November 21, 2019

From Scary to Necessary: A Brief History of Disruption

Some things we take for granted now seemed absolutely bizarre just a few years ago. Take Turo, for example: a decade ago, the concept of tapping a button on your phone to rent someone else’s car for the day—well, that would have seemed wild. But now it makes sense. Disruptions in the old way of doing things save us time and money and often improve the quality of our lives.


The problem is that disruptions seem uncomfortable at first. They’re out of the norm, and that takes some time for adjustment. You may, for example, be headed out the door when you remember that DoorDash exists now, and you don’t need to leave your house for Taco Bell. For some, the adjustments are an easy adaptation, and for others it can take some time, but once we’ve tried things a new way, it’s difficult to consider going back.

Our most beloved disruptions

Take Lyft, for instance. Well, you do take Lyft—probably much more often than you ever took a taxi. Before ride sharing services were available on demand from your cell phone, hailing a cab was a chore. Plus, they often didn’t take credit cards, and there was always a danger of being overcharged if the taxi decided to take the scenic route and let the meter run. When Lyft was first introduced, though, people were weirded out: get in a stranger’s car? But the convenience was undeniable, and added features like carpooling and cost visibility have meant added benefits for consumers.


Then there’s Airbnb. In the beginning, customers were wary: stay in someone’s home? But hotels are often expensive, impersonal and make traveling a chore. Airbnb introduced the concept of truly living like a local in a local’s home, often at a more inexpensive rate. It’s easy to book and easy to know the total cost (compared to the surprise costs at hotels, which often have charges like resort fees and WiFi surcharges). Now, booking an Airbnb is as commonplace and familiar as sending a text.

Disrupting home buying and homeownership

While it seems like every industry has undergone its disruptions, the home buying process has remained as old-fashioned as ever. The cost of homes has skyrocketed, but a 20% down payment has remained standard, making it nearly impossible for most people to afford their first home: you either needed cash up front or wealthy relatives. It can be scary to spend so much on a home without having anyone to share in the risk.


Furthermore, the concept of homeownership and equity hasn’t been reexamined. Most of us assume there’s no good way to access the equity of a home until we move: we faithfully pay our monthly mortgage payment and assume it will all pay off someday. And all that equity accumulates like a savings account that’s almost impossible to access unless you take out a HELOC or home equity loan that adds additional interest, debt, and monthly payments to your budget.


Unison was created to help homeowners and home buyers.


Unison is the first true disruption to home buying and homeownership in over half a century. By co-investing, home buyers can have as little as 5% of the down payment, but can reap rewards of having the full 20% down payment, such as no private mortgage insurance (PMI), lower monthly payments and start building equity. Co-investment allows home buyers to get into the right home in the right neighborhood—no more having a housing choice dictated by the down payment requirements. It might seem strange at first to have a company co-invest in your home with you, but the benefits are profound.


It doesn’t stop there: if you’re a current homeowner, Unison enables you to access up to 17.5% of your home’s value and convert it to cash without having to make monthly repayments. It’s not a loan, so there are no interest charges. Instead, Unison shares a portion of your home’s value when you decide to sell, up to 30 years later. For the first time, homeowners can access their equity without debt.


Just as Lyft and Airbnb have changed their respective industries, Unison is turning the mortgage industry on its head. Instead of home buyers waiting for at least a decade to save up for the full 20% down payment, it’s now possible for them to get into the right home right now without going into more debt. Co-investment is a partnership in your home’s future, and it’s the perfect solution for today’s housing market.


Learn more about co-investment here.


A Brief History of Disruption