(NewsUSA) - Owning a home is a huge investment, and once they've owned long enough to build up equity, many homeowners opt to leverage the equity for other uses. But if you're on the fence about taking on another monthly loan payment, an option that may be right for you is co-investing.
With a home equity loan, you borrow against the equity in your home and receive a lump sum of money that you have to pay back each month over a specified term - commonly 15 years. The interest rate is usually fixed, but is typically higher than your primary mortgage.
Co-investing offers an alternative to traditional home equity loans. In a nutshell, the co-investing company pays the homeowner an upfront amount, with no repayments for a set number of years, or until the home is sold, whichever comes first. There may also be an option to buy the company out, after a minimum restriction period passes. This option can be ideal for a homeowner who wants access to cash without the added financial burden of monthly loan payments, who has lived in a home long enough to build up some equity, and plans to stay at least another five years.
Unison, a San-Francisco-based real estate company, is a leader in the growing field of co-investment. Unison offers homeowners a cash payment of up to 17.5 percent of their home's current market value. When the house is sold or 30 years pass, the owner pays Unison an amount equal to the initial co-investment, plus (or minus) a percentage of the home's appreciated (or depreciated) value.
Here's an example: A homeowner whose home is currently worth $500,000 and who needed $25,000 in cash (5 percent of the home's value) would repay an amount equal to $25,000 plus 25 percent* of the amount the house appreciates in value during the time of the co-investment. With a larger co-investment, the company receives a larger share of the appreciation in value.
Homeowners can use their cash for anything, but Unison recommends something of long-term value, such as kids' college tuition, medical expenses, home remodeling, or investing in diverse stocks and bonds.
Other benefits of co-investing: Keeping gains from remodeling work and keeping the equity built from prompt mortgage payments.
Being a good candidate for homeowner co-investing is not so different from being a good homeowner generally. Unison requires that homeowners keep the home as their primary residence; stay current on payments for mortgages, property tax, and homeowners' insurance; keep the home well-maintained to retain and increase value; and keep Unison informed of issues, such as remodeling plans or emergencies, such as natural disasters, bankruptcy, or plans to sell the home.
To find out how Unison can help you get the most out of homeownership, visit unison.com.
*This is a possible percentage for illustrative purposes. The actual percentage varies based on the specific HomeOwner transaction.