New plan makes tapping home equity easier

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Equity sharing was viewed as the biggest negative to early reverse mortgages and it still plagues the reverse industry today. However, a San Francisco-based company is resurrecting the concept of sharing home equity -- with no interest, no payments and no age restrictions. The REX Agreement is not a reverse mortgage, nor is it a loan. It is a financial agreement whereby the homeowner trades a portion of future equity for a cash payment today. It is an intriguing option for savvy investors who believe they can realize a greater return on investments than on home appreciation. Thomas Sponholtz, REX CEO and a former director in Barclay's Global Investors' Alternative Investment Group, said he got the idea for the company after being frustrated by how institutional investors viewed home equity -- the world's largest asset class. "We have been so concerned with how to securitize debt that I thought there had to be a better way to monetize the house and give more people access to it." Revers...