So many of today’s homeowners are sitting on a mountain of equity, but sometimes there’s not much you can do with it until you sell. The problem is once you sell, you won’t be getting any more equity on that property if home prices continue to rise.

In many cases, a cash-out refinance option will make sense, especially if you are able to refinance at a lower interest rate than you currently have. Other homeowners will look into Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) or second mortgages to access equity, but these solutions are not without their drawbacks. Also, some homeowners may not qualify for options.

A New Concept

One investment company is aiming to change the way some homeowners are cashing in on their equity without extending their credit or refinancing. It is mainly aimed at those homeowners who are unable to qualify for HELOCs or cash-out refinances. EasyKnock is only a couple years old, and it’s hard to say at this point how well their unique model will work over time. I do find what they are doing fascinating, though, which is why I wanted to talk about it here.

EasyKnock is buying homes and then renting them back to the homeowners. The objective is to let the homeowner stay in their home and access some of their equity as cash after the sale.

“EasyKnock is a company that is allowing people to access equity in their home that have been shut out by the traditional lending market,” says Jarred Kessler, CEO of EasyKnock. “Around 23 percent of the housing market has built up equity in their home and they can’t release it.”

What’s the Catch?

Of course, you can’t have a creative model like this without some strings attached. How it works is the EasyKnock typically pays about 70 percent of the appraised value of the home and then sets a specified lease period with the homeowner. At the end of the lease, the homeowner must decide to buy back the home or let EasyKnock sell it to someone else. If EasyKnock does sell it, then the original homeowner will still get back the full value of the sale (including any appreciation), minus the 70 percent that EasyKnock paid. A 1.5 percent commission on the final sale price will also be collected.

The 70 percent amount paid by EasyKnock is essentially a protection against any depreciation that the home might have during the time of the lease. As we know, there are never any guarantees in the real estate market, so that kind of caveat is understandable. During the lease, EasyKnock will make money through the monthly rent being paid (rent price negotiated during the sale). Some other fees will be paid during the sale, as well.

EasyKnock is not considered a lender and, as an investor, they have no interest to hold onto homes for a long time. Since they are not a lender, however, they are not considering FICO scores or other financial factors that might prevent a homeowner from refinancing or qualifying for a HELOC. They have already bought around 100 homes in multiple states and they are continuing to expand into new territories with this investment model. Only time will tell how successful this concept is.

Understanding Your Equity Options

Like any major financial decision, you want to make sure and do your research before signing on any dotted lines. It also pays to explore every option and figure out what will be best for your specific financial situation. The point is that there are different ways you may be able to access your home’s equity.

Transparent Mortgage can help review your options and guide you in the right direction if a cash-out refinance, traditional refinance or HELOC are viable solutions for you. Call us today at (619) 701-3906 or email me at beau@tspmortgage.com

Beau Hodson

Beau Hodson

About the Author Since 2003, Beau has been a mortgage professional and is a leading mortgage broker and lender in San Diego. As Founder and Senior Mortgage Advisor at Transparent Mortgage, he is truly committed to serving the needs of his clients and raising industry standards for integrity and transparency.