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When it comes to accessing your home’s equity – often the most significant investment for many of us – homeowners have had only a few basic choices: we could either sell our homes and obtain the equity in the sale, take out a home equity loan, or start a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Fortunately, however, thanks to the explosive growth of online finance and banking platforms, homeowners have more options now when it comes to accessing and using their equity.
One of the major innovations to come out of web-based and mobile financial services companies is the growth of companies that offer to actually invest in your home and change the way in which homeowners purchase homes and tap into their equity. This growth in home co-investing and other similar platforms has provided consumers an interesting alternative to purchasing a home the traditional way since in many cases the challenge of making a down payment is altogether eliminated.
The ability to access your equity without a home equity loan or a HELOC is also a relatively new phenomenon as well. Having increased equity in your home can often provide you a great financial advantage since it allows you to borrow against your equity for any reason you choose.
One of the new and innovative companies that can help homeowners hoping to use their home’s equity is Hometap. This company provides an innovative loan alternative that provides a new path to homeownership by tapping into and a home’s equity. With that being said, let’s take a close look at Hometap and the services it offers, so you can find out whether or not it would be a good choice for you.
Onto our Hometap review!
What is Hometap?
House rich cash poor? Hometap is an innovative finance company founded in 2017 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Hometap offers an alternative method for homeowners to “tap” into their equity.
Instead of a lending instrument such as a home equity loan or HELOC, Hometap instead invests in the home’s equity itself, providing you, the owner, cash for the investment.
This investment can be up to 30 percent of the home’s value. At some point in the future, and along a time horizon that can be up to ten years, the homeowner will be required to settle the investment, based upon the original terms agreed upon.
Hometap’s investment in a home’s equity is not a loan, and there is no interest or monthly payments required; the homeowner only has to settle with Hometap within the 10-year investment timeline.
In order to use Hometap, there are some eligibility requirements. There is no hard credit score requirement, but most homeowners using Hometap have a score of 600 or more.
The homeowner must have at least 25 percent equity in his or her home, and homeowners must live in the home in question at least six months out of the year.
Finally, Hometap only operates in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, North Carolina, and Virginia. If you want to use your home’s equity and you don’t live in one of these states, you will have to look at other options in order to do so.
Hometap is available to homeowners in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
How Does Hometap Work?
Working with Hometap is somewhat similar to applying for a home equity loan or a HELOC, although the Hometap online platform enables you to do most of the work from the comfort of your own home.
To start the process of obtaining funds for your equity, you will have to fill out an online form on the Hometap website. If you meet all of the Hometap eligibility requirements, you will receive a preliminary qualification.
Then, you’ll have to have your home appraised to verify it is complete, after which Hometap will finalize its offer. Once this is complete, and should you accept, you will then receive the agreed-upon funds from Hometap, which will be wired into your designated account within a few days.
After Hometap invests in your property, you will be required to meet some reasonable standards. For example, you’ll have to pay your mortgage and insurance in a timely manner and maintain your home in a high state of repair.
When you sell your home, or you come to the end of your ten-year Hometap term, you’ll be required to pay back Hometap’s share, which is a percent of the value of the home at that time.
Depending on whether your home’s value increased or decreased over the time period of the Hometap investment, you may have to pay more or less than what you initially received.
RELATED: Shared Equity Mortgages.
Hometap takes pride in the fact that they make the overall process of getting into a deal with them relatively easy. They even claim that they could have your money wired to you in as little as three weeks. This is excellent because it can have you moving along with your plans to use your home’s equity plan very quickly. The entire process is going to be straightforward and simple, let’s take a walk through the overall process of working with Hometap.
- Estimate request: You can request an estimate on their website and see if you qualify in seconds.
- Number preparation: They’ll work through some ideas and then present some of the most viable options to you.
- Official application: If you agree with the terms presented then you will fill out the official form to start doing business with them.
- Home appraisal: Once you agree to a deal, Hometap will bring a third-party appraiser to determine the current value of your home.
- Wire funds: After that, they will send over the money to you for you to put into your home and claim equity.
- Investment settlement: Hometap does deals in ten-year terms, so before that tenth year is up you are required to pay back the percentage of the home that you agreed to give them.
Overall, the process is very simple and straightforward. Though, ten years can go by very quickly so again it is very important that you come into this deal with a well-thought-out plan.
Why Would You Want Increased Equity?
When it comes to homeownership, equity is the market value of your home minus what you still owe on your mortgage. For example, if your house is worth $400,000 and you have about $250,000 left to pay on the mortgage then you have $150,000 worth of equity in your home.
Equity works for you like no other loan does. This is because when you have equity in your home, you are able to borrow against it. The amount of equity that you can borrow against depends on your specific contract, but across the board, you can typically borrow against 85% of your current equity. So, if you have $150,000 worth of equity, as mentioned above, then you’d be able to borrow $127,500 because that is 85% of $150,000.
When you borrow against your equity, you are going to have to pay it back. This means that it is only a good idea to tap into your home equity if you are in an emergency or you are going to use that equity money to make more money. This makes tapping into equity a great way to fund investments. Whether you are going to invest in stocks or start a business, it is a nice way to be able to get a lump sum of money to work with. If you borrow $100,000 from your equity and make a 20% return over the course of a few years, then you could pay back the equity loan and walk away with $20,000.
Hometap Customer Service
Customers who want to contact Hometap can do so via the following options:
- Phone: 617-415-4419. Hours are Mon-Thur 8 am – 8 pm EST; Fri 8 am – 5 pm EST
- Email: [email protected]
- Mail: You can send correspondence to Hometap at 800 Boylston St., 16th floor, Boston Massachusetts, 02199
- You can also complete an online query form to contact Hometap as well.
Hometap has a rating of 4.8 stars on Trustpilot with over 180 reviews, which is excellent. Over 92 percent of Trustpilot reviewers gave Hometap an excellent rating, while less than 1 percent gave the platform a bad rating. Hometap is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau and carries an “A” rating with the BBB as well.
Hometap Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons to consider before opting to use Hometap; here are a few of the most important ones.
- No Monthly Payments. One of the best things about accessing your home’s equity via Hometap is that you’ll never have to make any payments like you’d have to with a HELOC or home equity loan.
- Simple and Low Impact. Hometap uses an intuitively simple online application which is considerably more forgiving than you’ll experience with a lender. Also, applying to work with Hometap won’t have an impact on your credit, either.
- Forced Sale Threat. If at the end of the ten-year term you are unable to settle with Hometap, you could be forced to sell the house to meet your settlement obligations.
- Appreciation Risk. If your home increases in value, you could end up owing significantly more to Hometap at the end of your ten-year term than you anticipated.
The primary alternative to Hometap is Point.com, which offers similar services for homeowners to access their equity. Otherwise, the platform competes with lenders that offer HELOCs and standard home equity loans. traditional and online lenders offering HELOCs and home equity loans.
Shared Equity Loans: Hometap Review
Is Hometap a good idea? Hometap is offering a service that is relatively new that allows you to access your home’s equity without having to worry about monthly payments or interest. While there are some risks, checking out the platform’s innovative services is definitely worth it if you need to use your equity soon.
Get An Obligation Free Estimate From Hometap
Tap into your home’s equity
Enjoy our Hometap review?
You may also be interested in Haus Co-Investing Mortgages.