Home Equity

What Is a Home Equity Sharing Agreement? Pros & Cons

By Staci Civins

A home equity sharing agreement, also known as a shared equity agreement, is a financial arrangement in which a homeowner sells a portion of their home’s equity to an investor in exchange for a lump sum cash or home equity investment. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of home equity sharing agreements, explore its definition and basics, identify the key players in the market, and examine alternative options available to homeowners.

Introduction

Homeownership is a common aspiration, bringing financial advantages like building equity. Yet, situations may arise where immediate cash is needed, such as for unexpected expenses. Home equity sharing agreements, also called shared equity or appreciation agreements, offer a solution.

In these agreements, homeowners share future property appreciation with an investor for a lump sum or ongoing cash flow. They provide financial flexibility without monthly payments or interest, an alternative to traditional loans. This is especially helpful for those who may not qualify for loans or want to avoid additional debt.

The quick processing of equity-sharing agreements distinguishes them from traditional loans, making them suitable for emergencies. Homeowners can access funds promptly, which is crucial when time is of the essence.

Definition and Basics

A home equity sharing agreement is a contract between a homeowner and an investor. The homeowner sells a percentage of home equity to the investor, who, in return, provides a lump sum payment, becoming a co-owner. This arrangement differs from traditional home equity loans as it doesn’t require monthly payments.

The popularity of home equity sharing agreements has grown as an alternative financing option. Homeowners gain immediate cash access without credit checks or income verifications. The lump sum received can be used for home improvements, debt consolidation, or business ventures.

Key benefits include quick cash access and shared appreciation potential. There are no monthly payments, making it attractive for those who may not qualify for traditional loans. Shared appreciation means both parties benefit from property value increases but also share in any losses.

Yet, homeowners must carefully evaluate terms and the investor’s reputation and stability. Consulting with professionals, like real estate attorneys or financial advisors, is advised to understand legal and financial implications.1

Key Players in the Market

The home equity sharing agreement market comprises various stakeholders, including homeowners, investors, and a specialized home equity sharing company that facilitates these agreements. Homeowners seek out investors who are interested in purchasing a percentage of their home’s equity, while investors look for opportunities to diversify their portfolios and potentially earn a return on their investment.

Pros of Home Equity Sharing Agreements

There are several potential benefits to consider when evaluating whether a home equity-sharing agreement is a right choice for you:

Immediate Access to Cash

One of the primary advantages of a home equity sharing agreement is the ability to access a significant amount of cash quickly for any home improvement purpose or for debt consolidation. This can be particularly useful when traditional lending options like a home equity loan or HELOC may be limited or have stringent requirements tied to your home’s equity.

No Monthly Payments

Unlike traditional home equity loans or lines of credit where the interest rate affects the repayment amount, home equity sharing agreements do not require homeowners to make monthly payments. This can provide financial relief to homeowners struggling to meet their monthly obligations or prefer flexibility in managing their finances.

Shared Risk

By having an investor as a co-owner, homeowners share the risks associated with the property’s value appreciation or depreciation. If the property’s value increases, both the homeowner and the investor can benefit from the profit when the property is sold.2

Cons of Home Equity Sharing Agreements

While home equity sharing agreements offer potential benefits, it is crucial to consider the following drawbacks:

Giving Up Future Appreciation

When selling a portion of the home’s equity, homeowners essentially give up a percentage of any future appreciation in the property’s value. This means that if the property’s value increases significantly, the homeowner will not fully benefit from that appreciation upon sale.

Contractual Limitations

Home equity sharing agreements involve legally binding contracts that outline the rights and responsibilities of both the homeowner and the investor. These agreements may include restrictions on the homeowner’s ability to make changes to the property or limitations on refinancing options. It is crucial to carefully review and understand the terms of the agreement before entering into such an arrangement.

Costs and Fees

Shared equity financing agreements often involve various costs and fees, including legal fees, appraisal fees, and potential transaction fees. It’s important to note that while these agreements alleviate the burden of monthly payments typically associated with mortgages, homeowners are still responsible for ongoing expenses like property tax. These costs can significantly impact the overall financial outcome of the agreement and should be carefully considered before proceeding.2

Alternatives to Home Equity Sharing Agreements

While home equity sharing agreements can be a viable option for some homeowners, it is essential to explore alternative solutions that may better align with individual circumstances. Some alternatives include:

Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit

For homeowners who prefer to retain full ownership of their homes, home equity loans or lines of credit may be a more suitable option. These traditional loan options allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes while retaining full control over the property.3 

Reverse Mortgages

Elderly homeowners who are 62 years or older may consider reverse mortgages as an alternative to home equity sharing agreements. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners to borrow against their home’s equity while still living in it and without making monthly payments. The loan is repaid when the homeowner moves out or passes away.4 For a deeper dive into how reverse mortgages work and to understand if it’s the right choice for you, explore our blog article on reverse mortgage facts.

Sale-Leaseback Programs

Another alternative to home equity sharing agreements is sale-leaseback programs. In this arrangement, homeowners sell their property to an investor and then lease it back. This can provide homeowners with access to cash while allowing them to remain in the property as tenants. If you’re interested in learning more about this option and want to understand the benefits of a sale leaseback, continue reading our detailed blog post for an in-depth explanation.

Key Takeaways

Home equity sharing agreements can offer homeowners immediate access to cash without requiring monthly payments. However, carefully considering the potential drawbacks, such as giving up future appreciation and contractual limitations is essential. Additionally, exploring alternatives like home equity loans, reverse mortgages, and sale-leaseback programs can provide alternative financial solutions for homeowners. It is recommended to consult with financial professionals and carefully review all options before making a decision.

Sources:

  1. Money. What Is a Home Equity Agreement? https://money.com/what-is-a-home-equity-agreement/ 
  2. Money. Home Equity Sharing: Pros and Cons https://money.com/home-equity-sharing-pros-cons/ 
  3. Equifax. Home Equity Loans vs. Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/loans/articles/-/learn/home-equity-loans-vs-home-equity-lines-of-credit/ 
  4. GAO. Reverse Mortgages Present Benefits and Risks for Senior Homeowners https://www.gao.gov/blog/reverse-mortgages-present-benefits-and-risks-senior-homeowners 
Disclaimer

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This article is not offered as advice and should not be relied on as such. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process. EasyKnock is not a debt collector, a collection agency, nor a credit counseling service company.