Home equity sharing agreements let you leverage your home’s equity without taking on extra debt or monthly payments. Rather than taking out a loan against it, you access a share of your equity instead and get a large, lump-sum payment in return.
Many companies offer these arrangements, including Unison and Unlock. Use this Unison vs. Unlock guide to see how the two options measure up on fees, payment amounts, credit score requirements, and more.
In this comparison:
- Unison vs. Unlock: At a glance
- Does Unison or Unlock have better reviews and ratings?
- Is a home equity investment from Unison or Unlock more accessible?
- Scenarios in which Unison or Unlock is better than the other
- Which company is our choice between Unison and Unlock?
Unison vs. Unlock: At a glance
Unison offers home equity sharing agreements. This means Unison will invest in your home with you, sharing in its appreciation or depreciation over time.
Here’s how it works: You trade a portion of your home’s future change in value, and then you get up to 15% of your home’s current value in cash. You can use the funds toward renovations or any other cost you may be facing without making any monthly or interest payments.
You simply buy Unison’s share out at the end of the 30-year term (or earlier) in cash by selling your home, or through refinancing (if possible). See our full Unison review for more details.
Unlock functions similarly, though its equity sharing agreements last only 10 years, and instead of buying out the company all at once, you can make partial payments and do so gradually.
At the end of the 10-year term, you will need to buy out the remaining share owned by Unlock or sell your home. See our full Unlock review for more info.
Does Unison or Unlock have better reviews and ratings?
If you want to make sure you’re getting the best service and experience, it’s important to take reviews and ratings into account. See how Unlock vs. Unison compare across various review sites below:
|Better Business Bureau||1.9/5||4.93/5|
Unlock rates higher on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau, and there are zero BBB complaints against the company at this time. It’s important to note, though: The company is fairly new, so this could be a contributor.
On Trustpilot, customers tout Unlock’s great service and communication, and many say it’s good for self-employed homeowners. Over 90% of customers say their experience with Unlock was “great” or “excellent.”
Unison also has largely good scores, though its Trustpilot rating has decreased in recent months. Almost three-quarters of reviewers say their experience was “great” or “excellent,” while 26% call it “poor” or “bad.” On BBB, Unison has an A+ rating, though there have been 47 complaints lodged against the company in the last three years.
Is a home equity investment from Unison or Unlock more accessible?
Reviews and ratings are only one piece of the puzzle. To choose the best option for your situation, reviewing eligibility requirements and overall availability is also critical.
In the case of Unison and Unlock, both have comparable fees and maximum investment amounts, but the two differ in most other aspects. Use the below table to compare both options.
|State availability||AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, WA, WI, and DC||AZ, CA, CO, FL, MI, MN, NV, NJ, NC, OR, SC, TN, UT, VA, and WA|
|Min. credit score||620||550|
|Type of home||Typically owner-occupied, primary residences, including single-family homes, townhouses, and condos|
Occasionally second homes are allowed
|Most residential property types, including single-family homes, condos, 2-4 unit properties, and townhomes|
Both owner- and non-owner-occupied allowed
|Investment amount||$30,000 – $500,000||$30,000 – $500,000|
|Term||30 years||10 years|
|Fees||3.9% transaction fee, appraisal costs, and third-party settlement costs||3% transaction fee, appraisal costs, and third-party settlement costs|
|See if you qualify||Click here||Click here|
The right choice here depends on your location, goals, and timeline. Geographically, Unison is more widely available, particularly in the Northeast. But if you have a low credit score or are hoping to leverage equity on a second home, Unlock may be the better option. Unlock also lets you spread your buyout over time.
Generally speaking, Unlock is a more flexible option if it’s available in your area. With Unison, you need a higher credit score and more equity and will see more limitations on eligible property types.
Scenarios in which Unison or Unlock is better than the other
If you’re not sure whether Unison or Unlock is your best option, we’ve determined a few scenarios in which one company may outweigh the other. See if you fall into any of the below categories and, if so, which option is a better fit.
If you have a low credit score: Unlock
Unlock allows for much lower credit scores than Unison. With Unlock, you can qualify for a home equity sharing agreement with just a 500 credit score. Unison requires 620 or higher.
If you want a longer term: Unison
With Unison, you don’t have to buy out the company’s share for up to 30 years. That gives you ample time to save up for that potentially large payment.
Unlock, on the other hand, has a much shorter 10-year term. This means you’ll need to settle up quite a bit earlier if you go with this company.
If you want to be able to spread your buyout over time: Unlock
Unlock is the only home equity sharing company that offers partial buyouts, meaning you can make smaller payments over time. This can make buying back your home equity much more manageable, and it may even save you cash in the long term.
With Unison, no partial buyouts are available, and you’ll need to buy back your equity in full once the 30-year term ends.
If you want a company with more experience: Unison
Unison has been around since 2004. When you compare that to Unlock, which has only been around since 2021, that’s a lot more experience—both in the home equity space and in serving customers.
If you want to tap equity in a non-owner-occupied property: Unlock
Unlock lets you tap equity in multi-family properties, rentals, and second homes, and Unison prefers to stick with owner-occupied properties only. While Unison says it will occasionally consider these properties, primary residences are its bread and butter, so if you’re aiming to tap equity in a home that’s not your main living space, Unlock is likely your better option.
If you think you may sell soon: Unlock
Unison has a five-year restriction period, which means it won’t share in any equity loss if you sell your house within the first five years of signing your agreement. If you do sell, you’d owe the company at least the full value of its original investment amount, regardless of what the home’s current market value is at that point.
Unlock doesn’t have these restrictions and allows customers to sell their homes or buy out the company’s share at any point in the 10-year term.
Which company is our choice between Unison and Unlock?
Our most recent evaluation of our home equity investment partners resulted in Unison being the highest-rated company, and therefore, our choice between Unison and Unlock. On a scale of 0 to 5, Unison received a rating of 4.7, while Unlock’s rating was 4.5.
However, even though Unison rated better than Unlock, there are some situations where Unlock may be the better option. If you have poor credit, want to tap the equity of a non-owner-occupied property, or want more repayment flexibility, then Unlock would be the choice for you.