completely free of downsides? Of course not.
Nothing’s perfect, no free lunches. You know how it goes.
The goal is to come away from this Unlock review with a full idea of what the service can do.
- No monthly payments. You don’t have to pay Unlock back until you settle with them at the end of your agreement (up to 10 years).
- No interest. This isn’t a loan – which means there isn’t any interest.
- Applying is quick and easy. From getting your initial estimate to receiving your funds, Unlock keeps things simple.
- There’s no income requirement. Unlock is more interested in your home’s value than your monthly earnings.
- The minimum credit score is 500. That’s a lot lower than you’ll see for most financial services.
- You’ll lose part of your profit when selling your home. This is what you’re giving up instead of making monthly payments.
- Unlock is only available in 15 states. Can’t find your state on the list? Then check out these other companies offering home equity agreements.
- There’s a 3.9% origination fee. You’ll pay this at the start of the agreement.
- You could be forced to sell your home. You’ll have ten years to settle the agreement with Unlock. If you can’t afford to buy them out, you’ll have to sell. That’s why Unlock is best for people who plan on selling their homes anyway.
Unlock is still a relatively “non-traditional” solution. It’s not as popular as home equity loans, which is reflected in the number of Unlock reviews you see online.
Are you looking for the Unlock reviews Reddit users have been posting? If so, you might not find any.
That doesn’t mean Unlock isn’t legit – because it is. It just means the service is still under the radar.
But there are other online Unlock reviews to consider.
On the ConsumerAffairs website, Unlock has a 4-star rating from reviewers. One user praised the company’s transparency and customer service.
Another user lamented having to “jump through hoops” to get their payment approved, and yet they still gave Unlock a 5-star rating.
Imagine being that satisfied even after a major hiccup!
One user gave Unlock a single star but praised the company’s customer service in the process!
Their beef? That Unlock’s pricing model seemed unfair. And I can see their point.
You do end up paying a lot more money than you receive. But then, that’s sort of a necessary downside with most financial services that give you an upfront payment.
Is Unlock Worth It?
Ah, the most important question of all, and the one without a simple answer.
Unlock is worth it for some people but not for others.
Do you need money ASAP, and are you planning on selling your home in the next ten years? Then Unlock is an interesting option.
Are you planning on living in your home for decades, and are you counting on maintaining all your home equity? Then Unlock isn’t for you.
Commonly Asked Questions About Unlock
What are Alternatives to Unlock?
Hometap and Unison are alternatives to Unlock. They use the same model: Paying you money upfront in exchange for a share of your home’s future value. They’re also available in different states. This makes them great options for people living where Unlock doesn’t operate.
Is Unlock a Reverse Mortgage?
Unlock is not a reverse mortgage. Unlike a reverse mortgage, Unlock doesn’t count as a loan. Unlock is also available to people of any age, while reverse mortgages are only for people aged 62 and over.
What Credit Score Does Unlock Require?
Unlock requires a credit score of 500 or higher – which is remarkably reasonable! One small caveat: Folks with a score under 550 may face additional requirements.
Does Unlock Require an Appraisal?
Unlock will conduct an appraisal of your home as part of the underwriting process. But don’t worry. They’ll use an independent third-party appraiser, so the process is clean and fair. The goal isn’t to pull a fast one but to make sure they understand the true value of your home.
Is Unlock a Legit Company?
Unlock is a totally legitimate company with real estate licenses from the states where it operates. It also has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
What Percentage Does Unlock Take?
The percentage of your home’s value that Unlock takes will depend on the terms of your specific agreement. As the client, you’ll have a say in deciding those terms. The more money you take upfront, the larger percentage of the value you’ll have to give them when you settle.