Frequently Asked Questions

Since we’re making some big improvements in real estate ownership and investing, we figured you’d have some questions.

When is Rook launching?

Rook launched in a limited beta mode in November, 2021. We launched our first Shared Value product in March, 2022 in Colorado for home equity, and our home purchase product in October, 2022

Why did we create the Shared Value Investment?

How does it work?

Our Shared Value concept relies upon “shared equity.” Rook makes an investment in your home by giving you funds upfront (with no monthly payments and no interest) in return for a share of your home’s value at the end of our arrangement. While it is structured legally as an “option” agreement, you can think of it like an “investment” in your house.

In return for this additional cash upfront (the Shared Value Upfront Investment), you provide Rook with an option to receive a Shared Value Percentage (calculated by us and disclosed to you upfront) of your Home’s value at the end of our agreement—typically when you sell your home or refinance.

Why did we create the Shared Value Investment?

How does it work?

Our Shared Value concept relies upon “shared equity.” Rook makes an investment in your home by giving you funds upfront (with no monthly payments and no interest) in return for a share of your home’s value at the end of our arrangement. While it is structured legally as an “option” agreement, you can think of it like an “investment” in your house.

In return for this additional cash upfront (the Shared Value Upfront Investment), you provide Rook with an option to receive a Shared Value Percentage (calculated by us and disclosed to you upfront) of your Home’s value at the end of our agreement—typically when you sell your home or refinance.

Can I obtain my primary mortgage loan with any bank?

Because primary mortgage lenders must approve of other sources of financing such as those from Rook, your primary mortgage must be with one of our lender partners. We are currently partnered with FirstBank. So, for example, you might put down a 10% down payment, Rook could provide 25%, and FirstBank would loan 65%.

How much money can I obtain from Rook?

Our amount range is $50,000 to $200,000. The amount Rook will ultimately offer and the amount of our share will be based on your home’s initial value, and your creditworthiness.

What is the term of my Rook agreement - how long do I have to pay it back?

The standard term and maximum timeframe is ten years. However, you have the option to exit our agreement earlier or sell your home. At that time, we would exercise our option.

Can I end my Rook agreement early?

Yes - you can choose to sell your home or exit your agreement with Rook at any time.

What happens at the end of the 10-year term?

At the end of the term, if you are not planning to sell your home, Rook will help you with refinancing options through our partnerships with various traditional lenders. Essentially, Rook will exercise our ‘option’ for the Shared Value Percentage of your ending home value. We will obtain an appraisal; you also have an option to obtain your own appraisal–and if we disagree, the two are averaged to determine an ending valuation.

Who is on the title?

Ownership does not change; you remain the titled owner–with all the rights and privileges of ownership–just like your primary mortgage. We simply have a lien on the property, also just like your mortgage.

How is this different from a bank loan?

Unlike a traditional loan, there are no monthly payments or accruing annual interest charges associated with Rook’s Shared Value Investment. In exchange for cash upfront, we share in a portion of your home’s value in the future.

What are the fees and costs for a Rook Shared Value Mortgage?

Rook charges a 2.5% Investment Fee on the Shared Value Investment Amount with a minimum of $1,500 for our processing.  So, for Investments up to $60,000, the fee is $1,500 and above that it is 2.5%.  There are also  third party fees associated with closing that include things like an appraisal , escrow, notary, county document recording and title charges, title insurance, and closing/settlement charges.  The third party fees will vary but are typically in the range of $1,000 to $2,500.  Fees will be disclosed in more detail for you to review and agree to as your application proceeds. 

These charges will be added to your Shared Value upfront investment amount so that you will not have to come up with this additional cash upfront. 

Renovations?

We want you to love your home and upgrade and renovate to your heart’s content!  If you make major upgrades over $10,000, we simply request notice upon completion to preserve documentation.  At the end of our agreement, an independent appraisal will determine the amount of value contributed by your upgrades.  This added amount will be excluded from the Shared Value Ending Amount, decreasing the amount paid to Rook.

How much of the value of my home does Rook share-in?

Your Shared Value Percentage will depend on several factors including the amount of our investment, your downpayment, your property, and your overall financial situation. In general, the lower the amount of our investment, the lower the Rook share; the higher the amount of our investment, the higher the Rook equity share. Our shared value percentage will typically range between 10 and 50%.  With some limited, upfront information from you, our pre-qualification process can provide you with a shared value percentage estimate.  

How much do I pay Rook when I sell my home?

The payment to Rook will be the ending value of your home multiplied by your shared value percentage plus any upfront costs. The ending value if your home will be the greater of your sale price or the fair market value (as determined by an appraisal or alternative valuation product).

What if my home value goes up significantly?

That would be awesome! Rook’s modeling to determine our shared percentage is somewhat conservative and based on longer-term average residential real estate appreciation – around 4-5% historically. As we all know, real estate markets may be higher or lower than that at times. If you were to exit early in the term and/or the market increased way above our longer-term averages, our cap of 18% would kick-in to limit the final shared value ending amount.

What happens if my home value goes down?

That would not be awesome. Rook generally shares in the ups and downs of the market with you. Because the amount you owe is a percentage of the ending value of your home (regardless of the upfront investment amount) if the value of your home goes down your total shared value option ending amount will be less. 

How does Rook determine my property value?

As a forward-thinking technology company, we believe that traditional appraisals are not always necessary and often not significantly more accurate than reputable data providers--home valuation is far from an exact-science. Our initial, pre-qualified offer to you will be based on estimates from third party data companies like House Canary, Zillow, and Redfin–and may be a range if you have not yet identified a property. Upon application, we will take a closer look at your selected property–and typically will utilize the appraisal obtained by your primary mortgage lender.

I occasionally Airbnb my house - is that OK?

Yes. While Rook will initially only work with primary residences that are owner-occupied, occasional rentals are just fine. Limited short-term rentals (less than 30 days) are allowed up to an aggregate of less than 3 months out of 6 month period. And as long as at least one owner is living in the home, sublet of a portion is ok. 

My house is jointly owned - how does that affect my Rook application?

We will need to obtain information to qualify anyone else who is on your home’s title, including credit score and income information. Any person on your home’s title will also need to sign the final legal documents.

As an Investor, am I eligible to participate?

Rook’s long term goal is to broaden the universe of home buyers and investors by making it possible to own a little bit of a home or a little bit of many homes. Putting your money to work for the long-haul shouldn’t be reserved for the rich, the elite and institutional investors.  In the short-term, however, as we build the bridge from the old world to the new world, there are many legal hurdles to navigate. For that reason, our investment platform is limited initially to accredited investors. You can rest assured we are working hard to open up broader access just as fast as possible.